Halebidu is a town in Hassan district of Karnataka, between 2 major districts of Hassan & Chikmagalur. It's famous for its Hoysaleswara Temple, listed as one of the world heritage centers.
Halebidu was a flourishing capital established under the Hoysala Dynasty, who ruled this region in the 12th Century. King Vishnuvardhana of Hoysala Dynasty was inspired by the place, that he decided to establish his capital here. It's popularly known as "Dwarasamudra".
The flourishing capital was plunged into ruins during the various invasions that took place in the 14th to 16th Century from the northwest frontiers, and hence the name Halebidu was later adorned to this place to mean "The Old Capital" or the "Destroyed Capital".
Tourists can stay either at Hassan or Chikmaglur and cover both Belur and Halebidu in a single day.
Tourists usually stay in Hassan and reach Halebeedu and Belur first, before getting back to Hassan. There are buses every ten or fifteen minutes to Halebeedu from/to Hassan, 28 km and 45 min away while there is a bus every half an hour from/to Belur. Buses on Belur Arasikere route go via Halebeed apart from major other long distant buses which go till Halebeed
Local taxies can be hired from Hassan or Chikmaglur Town for visiting both Halebeed and Belur in a single day
KSTDC (Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation) conducts package tours from Bangalore and Mysore for Belur, Hassan and Shravanabelagola single day trip in Air conditioned buses/mini vans subject to the number of bookings on the particular day
The bus stand is located right opposite to the temple, and the museum complex is inside the temple complex. The museum is closed on Thursdays.
- Hoysaleswara temple. open from 9AM to 5PM. Unlike the other Hoysala structures, generally dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Temple was built by the Minister to Hoysala Dynasty, a devotee of Lord shiva, The temple has 2 Sanctums for Lord Shiva (Hoysaleshwara and Kedareshwara), one built for the King and the other built for the Queen. 2 huge sculptures of Nandi, the vehicle of Lord Shiva are present in front of the Sanctums. The Star structure, a major architecture for any Hoysala structure, is present in this temple too. The Star joins the 2 sanctums on the outer part. Major sculptures, showing the episodes from Mahabaratha are carved on the outer structure of the temple. Though a major of them have been plundered, the way the carvings have been made are still an attraction to watch. Pooja inside the Temple is done only in the mornings, only once.
- Museum, On the main temple grounds. 9-5, closed Fridays. Mostly a collection of sculptures, with some wood carvings, maps and photos as well. ₹5 only (for everyone).
- Jain Basadis. Ask at the museum ticket office for a free brochure, this has a map on which you can see how to get there.
Walk around the temple. A major place to visit if you are a historical buff, an architectural admirer or a photographic enthusiast. Carry caps and water bottle as major works are on outside and afternoon sun can be dehydrating.
Tourist guides, appointed and trained by State Government are present to provide overall view of the Temple, inside as well as outside. Tourist guides charge about Rs.100/- per head if the trip is undertaken through a KSTDC package. Focusing Light is present inside the Temple and Rs.20/- is separately charged for lighting the same inside the temple for better clarity and explanation of the sculptures
Food at Halebidu might be a problem if you are not a south Indian. Hence it is better to carry food from Hassan or reach Belur.
KSTDC Restaurant, Inside the Government Hotel (100m past the bus station, opposite the main temple). Breakfast-10PM. Choose between covered al-fresco dining on the patio, or dine in the garden. A respectable selection of north and south Indian dishes, as well as some token western items. Priced a little higher than average, but not outrageous..
You can stay in a larger town nearby such as Hassan or at [[or you can stay in the town itself.
- Shree Lodge - Located just in front of the Hoysaleshwara Temple. There is no room service. All you get is just the room to stay and bathroom. Rooms are clean and average. ₹250 for a double-bed room. Phone - 9740924650, 9964018372, 08177-317077
- KSTDC Hotel - ₹300 in low season or ₹350 in high season for a double room. Rooms are very large, though not amazing. Restaurant on site with a pleasant garden setting. Very quiet and peaceful. Right across the road from the temple, a hundred meters past the bus station. Only a handful of rooms, so may fill up in peak season.