Belur, Halebid and Shravanabelagola (BHS) …..
Belur and Halebid are small towns where you will find Hindu Temples constructed in the Hoysala period. Belur is that bit larger but maybe Halebid beats it for the intricacies of its carving.
The towns themselves are quite ordinary
Shravanabelagola is a Temple town with the original ‘Prince’ represented in a giant monolithic statue at the top of the hill, there are other temples dotted around the town. It is one of the most important Jain Temples in the world so this is a religious town. There are places to stay and eat frequented by the pilgrims.
Melkote is a Hindu Temple town with atmospheric street, two main Temples, Tank (Temple pond), ruins and Khad cotton, hand spinning and weaving project. Again this is a small religious town.
If you have a taxi it is feasible to do this trip en-route to Coorg or Chigmaglur and in that case it might be possible to take in Bylakuppe.
As always, number one tip: don’t try to do too much!
Most tourists don’t visit these gems because of the limits on their time.
One day or longer? using taxis
Those that do will usually complete the three places in a day trip in a taxi from Mysore. It’s called BHS takes 10-12 hours in total so it’s a long day and costs in the vicinity of 3000 Rs and that’s with a driver who is not a guide. It’s a round trip of about 400 kms. I’ve done it a couple of times. It’s a full day but perfectly manageable.
Occasionally people will extend their trip and stay overnight in one of the places. This can also be done in a taxi, likely cost for two days is 4700Rs or for three days is 5700 Rs Prices will vary depending upon the final route, the type of car and are likely change. These are only intended as a guide, they were good in August 2017.
There is a train, reservations are not necessary (or possible.?) and I’m told it’s not too busy or hectic but we don’t really know.
Buses there are both direct and indirect, it takes over three hours to Hasan and maybe another hour or more to Belur. We’ve never done it so not absolutely sure. They do exist and can be sorted once you’re in Mysore.
There is a bus between Belur and Halebid. We’re talking local buses that could be a real adventure with great insights.
Check the suggestions for accommodation at the BHS update here
Places to stay are limited. If you do use a taxi and take more than one day it is also possible to include the Temple Town of Melkote. These towns do not have much in the way of facilities for foreign tourists. There are now AirBnB places and government ‘resorts.’ Most pilgrims in places such as Shravanabelagola and Melkote will stay in lodging or guest houses. Some might not be able to take foreign tourists.
Please recognise our knowledge is limited. In any case, in India, expect the unexpected. 😉
Other more local options
For those who don’t have the time or the inclination to do the full thing it’s also possible to:
– combine Shravanabelagola with Melkote as a day trip. Our good friend Tanuja provides a tour of Melkote that includes the Gandhian Khadi cotton project.
– fit in a Hoysala Temple as there is a smaller but perfectly good beautiful alternative, Somnathpur, an hour or so from Mysore Bed and Breakfast which can be part of an auto rickshaw tour, passing through lovely countryside. Most guests at Mysore Bed and Breakfast manage to fit this in if they stay more than two nights and are not overcome by Temples.
For those who don’t do a MYCycle cycle tour of Srirangapatnam (shame) it is possible to combine Somnathpur and Srirangapatnam as a day trip in auto rickshaw.