Hassan in the Indian state of Karnataka is named after Goddess Hasanamba. This town founded in the 11th century by Channa Krishnappa Naik is located on the National Highway connecting Mangalore and Bangalore. Apart from being a centre of transport and commerce, the district is known for its salubrious climate.
The shrine of Goddess Hasanamba with an ant-hill representing the deity is a famous tourist attraction. The temple opens only once a year for about a week, during Ashwayuja (October). A big jatra (fair) is held on this occasion.
The places to visit around Hassan are: Belur, Halebid and Sravanabelagola.
Belur, located 40 km from Hassan, was the capital of the Hoysala Empire 800 years ago. Unlike Halebid, this little temple town is bustling with commerce and activity, but frequented for the Chennakeshava Temple. This temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture. It was built in 1116 by the Hoysala King, Vishnuvardhana. This magnificent temple took a century to complete. Chennakeshava, one of the many names of Lord Vishnu, is worshipped here. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes showing elephants, episodes from the epics, and sensuous dancers (shilabalikas). Inside are hand-lathe-turned filigreed pillars. The temple built on a star-shape platform has three doorways and bracket figures (Madanikas) which are masterpieces of craftsmanship.
Halebid, earlier known as Dwarasamudra, was the ancient and wealthy capital city of the Hoysala Empire. It was destroyed twice by the armies of the Delhi sultanate, in 1311 and 1327. Hence, the name Halebeedu (ruined city).
The Hoysalesvara Temple here is an excellent example of the Hoysala architecture. This temple took 86 years to build but is still incomplete. It has two shrines, the bigger Shiva temple is called the Hoysaleshwara temple, while the smaller one is the Shantaleshwara temple (after Vishnuvardhana’s queen, the dancing girl Shantala). The walls of the temple are covered with intricate carvings of gods and goddesses, animals, birds and dancing girls. Yet no two facets of the temple look the same.
About 1 km south of Halebid is Bastihalli, with 12th century Jain bastis in a garden enclosure. These bastis have gleaming blackstone pillars and carved ceilings.
Halebid is located 27 km away from Hassan, and148 km away from Mysore.