Now little more than a scruffy village of brick houses and chai stalls, HALEBID, 32km northwest of Hassan, was once the capital of the powerful Hoysala dynasty, who held sway over south Karnataka from the eleventh until the early fourteenth centuries. Once known as Dora Samudra, the city was renamed Hale-bidu, or “Dead City”, in 1311 when Delhi sultanate forces under the command of Ala-ud-Din-Khalji swept through and 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 Halebid, making it a far better base for exploration of the Hoysala region.

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