Dwarasamudra – Architecture at its very best

Have you been to Dwarasamudra? Have you tried searching for this place in google maps? Aren’t you able to locate it? What is its new name?

A tank was built opposite the temple to serve the water needs and due to huge inflow of water, tank always had waves and looked like an ocean and hence the name Dwarasamudra, entry by ocean. The new name which everyone can relate to translates to “ruined city” in Kannada, Halabeedu. We visited this temple during our return journey from Western Ghats to Bangalore. Halabeedu was the capital city of Hoysala empire. This Hoysala temple construction was not completed when Muslims invaded the city and hence inside the temple you can find many unfinished structures.

This is a Shiva temple. When it was designed, it was decided to construct it twice the size of Belur Hoysala temple. Belur has 650+ elephants and this temple has 1300+ elephants.

For complete details of our trip: A short trip to Western Ghats
For Belur temple: Belur – A hoysala Jewel

The name board

Huge open space and lots of greenery outside the temple


Royal Entrance: King would enter the temple from this entrance after worshiping Lord Ganapathi

Which is the largest built Nandi? Many would say the Tanjore one, but that is a close second. The first biggest Nandi is in Lepakshi and the one in Halabeedu is the seventh largest one.

In all the temples, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva will be in order. Creator, Protector and the destroyer. But since Halabeedu is a Shiva temple, the order is Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu.

Look at the intricate details on the roof – These are soap stones just like the Belur temple which is as soft as a soap but hardens on getting exposed to atmosphere.

Below sculpture looks like a British man with a stick on his right hand, a hairdo and a long over coat. Isn’t it? But British came to India after 1600s and this temple was built in the 13th Century. A mere coincidence? But as per temple books, these are Saints and this was their attire. So did British copy the dress code of our Saints? Hard to believe, but definitely creates enough doubts.

Who invented or used telescope first? Galileo? Year? 1600s? But look at the below sculpture. This is again from 1300s.

Astronauts of that age?

Chakravyuh in Mahabaratha.

Bhima killing elephants during the war. Anyone remember “Ashwathama is killed”? The famous strategy to kill the Guru Drona?

Rama killing Vali in Ramayana

Rama giving his ring to Hanuman to be delivered to Sita

Dresses of that age? Three fourths and a skirt

Krishna lifting Govarthana Giri

Look at the upper right corner of the above picture – An interesting thing to note is that on top of the mountain, there is a banana tree and a monkey is trying to pluck bananas. Who would have thought of all these minute details ? A magnified view of that.

Spellbound by their architecture. Granular level details at its very best.

Look at the hind leg of the cow – its slightly bent, signifying Shiva’s weight. He weighs more than Parvati. Simply wow !!

And another one: Look at the bench they are sitting. It is tilted towards Shiva

Because of his weight, Parvati is getting tossed around when elephant moves !!

Some commonalities with Belur. Ravana lifting the Kailash mountain and Arjuna during his swayamvar.

On the outer walls

Guides are available in English, Hindi and Kannada. They are part of ASI. They take a paltry amount of Rs 300 for 45 minute tour. The guide said that there are 24 guides in Halabeedu and they share their earnings for the day. They are not monetized by the Government of India.

Halabeedu as the name suggests, a city of ruins, but the architects have left enough sculptures like these which stand tall amidst the test of time and all the invasion and local vandalism.

For complete details of our trip: A short trip to Western Ghats
For Belur temple: Belur – A hoysala Jewel


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