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.

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