The Horse/ Elephant stables of the Vijayanagar Empire in Hampi

The forgotten wonders of Karnataka

Karnataka: the life of this state isn’t just restricted to Bangalore. The gardens and the hip-life of Bangalore, beaches of Mangalore and Gokarna, the Western Ghats, the Palaces of the time bygone are the jewels in its crown. But the one thing we can’t forget of all is its temples and the other architectural wonders.

Every lane definitely has one, and the best are the ones from past. The place is home to an India that most of us have forgotten, an India of the Hoysalas and the Cholas and the other dynasties.

Halebidu
Halebidu

Belur and Halebidu: About 16 kilometres apart from each other, these were the formal capitals of the Hoysala Empire. The temples here were built commemorating their victory over the Cholas. On entering, these temples seem to be in a different universe altogether.

The calm that settles over you on entering can only be broken by the whispers of the sparrows, the remarkable carvings and the jet black pillars are nothing that would have seen before; while some of these mesmerize you with their stories, the others, just with their beauty.

Belur1
One of the temples in Belur

 

Hampi, the pride of North Karnataka is nothing short of absolute splendour. The place houses more than a hundred monuments each more unique than the other; basements of the palaces, royal gardens, temples, mantapas, lakes of the Vijayanagar Empire is the same as it was centuries ago.

Though scorching heat would welcome you, a look at the grandeur of the place would make you forget everything. The place throws some architectural wonder or the other at every bend on the road you encounter.

This place is also said to have been under King Asoka’s reign, a Brahmi inscription and terracotta seal dating back to the 2nd Century, were excavated from here.

The lakes in Hampi
The lakes in Hampi

Badami, in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka, is one of the few remaining works of the masons of the Chalukya Dynasty that rules the area from 6th to 8th Century. The place is known for the cave temples carved out of the soft sandstone found there.

It is a collection of four temples; the first three are Hindu temples and the fourth is a Jain Temple. This was the period when the architectural styles evolved and rock carving was first tried and the temples are suppose to symbolise religious tolerance towards Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. The place is also known for rock climbing and hence frequented by adventure enthusiasts. The top of the northern end of the hill is home to the Badami Fort, which would sum up the experience of this place.

The temples in Badami
The temples in Badami

Kushalnagar, also called Mini Tibet, is the heart of Buddhist and Tibetian culture in Karnataka. The place is famous for the magnificent Namdroling Monastery which houses the three massive statues- The Buddha Statue which is 60ft tall flanked by the Guru Padmasambhava and Buddha Amitayus statues which are 58ft tall. The statues are made of copper and plated with gold.

The place is a fine example of Tibetian architecture with Chinese and Indian influences. Colourful yet serene the place radiates warmth, happiness and peace. It is the largest Tibetian settlement of the South and was completed in the year 2000.

Inside the monastery in Kushalnagar

The Palace of Mysore, the Places of Tipu Sultan, the Gol Gumbaz, and various other churches , mosques temples are just a few jewels in the endless list which add to the Architectural milestones of Karnataka.

Image Credits:

Elephant/ Horse Stables in Hampi : Wikipedia

Hampi : Wikipedia

Badami : Karnataka.com

I walk, and I discover, myself and places. I draw, and I write. And that's how I travel.

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