Now little more than a scruffy village of brick houses and chai stalls, Halebidu (Halebid), 32km northwest of Hassan, was the second capital of the powerful Hoysala dynasty, which held sway over south Karnataka from the eleventh until the early fourteenth centuries and its peak stretched from coast to coast. Once known as Dora Samudra (Gateway to the Sea), the capital city became Hale-bidu, or “Old City”, after successive raids by the Delhi sultanate between 1311 and 1326 reduced it to rubble. Despite the sacking, several large Hoysala temples survive, two of which, the Hoysaleshvara and Kedareshvara, are superb, covered in exquisite carvings. Note that Belur has superior facilities to those found in Halebidu, making it a far better base for exploration of the Hoysala region.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

India features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Living the past: the ancient professions of Old Delhi

Living the past: the ancient professions of Old Delhi

Modernity is seeping into Old Delhi, a walled district that has long harboured the Indian capital’s traditional ways of life. But what does this mean for long…

13 Jun 2017 • Jack Palfrey local_activity Special feature
Video: the essence of India

Video: the essence of India

When Paris-based production company Bed & Breakfast reached out to us with a video that so perfectly captured the essence of India in all but a minute, we c…

04 May 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
In pictures: the little-visited treasures of South India

In pictures: the little-visited treasures of South India

After a week-long whistle-stop tour of central India's least-visited attractions, travel writer and photographer Lottie Gross shares her favourite photos. In…

07 Mar 2017 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month