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Travel Destinations: Halebeedu

Halebeedu was once known as Dwarasamudra (means entrance from sea), after the lake there. Founded in the 11th century, it was the Capital of Hoysala rulers for 200 years when numerous Hindu and Jain temples were built. In the 14th century, Muhammad Tughlak raided and destroyed the city. It is said the invaders looted all the riches. Its news name Halebeedu means "old ruins". The surviving tempes are testimony to the splendid Indain architecture on stones.

Hoysaleswara temple: One of these is the twin-shrined Hoysaleswara temple. The deities Hoysaleswara and Shantaleswara are named after the ruler Vishnuvardhana Hoysaleswara and his queen Shantala. It was built by two merchants: Ketamalla and Kesarasetti. Its base has eight rows of friezes of elephants, lions, scrolls and horsemen - symbolising stability, courage, beauty and speed: the qualities of a good king. There are also scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata and Srimad Bhagavatham. There are also sculptures depicting Vishnu, Nataraja and Ganesh in action. There are 240 figures. There are also carvings in the interiors of the temple. In the temple complex a rare Garuda stambha, built in memory of one Kuvara Lakshma, who ended his life as also of his wife and the bodyguards when his king, Vira Bhallala II, died. The events are narrated on the pillar in words as well as relief work.

Kedareswara temple: This is another Hoysala temple. Three-shrined, it was built by Ketaladevi, queen of Vira Bhallala II. Its tower has been damaged by a tree that grew up from within.

Jaina Basadis: There are only basadis existing here today. Belonging to the 12th century, they are in a line, facing the north. In the western one there is a 4.5-metre high statue of Parsvanatha. The middle one is dedicated to Adinatha, the seated Tirthankara. The third is dedicated to Shanthinatha.

Dwarasamudra lake: Dwarasamudra's history goes back to the 11th century. It was built for irrigation. There are some 1000-year old sluice gates to be seen. Now boating facility is available in the lake.

Archaeological museum: The museum, adjacent to Hoysaleswara temple, houses 1500 sculptures, which includes a 18-foot Tirthankara idol.

Pushpagiri hillock: Three km from Halebeedu, Pushpagiri has temples of Mallikarjuna, Vishnu and Parvathi of the Vijayanagara period.

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