(Roadtrip) : Bangalore - Belur - Chikmagalur - Halebid - Bangalore


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A couple of weekends ago, I decided to visit the ancient temples of Belur and Halebid (of which I had heard a lot). This is a brief travelogue and an input to people planning on taking the trip about road conditions (which, for the most part, are excellent).

The one thing that I am going to follow religiously is - 'start early'. Left home at 4:30 am on a Friday and within 30 minutes or so I was on the Neelamangala road.

The highway is superb with a toll booth after the elevated section (takes about Rs. 15). After this - you need to take the 3rd exit (the section marked as Bangalore to Mangalore) ... which leads onto the service road and then a dual carriageway (2 lanes either side with a divider in between) for close to a 100 kms . This drive is lovely with fields on either side, great tarmac and easy to maintain a steady clip of close to 100 kmph. The problem remains with buses that barrel down the wrong way (to avoid taking a U turn). So be cautious at all times as you will have to change lanes to avoid a bus / truck / car coming down towards you at full tilt on the wrong side of the road ...

The road becomes a single lane either way (with no divider) some distance short of Hassan - its still very enjoyable and there are signs of construction going on for extending the toll road. I stopped to take some snaps of 'windmills' on a hill at a distance - was a lovely sight (havent seen them in India till now).

The roads within Hassan are quite terrible. The rains have washed away most of the tarmac and its quite a bumpy ride through the city. The highway improved once I left Hassan and was again quite good all the way to Belur.

Reached the "Chennakeshava" temple at 0830 hrs ... so a 4 hour drive with a few stops en-route to just take in the sights, click some snaps and have a coffee.

The temple is beautiful. There are certified 'guides' within the temple. I engaged the services of one and over the next hour, he explained the history of Belur and the stories behind the sculptures. Spent a few very peaceful hours here. And then - continued onwards to Chikmagalur (to a homestay where I had booked a stay for 2 nights).

The distance from Belur to the homestay was about 55 kms - over a narrow excuse for a road. Everytime a vehicle came from the other side - both of us had to get off the road in order to pass. So - drove slowly / steadily and around late afternoon - reached the homestay.

It was raining heavily in Chikmagalur and didnt let up at all. The stay (room / food / people) was wonderful with a very hospitable staff. I sacked out for some time with a thought to go for a walk to the waterfalls within the estate. The rains though continued and there was no question of venturing out. the place had a nice library - and it was delightful to sit in the "verandah" with an old issue of National Geographic, with the rain falling, and a hot cup of coffee. Nice !

Will update on the return journey later (which included a stopover in Halebid).
 

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Nice trip Aloha.
Did you took the nice road or the usual Peenya through Metro of Vijaynagar?
Yes when i visit Mangalore, i follow Nice Road(PES), followed by 15 rs toll of express Nelamangala highway, then 3rd left to the Hassan-Mlore route.

Myself did Halebidu during my visit to Mangalore in July.
We took the parallel route about 5 kms away from Hassan.
It was through a small town, then we took the left U turn, and a splendid State highway 57 , we reached Halebidu.
In halebidu the roads are worst only near this monument.

There are no good hotels near by.

We didn't visit Belur as our camera's cells gave up.
And we came back without visiting Belur.
 

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Good to know the Nelamangala flyover is ready, but cant we take the BLR - Magadi road which straightaway touches the Kunigal road avoiding lots of traffic. I prefer this route than waiting for toll booths. During night drive, I normally take Hassan-Holenarsipur - Bilikere - Mysore-BLR route. Just a personal choice.

@Mukesh
How many kms from Tumkur road down ramp(NICE Road Exit) till the Nelamangala Tollbooth?

@Aloha:
Please provide the details of CKM homestay, Contacts? whats ur feedback about food/stay? CKM homestays are pretty costly.
 
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From Nice Road exit its hardly 0.5 kms to the toll booth.
We will be joining the toll booth halfway.

From my home i reach Nelamangala within 23 minutes from PESIT.

More than toll one can save lot of diesel .
 
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@ MUKESHUS
I took the road via Metro (Peenya). I am not familiar with that part of the city and so stuck to the map. At that time in the morning (around 4:50 am or so) the roads were nearly empty and I moved at a fast clip through the city. Thanks for the snap of the HALEBIDU sign - i missed taking this one ! You should definitely plan a trip to Belur. The "Chennakeshava" temple is beautiful ...

@ AppU, @ Surfer, @Shailinder - thank you and I will update this travelogue with details (and snaps) of the return trip via Halebidu separately.

@white-rhino
the homestay in CKM was excellent - great ambience, hospitality and the room was perfect. is there a way i can message you the details of the place (i am not sure if i am allowed to post phone numbers / links on the forum). If, however, its appropriate - will add that information too. Thanks ... Aloha
 
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Update : (Roadtrip) : Bangalore - Belur - Chikmagalur - Halebid - Bangalore

Day 2 - Chikmagalur - Halebidu - Bangalore

It was raining continuously in Chikmagalur. By the next day morning - i was very familiar with the room and the verandah having remained confined to this area. Decided to keep the trekking, waterfall visit for the next trip to Chikmagalur (when it is not raining) and planned to head back to Bangalore via Halebidu. I started from Chikmagalur around 10:30 am after a very nice breakfast at the homestay ...

Halebidu is about a couple of hours drive from Chikmagalur ... the roads are bad owing to the rains and the going was painfully slow. It was all worth it in the end once I reached the Shiva temple in Halebidu. Built in an almost similar style as the one in Belur - this is another marvel of ancient Indian architecture and the sculptures adorning the temple walls are magnificient. The grounds of the temple are well looked after. There is a lake adjacent to the temple grounds (access is not possible as far as I could see).

I enlisted the services of an accredited guide and the discourse over the next hour was quite enlightening. He made sure to direct my attention to a sculpture where (indeed) it appeared as if "rockets and missiles" had been launched (they looked like the depiction of a rocket we would draw as children) ... and the theory that all this existed in ancient India. I had a review class on the 'dasa avatars' and was able to name them all by the end of the hour - without any prompting. Felt pleased.

The weather had remained steadfastly pleasant all along the moment I had left Chikmagalur apart from short spells of light rain. A quick lunch near the temple ... and I was on the highway back to Bangalore.

By now I was ready for oncoming buses (the wrong way) on the stretch and made sure I stayed mostly on the left lane. Traffic was light, there was an intermittent drizzle, and I saw a rainbow arching over the highway. Stuck my hand out of the window with a camera to capture the image ... perfect end to a very pleasant weekend getaway.
 

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Aah this road is a breeze to drive, i love this stretch of C.R.Patna in particular.
The Halebidu is a nice temple of lord vaidyanatheshwara.

The gardens around the temple gives a good view.
And this temple of Halebidu has 4 entry doors.
Though some idols of Jaya & Vijaya on the entrance are found to damaged by Mughal Envasion.

You have managed to click that Nandi very well without those ropes.

My camera battery lost its power, and we thought to visit Belur next time.

Some pics from my end.
 

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