Ride to Hampi, Halebeedu

My friend Sreekanth called me one fine morning to inform me about his ride to Hampi from Calicut. He told that he will be passing through my place in the evening, so I invited him over to my home for dinner. He reached around 7 pm, we had dinner and I told him to rest for a while. He asked me if I could join him. I had been to Hampi 3 times in the past, and there was nothing more to explore. Yet, I was ready to join him. So, we left around 10 pm. We stopped a few times to have tea on the road. The Karnataka state election was about to happen, and we went through numerous police checks.

Around 7 in the morning we reached Belur and the Hoysaleswara Temple, Halebeedu was nearby. The monument opens at sunrise, so we went there after having a morning tea. The Hoysala era was an important period in the development of art, architecture, and religion in South India. The empire is remembered today primarily for Hoysala architecture. Over a hundred surviving temples are scattered across Karnataka.

A twin temple, with 2 idols The Hoysaleshwara and Santhaleshwara, male and female forms of Shiva, with 2 huge Nandis facing each Shiva Linga.

The Hoysala empire was a prominent Kannadiga empire that ruled most of the what is now Karnataka, India between the 10th and the 14th centuries. The capital of the Hoysalas was initially located at Belur but was later moved to Halebidu. The Hoysala rulers were originally from Malenadu, an elevated region in the Western Ghats. In the 12th century, taking advantage of the internecine warfare between the Western Chalukya Empire and Kalachuris of Kalyani, they annexed areas of present-day Karnataka and the fertile areas north of the Kaveri delta in present-day Tamilnadu. By the 13th century, they governed most of Karnataka, minor parts of Tamil Nadu and parts of western Andra Pradesh and Telangana in the Deccan Plateau.

The Channekeshava Temple Belur, the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebeedu, and the Channekeshava Temple, Somanathaoura are examples of great architectural and sculptural excellence. The Hoysaleshwara Temple which we visited is a good example of Hoysala Architecture, with intricate stone carvings and ornamentations. The whole surface is covered with carvings.
This is a twin temple, with 2 idols The Hoysaleshwara and Santhaleshwara, male and female forms of Shiva, with 2 huge Nandis facing each Shiva Linga. The twin temples are connected by a pathway in between and face the East.

Virupapura Gadde also known as Hippie island, is a small island on the banks of Thungabadra river.

After almost an hour we left the place and headed towards Hampi. At around 2 pm we reached Hampi and had lunch. Now that we reached Hampi, we were confused about where to stay. There are lots of options in Hampi from backpacker hostels and homestays to luxurious resorts. Sreekanth finally came up with this so-called Virupapura Gadde also known as Hippie island. It is a small island on the banks of the Thungabadra river. Most of the foreigners who visit Hampi stays there. Without much thought, we rode to Virupaksha Temple, from where there are boats to this island. It took much time for us to reach the river bank, only to know that the boat service for the day was shut. The other option was to take a boat from Hampi town which also closes at 5:30 pm. We rushed to the spot and luckily got a boat. We placed the bike on the boat and sat on the wooden board to cross the river.

The sun was setting and we finally reached our destination. My body was aching from the long bike ride. I just wanted a space to lay down and relax.