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Hassan is a city and the district headquarters of Hassan district. The town is situated 934 m above sea level with fine weather similar to Bangalore. Hassan is a center hub for world heritage sites like Belur, Halebidu and Shravanabelagola. The temples at Belur & Halebidu are the mute testimony to the highest peak of sculpting skills, that man has ever achieved. Following are the places to look out when you are at Hassan.
Belur, situated on the banks of river Yagachi, 32 km from Hassan, is a world famous tourist destination. Belur was the erstwhile capital of the Hoysalas and referred to as Velapur, Velur and Belahur at different points in history. The town is renowned for its Chennakeshava temple, one of the finest examples of Hoysala workmanship. The temple was consecrated by the famous Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana to mark his victories in 1116 AD against the Cholas and called the Vijaya Narayana.
The Hoysaleswara temple located in Halebidu 31 KM from Hassan, is astounding for its wealth of sculptural details. The walls of the temple are covered with an endless variety of depictions from Hindu mythology, animals, birds and shilabalikas or dancing figures. No two sculptures of the temple are the same. This temple, guarded by a Nandi bull, was never completed, despite 86 years of labour. The Jain basadi nearby are equally rich in sculptural detail.
Shravanabelagola is located at 13 km to the south-east of Channarayapatna in the Channarayapatna taluk of Hassan district of Karnataka. It is at a distance of 51 km south-east of Hassan. The statue of Gommateshvara Bahubali at Śravaṇa Beḷgoḷa is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Jainism, one that reached a peak in architectural and sculptural activity under the patronage of Western Ganga Dynasty of Talakad.
Gorur is located around 22 km from Hassan and the place has a dam that is built across Hemavathy River. Hemavathy dam offers a beautiful view to the visitors. The sight is more attractive when the gates of the reservoir are open and the water gushes down in a lovely manner. There is a garden covered in green grass right next to the dam which enhances the beauty of the location. The garden is often used by the locales as a picnic spot. An early morning visit to the dam offers a wonderful sight of various water birds coming to the reservoir.
The Shettihalli Church is believed to have been built around 450 years ago and represents a Gothic architecture. The Hemavathy River backwaters submerge the church, but the water recedes during the summer time and tourists can visit the ruins of the church during this time. Prayers are held once, with lamps lighting up the church during this time. Even when the church is half under the water, tourists can go near it on a coracle.
The town Hasan was named after the presiding deity at the Hasanamba Temple. She is called Hasanamba as she is perceived to be ever smiling, bestowing all riches on her devotees. Built in the 12th century, the temple is open to the public for a week, once a year during the lunar month of Ashwayuja, during Diwali in October.
The Reserve forest of Bisle Ghat is located in the Hassan District, in Sakaleshpura Taluk. The ghat is the meeting point of natural beauty with the railway lines of Mangalore and Salkeshpur. The Bisle Reserve Forest has the Bisle village located close with the Kempuhole Reserve forest lying towards the north. Towards the south are the Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary of Kodagu District and the Kukke Subrahmanya forest range in the west.
The District Museum of Hassan was established in 1977 and houses a collection of antiquities that are of archaeological importance. Although small, it displays a great collection of paintings, sculptures, inscriptions, weapons and coins. It is situated in the Maharaja Park.
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