Hoysala Architecture: How we visited 4 Different Temples Just in One Day

I am sure less introduction needed for the Hoysala Architecture Hindu temples in Karnataka.

These are unique architecture temples found only in Karnataka, majorly in Hassan district. All of them built by the Hoysala Empire, ruled between 10th and 14th centuries.

This is our story of “Hoysala Trip“, how we have visited 4 of such famous temples just in one day.

We went to this trip on 2nd October 2016 by train.

Hoysala Architecture – Overview and My Personal Observation

The “Hoysalas” who ruled between 11th and 14th centuries have built this unique – never can be seen anywhere in the world kind of architecture only in Karnataka. 

They have built small to large temples in Karnataka, dedicating to either Lord Vishnu or Lord Shiva.

The Hoysala architecture style is described as Karnata Dravida which is distinguished from the traditional Dravida, and is considered an independent architectural tradition with many unique features (Source Wikipedia). 

Hoysala architecture is popular for its attention to detail in their craftsmanship. Unlike the other Hindu temples, the outer walls surrounding the main sanctum are beautifully carved with the gods and goddess statues (called reliefs). 

They also depict the life and culture of people who lived in the 12th century, and also tell stories about Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavata purana. 

The other unique feature of these temples are the zig zag patterns (star shaped look) of the entire complex. Including the platform on which the temple is built with 4 to 7 layers of star pattern, leading up the same zig – zag pattern until vimana (roof) of the temple.

While the temple is star shaped, the pillars supporting the temple are all disc shaped.

Sometimes, the combination of star and disc shaped are observed.

Depending on the size of the temple, the pillars (and the disc) sizes vary. For example, the disc in the Somanathapura, Belur and Halebid are larger than the other Hoysala temples in Arasikere, Javagal and Nuggehalli.

Personal observation

Although the Itagi Mahadeshwara temple is not under the category of Hoysala architecture in Karnataka, we have observed the touch of their art in their disc pillars. You can see pics here- link article.

Once what would have been a place for daily prayers and religious celebrations, is now standing still with the notable damages. All the Hoysala temples stand proud amidst all the damages on the statues and vimana; and also being enormously patient to the callous nature of the daily visiting tourists.

The List of Hoysala temples we have visited in One day

On 2nd October 2016, we started our one day trip from Bangalore to Belur.

Now, to visit 4 different Hoysala architecture temples, we started boarding the train from Bangalore central railway station to Arasikere. 

First, get down at Arsikere Junction to Visit Ishwara temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Second, after about 50 mins of bus journey to the Javagal Lord Lakshmi Narasimha temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

These two are less popular temples among the Hoysala Architecture (link) situated close to the very popular UNESCO archaeological site of Halebidu and Belur.

Third, boarded the bus from Javagal to Halebidu, and finally, from Halebidu to Belur.

We returned home from Belur to Bangalore on the same day by train around midnight.

Here is the name of the temples we have visited

  1. Arasikere – Beautiful Hoysala Architecture For Lord Shiva
  2. Javagal – Beautiful Hoysala Architecture For Lord Vishnu
  3. Halebidu – Hoysaleswara temple (UNESCO site) For Lord Shiva
  4. Belur – ChennaKesava temple (UNESCO site) For Lord Vishnu
Places to visit in belur trip
Arasikere temple inside view
Places to visit in Bangalore to Belur trip
Javagal Lord Vishnu temple entrance
hoysala architecture in karnataka
Halebidu temple
famous temple images in karnataka
Belur temple

How We Planned this Hoysala Trip

This trip was well planned by me – the travel planner, about a week before we started the journey. 

Even though we were just “new-bees” just started testing the waters of travelling to the new places, I can proudly say that I did good job.

(Except for this one trip where we miscalculated the timing when we went on a one day bike trip to Hassan from Bangalore. We ended up riding motorbike in the dark night, read here to know more about our first ever adventurous night trip).

My hubby, Rajesh – the best companion, the best bike rider, sensible and sweetest person to travel with.

Mostly he never said no to any trips planned by me – and that is how we ended up making a long bike trip of 11 days in South India consecutively for two years in 2017 and 2018.

Like in other trips to TamilNadu temples, this time we didn’t have to consider the temple open and closing timings before we laid out an itinerary. Since all of these are tourist places, they are open from 9 am to 6pm (depends on the popularity of the temple).

Halebidu and Belur temples are under UNESCO, open even during afternoon timings until 5 pm everyday for tourists. 

So, we first decided to visit the less famous, small Hoysala architecture in Arasikere and Javagal in the mornings, and the two UNESCO temples later in the noon.

I considered several factors for planning this trip

  • I used google maps to calculate the distances between each stop, 
  • the time needed to travel by public transport, 
  • the minimum time needed to spend in each stop and 
  • the time needed for relaxation.

We just carried one backpack with water bottles, snacks, and toiletries enough for one day trip from Bangalore.

Though we didn’t plan this trip exclusively for the “Hoysala architecture” but it turned out to be one exclusive trip.


Hoysala Architecture, which was built by the Hoysala empire, is found only in the state Karnataka, India. When it comes to visiting famous tourist destinations, many people prefer going to Halebidu, Belur.  

Mostly they are popular among tourists for its marvellous architecture, and they are closely located, so both the temples are easily covered in one trip. Next to these two temples, many prefer going to Hampi – yet another cultural Heritage of Karnataka. 

For those who don’t know, there are plenty of tourist places in Karnataka which are not made popular among tourists. 

My personal request to the audience is to see all the other Hoysala temples in Karnataka, they too, are no less in Architecture and Beauty. 

Personal observation

I was surprised to see the resemblance of Hoysala architecture when we visited Trimbakeshwar temple in Mumbai. Major resemblance was the star shaped platform on which the temple is built and similar statue carvings on the outer wall –  a wall with a zigzag pattern – everything resembling the Hoysala architecture. Click here to see pics.

From Bangalore to Hassan Road Trip: Very thrilling Night Bike Trip of 500kms

This is our thrilling story of riding motorbike at night among the avenue trees in our 500 kms bike trip, from Bangalore to Hassan road trip.

Two new riders on a bike.

In the pitch dark.

With just a backpack meant for a day trip.

No rooms booked.

Only tall never ending trees and extremely irritating bugs by our side.

This is our story of thrilling road trip to Hassan in pitch dark, covering 500 KMs under 36 hrs.

From Bangalore to Hassan Road trip – 500 KM thrilling bike ride 

Who would have thought we would be riding among the never ending tall trees in pitch dark in our Bangalore to Hassan road trip.

Believe or not it was totally an unplanned journey and we were totally new to that long bike ride too.

In 2016, we were just starting to go out to the nearby places in Bangalore and testing the water.

We were not actually ready to go on long bike rides. We wanted to take it slow after our day bike trip experience from Bangalore to Lepakshi temple. It was quite a successful bike trip – properly planned and executed.

Now we had screwed it.

We didn’t plan well.

So, we didn’t have an itinerary laid for this unexpected delay.

Nor any rooms booked.

Above all, no mobile network to book any rooms.

What should have been a one day trip from Bangalore to Adichuchanagiri hills has turned into a 2 days of thriller ride.  

A thrilling bike ride at night to Hassan, because we had no other option.

After a long leisure darshan at Kalabhairava temple, sitting on the top of Adichuchanagiri hills late in the evening – we had only two options in front of us.

Go back home riding 135 kms to Bangalore or ride 90 kms to Hassan which is relatively less distance so we can be safe soon?.

As a new bee just started travelling by bike to places, 135 kms seemed like a himalayan distance to cross. 

(Hardly 3 months later we had covered 335 kms just in one day’s bike trip to Melkote. Read here).

Adichuchanagiri hills – The intial destination of our Night trip from Bangalore to hassan road trip

Initially days I had a hard time coping with the cool attitude of Rajesh. He was super cool in everything he did and that includes not bothering about sticking to the time schedule. 

In many ways I appreciated his coolness but at times he tested my patience and gave me really hard time. Especially on the days when we had to run a marathon to reach the airport and railway stations. Couple of times we had a history of missing them too.

Soon when we really started loving our bike rides, he couldn’t wait to wake up and get ready before me. 

Now, sitting on top of the Adichuchanagiri hills, blaming our “coolness” for not planning the trip well. Meanwhile, we were nervously trying to connect to the network to get a hang of the google map.

inside view of bairava temple in Adichuchanagiri hills
Inside view of bairava temple in Adichuchanagiri hills

By calculating the distances to home and to Hassan from adichunchanagiri hills, and with zero energy to drive , we decided upon the best shortest distance to hit the bed ASAP.

That best decision was to ride to Hassan in the pitch dark.

So we made a hotel reservation at La Flora Pavanputra Resort before we descended down the hill.

We both experienced a chill in our spine when the parking area was completely deserted. The very place was buzzing with lots of two wheeler and four wheeler is now empty.

The small shops selling toys near the temple entrance are now completely covered and locked under blue sheets.

We both exchanged a look, that said “we are totally screwed”.

Though we did not show any concern or fear on the face, we were totally terrified of the situation.

La Flora Pavanputra Resort Hassan – Thrilling Road trip comes to an end

For more than 3hrs, it was a never ending journey among the avenue trees, literally holding the jumping heart in our hands.

We did it.

Successfully made it to the resort, all in one piece and we couldn’t be more proud.

We appreciated each other and acknowledged that we played good team sports. 

Had it been someone else in Rajesh’s place, I very much doubt their behavior in such adverse conditions.

I am pretty sure they never would have exhibited the same level of bravery and leadership. All kudos to Rajesh.

Of various trips and risks we undertook in our bike travel, this Bangalore to Hassan road trip stays close to our heart till date. 

Also, this trip brought us recognition as “bike riders” among our friends on facebook.

And Rajesh has got many appreciation for his new milestone of driving 500 kms under 36 hrs. 

Soon people started expecting bike travel posts from us during the weekends.

Following this thrilling unplanned trip, we went on a well planned night bike ride of 200Kms, read here.

3 Places We Visited From Hassan To Bangalore Road trip

Next day morning, woke up in our room with a grumbling stomach since we had not eaten anything since the time we left the Adichunchanagiri hills. We were just grateful to be alive and having found a hotel room, the thought of feeding our stomach did not occur at all. 

Soon we checked out our room right after the complimentary breakfast, for sure we will never return to this anytime in the future.

Doddagaddavalli Lakshmi Devi Temple

We rode our bike towards Belur instead of towards Bangalore, to visit this very beautiful -never seen before kind of Hoysala architecture. Not just the architecture is unique, the idols inside the small sanctum are unique too. Along with Lakshmi devi and Kali devi, there were also statues of both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shivalinga guarded by 2 guardians standing tall from floor to the roof. 

We reached the temple around 9.40am, and spent till 10.30am. We allowed ourselves inside the sanctum since there was no priest to be seen and the temple gate was not locked. 

After darshan, we spent time in the pillar hall, eating the peanut we bought along the way.

Here is some information on the uniqueness of this Hoysala architecture I gathered on the internet.

“There are 92 Hoysala temples in Karnataka. These temples are known to be Ekakuta, Dwikuta, Thrikuta, Chatushkuta and Panchkuta, depending on the number of shrines and towers. This Mahalaxmi temple is the only Chathushkuta temple (four shrines and towers) built in Hoysala Architecture style.

The temple is said to be built in the year 1114 A.D, by Kallahana Rahutha(from Kolhapur, Maharashtra), a wealthy merchant in Hoysala court. The place was called Abhinava Kolhapura, connecting it with Kolhapur”.

overview of Lakshmi temple - Hoysala architecture
Overview of Lakshmi temple – Hoysala architecture
Hoysala architecture in karnataka
Close View of Doddagadduvalli Lakshmi devi temple

Lakshmi Narasimha temple, Nuggehalli

Luckily Lakshmi Narasimha temple was open for darshan around 1.10 pm when we reached there. We have travelled about 75kms from where we left, to reach this temple via Hassan – Bangalore highway.  We had spent time till 1.50 pm, the priest left the temple open, closing only the sanctum doors. Main deity of this temple is Lord Lakshmi Narasimha with Lord Krishna in the nearby sanctum.

bangalore to hassan road trip
Lakshmi Narasimha temple

Yediyur Siddhalingeshwara temple, Kunigal district

Around 4.15 after lunch at Bellur cross, we stopped at a very crowded Yediyur Siddhalingeshwara temple on the way to our home. Though it was a small temple with Lord Shiva as the main deity, we spent around 45 mins for darshan since it was too crowded. 

We didn’t want to do anymore visiting places or temples anymore since it was already evening and a lesson from the previous day was to start the bike before it’s too dark and too late.

Places to visit in Bangalore to hassan road trip
Yediyur siddalingeswara temple images

Finally a suggestion to the readers. If you are looking to extend your trip from Hassan, you could go to the following nearby places. Take help of google maps, to find these places.

  • Belur, 38kms
  • Chikamagalur, 63 kms
  • Mysore, 111kms
  • Coorg, 103kms
  • Shivamogga, 155kms
  • Kodagu, 115 kms

Unforgettable Road trip in Our Travel History

This was our first experience driving a bike late into the night.

And it was totally an unplanned journey from Bangalore to Hassan road trip.

We totally enjoyed our return journey easing all the tension from the previous night and enjoyed the ride.

It was a total of 256 kms of bike ride from our hotel room in Hassan to our home in Bangalore. And it was a grand total of 500kms bike riding from Bangalore to Hassan road trip.

Till date this trip makes one of the interesting dinner conversations with our friends. 

Looking back it was all worth it.

2 Less Popular, Historically Important Places to Visit from Bangalore to Belur (Train Trip)

This is our travel story of visiting Halebidu and Belur in our one day trip from Bangalore by Train, along with the 2 other less popular destinations. This is the travel guide to the places to visit from Bangalore to Belur.

Bangalore to Belur distance is 222kms, an easy distance to cover by road for one or two day trip from Bangalore. Even though this was a train trip, you could use this guide to plan your Bangalore to Belur Road trip.

Places to Visit from Bangalore to Belur

When I searched for the places to visit from Bangalore to Belur – Here is what I found. Almost all the travel websites suggested the most popular places like Halebidu, Belur Chennakesava temple, Yagachi dam, Chikmagalur and Shravanabelagola. 

I wanted to explore the less popular. I wanted to go to a place where not many show any interest. Not any particular reason, when it comes to visiting Historical places, I am kinda nuts.

So these are the two places I have got digging into the google maps after researching my brains out.

Both are beautiful places to visit from Bangalore to Belur, both are very beautiful and unique Hoysala Architectures. 

  1. Arasikere – Beautiful Hoysala Architecture (For Lord Shiva)
  2. Javagal – Beautiful Hoysala Architecture (For Lord Vishnu)

When it comes to ancient popular Hoysala architecture in Karnataka, people always prefer visiting Somnathpur Keshava Temple in Mysore or Halebidu Belur temples. 

Whereas these two – Araskiere and Javangal are less popular among the tourists for unknown reason. And here is the detailed itinerary of how to visit these two temples.

places to visit from Bangalore to belur
Beautiful Arasikere Temple – Lord Siva temple
Places to visit in Bangalore to Belur trip
Javagal Lord Vishnu temple entrance


We have also visited yet another less popular Hoysala Architecture in Hassan district in our two day adventurous bike trip from Bangalore.

How We Started Our One day trip to Belur Halebid from Bangalore

In the year 2016, on 2nd October, we went on a one day trip to Belur Halebid from Bangalore.

This was a one day trip from Bangalore by Train. You could use the same guide for the places to visit from Bangalore to Belur.

We reached Arsikere Railway junction from Bangalore in the early morning. 

And We knew nothing about this place, no clue of the places to eat our breakfast. 

After eating some home bought biscuits to go with cup of tea in a local bakery, we hired an auto to reach the Arasikere Ishwara temple.

From there, after about an hour of Bus journey we have reached yet another less popular temple – situated in a vast area, called Lord Lakshmi Narasimha temple. 

After visiting those 2 less popular places, we were on a straight route to Halebidu and Belur. 

The distance between Halebid and Belur is about 17kms, and there are bus and taxi options to travel between these two destinations.

We returned back by train to Bangalore around midnight.

Arasikere and Javagal should be in your bucket list if you are planning any one day trip from Bangalore or from Mysore. 

And it is a must see places – one of the Hoysala places to visit from Bangalore to Belur.

Arasikere – The Less known Place to Visit One day trip from Bangalore

hoysala temples in Karnataka
Oranmental Star Mandap at the entrance facing main Sanctum

A very beautiful Hoysala architecture in Arsikere, dedicated to Lord Shiva, called Ishwara temple. It also has two other shiva linga sanctums, called Kattameshwara and Chandramouleshwara respectively.

There was no one in the temple premises except for us and the priest. He said that as a ritual he keeps an open temple every morning and evening. 

We have time leisurely looking around the architecture, and our talks were around how our ancestors would have celebrated the occasions here. 

We clicked pics to our heart’s content before we left the temple to the Arsikere bus station.

Javagal – Lord lakshmi Narasimha temple

bangalore to hassan road trip
Remains of Lakshmi narasimha temple

Yet another beautiful Hoysala architecture in Javangal in Hassan district of Karnataka. 

This Lord Vishnu temple is situated in a vast area in the middle of the village (guess later people have built the houses surrounding the temple).

We went inside opening the gate, there was no sign of the priest or any devotees. 

We have waited in the pillar mandap for sometime after exploring the temple and clicking pics – but no one turned out.

Happy to have visited this place, we left for the javagal bus station to catch a bus to Halebidu. 

Temple of Belur and Halebidu : Our Final Destination

Our final destination was the temple of Belur and Halebid.

First we reached the Halebidu (or Halebeedu), a small town in Hassan district. It is one of the popular tourists places in Karnataka.

By the time we reached by bus to Halebidu from Javagal, our mobile battery almost ran out and so was our energy. 

We entered a local eatery situated close to the Halebidu temple with rumbling stomach. But only to find they serve tomato bath (tomato flavoured rice) with a dal vada. Something to feed our crying bellies, we had each one plate of rice and vada combo. 

Meanwhile we charged our phones, and relaxed ourselves from the never ending travel from Bangalore. 

It was a non stop travel since the time we left early from our home.

After a well deserved rest, we went to the very famous Halebidu temple – a Lord Shiva temple called Hoysaleshwara temple

karnataka famous temples
the famous Halebidu temple – the outer wall
hoysala architecture in karnataka
the famous Halebidu temple – the outer wall

The temple campus very much resembled Somanathapura Temple in Mysore. We had to walk about 200 – 300 meters between the well paved decorated grass compound. 

There stands a majestic Hoysala architecture – one of a kind in India, a signature style by the Hoysala empire only seen in Karnataka state.

The two huge bulls guarding the two respective Shivalinga is a major attraction here. 

karnataka famous temples
Big Bull in Halebidu temple
Hoysala architecture
Outer walls of Halebidu temple
hoysala architecture
Hoysala architecture – Halebidu temple art -Outer walls
karnataka famous temples
Inner roof of Halebidu temple

Just like the first Arasikere Lord Shiva temple, this temple also has two other Shivalinga sanctum. Except it is majestic, artistic and beautiful bull statues.

Unlike the first two (unpopular temples), this temple was hugely crowded and we were not able to click even one selfie in isolation.

After spending a relatively long time here, we headed to the final destination – Belur, the last places to visit from Bangalore to Belur train trip.

Places to Visit in Belur

There are many sightseeing places to visit in Belur, including the Yagachi dam and river rafting  – our only intention was to visit the famous Chennakesava temple. 

The Hoysala architecture temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the second Lord Vishnu temple in our one day trip from Bangalore.

famous temples in karnataka
Shri Chennakeshava temple belur -travelduo images

Just like the Javagal temple, this temple compound has a decorative Gopuram – only much better than Javagal. 

Again this temple was also too crowded, majority of them are the school students who came on an excursion. 

One of a kind Hoysala architecture, situated in a vast area and covered by never ending pillar mandap is sight to the eyes.

We never got enough of this temple even though we have visited 3 of its kinds in the same day.

Clicked enough pics and captured lots of memories before we headed to the bus station. Where we had our last meal, before boarding the train to Bangalore.

Sum- up

Hope you are impressed with our list of places to visit from Bangalore to Belur in one day. Since the first two places are less popular, they don’t appear in the travel websites. If you are going by road, distance from Bangalore to Belur is just 222 kms. You could very well visit all the places I have listed in this travel story. Hope you enjoyed it.