Guide | Hoysala Temple Trail in Arasikere

Arsikere Tourist Places: Immerse Yourself in Hoysala Temple Magic (2024)

Explore the enchanting Arsikere Tourist Places and immerse yourself in the mesmerizing magic of Hoysala Temples. Uncover the rich heritage and divine beauty as you journey through historical marvels, each narrating tales of a bygone era. Indulge in a captivating experience that blends history, architecture, and spirituality, promising an unforgettable adventure in the heart of Arsikere. Discover the allure of Hoysala Temple Magic and create lasting memories in this cultural haven.

The allure of Hoysala temples extends beyond the renowned sites of Belur, Halebidu, and Somnathpura, captivating enthusiasts with their architectural splendor. My fascination with these temples deepened when I discovered that Karnataka boasts over 100 lesser-known Hoysala temples. Among these hidden gems, Arsikere in Karnataka is a Hoysala architectural wonders treasure trove. Entranced by the idea, my friend Divya and I embarked on an exhilarating Hoysala Temple Trail in Arsikere.

The journey through Arsikere unfolded as a delightful exploration of these concealed treasures. Each Hoysala temple we encountered narrated stories of a bygone era, revealing intricate craftsmanship and historical significance. Arsikere’s temples, though lesser-known, mirrored the grandeur of their more famous counterparts, adding a unique charm to our expedition.

Immersing ourselves in the quiet beauty of Arsikere, we marveled at the intricate details and spiritual ambiance these hidden Hoysala temples offered. The Hoysala Temple Trail in Arsikere proved to be a rewarding escapade, showcasing Karnataka’s lesser-explored yet equally enchanting cultural and historical heritage.

Thanks to Divya, who organized this trip and ensured all the research was done before we traveled.

Guide | Hoysala Temple Trail in Arasikere
Divya and I in front of Veeranarayana temple

PIN for later reference – Arsikere Tourist Places

Arsikere Tourist Places: Immerse Yourself in Hoysala Temple Magic
PIN for later reference – Arsikere Tourist Places

This article may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. For complete information, please see our affiliate disclaimer here.

About Hoysala Dynasty

The Hoysala Dynasty, reigning over the Southern Deccan region, presently recognized as Karnataka, held sway from 1006 to 1346 CE. Originating from Malenadu, the Hoysalas, and their adherents communicated in the prevailing language of Kannada. Within this epoch, the Hoysala Empire witnessed the ascendancy of remarkable rulers, notably Vishnuvardhana and Veera Ballala II, who left an indelible mark on the region’s history.

Renowned for their architectural prowess, the Hoysala Empire bequeathed a legacy manifested in many temples scattered across Karnataka. These architectural marvels are enduring testaments to the dynasty’s cultural and artistic contributions. The intricate craftsmanship and distinctive Hoysala style, characterized by detailed carvings and ornate sculptures, continue to captivate admirers and scholars alike.

The Hoysala Empire’s enduring impact on Karnataka’s cultural landscape is evident in the myriad temples that dot the region, each narrating a tale of the dynasty’s grandeur. Beyond the stories of history, the Hoysala architectural legacy endures, inviting contemporary explorers to delve into the rich heritage of Southern Deccan India.

About Hoysala Emblem

According to a legend, a young man named Sala became a hero by saving his Jain guru Sudatta from a tiger near the Sosevuru temple. The term ‘Hoysala’ is believed to derive from the Old Kannada word ‘Hoy,’ which means to strike, as Sala struck down the tiger. This etymology gave rise to the name Hoy-sala. The legend gained prominence after King Vishnuvardhana defeated the Cholas at Talakadu, and it is said to be documented in an inscription by Vishnuvardhana in Belur.

The Hoysala emblem vividly illustrates the dramatic encounter between Sala and the tiger, with the tiger serving as the emblematic symbol of the Hoysala dynasty. This emblem is a powerful representation of the heroic act that led to the naming of the dynasty, embodying the valor and legacy of Sala’s courageous feat near the Sosevuru temple.

Guide | Hoysala Temple Trail in Arasikere
Hoysala emblem at Lakshminarasimha temple

About Hoysala Architecture

The Hoysala architectural style, cultivated during the reign of the Hoysala dynasty from the 11th to the 14th centuries, is characterized by a distinctive design philosophy. Predominantly, Hoysala-built temples were dedicated to either Lord Shiva or Lord Vishnu. Historical records suggest a conscientious effort by the Hoysalas to maintain religious harmony, reflected in the nearly equal number of temples devoted to both deities.

Central to the architectural focus of these temples is the Garbhagriha, the sacred center where the deity resides. The design strategically guides devotees into the Garbhagriha from the exterior through halls and mantapas (chambers), ensuring a ritualistic and contemplative journey. Structurally, all Hoysala temples bear a remarkable resemblance to one another, embodying the distinctive features that define the Hoysala architectural legacy.

For a comprehensive list of Hoysala architecture temples, interested enthusiasts can refer to the dedicated page on Wikipedia, which provides a detailed exploration of these historical and religious landmarks.

Unique Hoysala Architecture Features

Several distinctive features serve as indicators to identify whether the Hoysala dynasty constructed a temple. Some of these critical characteristics include:

  • Exceptional intricacy and masterful craftsmanship characterize the work of the Hoysala dynasty.
Guide | Hoysala Temple Trail in Arasikere
  • Pillars stand as sculpted masterpieces, showcasing intricate carvings and artistic finesse. These pillars, often lathe-turned and adorned with ornate motifs, support the temples’ structural elegance. Each pillar is a testament to the Hoysala dynasty’s unparalleled skill and aesthetic prowess in crafting timeless architectural marvels.
Guide | Hoysala Temple Trail in Arasikere
  • Sculptures of women are exquisite depictions, portraying a diverse range of activities. From graceful dancers to devoted worshippers and everyday tasks, these intricately carved figures capture the essence of life. The artistry reveals the Hoysala dynasty’s cultural richness and mastery in conveying nuanced expressions through stone.
Guide | Hoysala Temple Trail in Arasikere
  • The temples crafted during the 11th to 14th centuries under Hoysala architecture showcase timeless beauty. Adorned with intricate carvings, they pay homage to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Symbolizing religious harmony, these marvels feature distinctively structured halls and mantapas, reflecting the enduring legacy of the Hoysala dynasty’s architectural brilliance.

About Arsikere

Arsikere, situated in Karnataka’s Hassan district, holds historical significance. The name, derived from the Kannada words ‘Arasiya’ and ‘kere,’ translates to ‘Queen’s pond.’ Legend attributes it to a Hoysala princess who constructed a pond/lake nearby. Serving as a central hub, Arsikere is pivotal for tourists exploring the renowned Belur and Halebidu temples.

Guide | Hoysala Temple Trail in Arasikere

How to Get to Arsikere?

By Road

Arsikere lies approximately 166 kilometers from Bangalore city, requiring a one-way drive of roughly 3.5 hours.

Arsikere Tourist Places: Immerse Yourself in Hoysala Temple Magic (2024)
Source: Google maps

By Train

Rail services connect Bangalore city (City Railway station) and Arsikere Junction (Arsikere Railway station), with the Jan Shatabdi Express being the swiftest option.

Tickets for this route are available on the IRCTC website, with a one-way fare approximately amounting to INR 250 per adult.

Cab Details

We reserved a cab for an 8-hour duration, encompassing pick-up and drop-off at Arsikere Junction. The cab driver was amiable, and the vehicle was impeccably clean and well-maintained. I highly recommend opting for this cab service.

  • Vinayaka Tours and Travels
  • Mobile: +91-9152566513

Arsikere Tourist Places: Hoysala Temple Trail


We efficiently explored the four Hoysala temples in Arsikere and two additional non-Hoysala temples in a single day. Our well-organized itinerary unfolded as follows:

6 AM – Board the train from Bangalore City railway station to Arsikere railway station.

9 AM – Arrival in Arsikere.

9:30 AM – Temple visits:

  • Lakshminarasimha Temple
  • Veeranarayana Temple
  • Someshwara Temple
  • Shivalaya

6:30 PM – Board the train from Arsikere railway station to Bangalore City railway station.

10 PM – Return to Bangalore city railway station, concluding a day filled with temple exploration.

Lakshminarasimha Temple

The Lakshminarasimha Temple in Javagal is a remarkable 13th-century Hoysala temple, elevated on a platform that provides devotees with a circumambulation path. Constructed in 1250 A.D. by Hoysala King Vira Someshwara, the main deity is Narasimha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The Archaeological Survey of India protects this historically significant temple.

Veeranarayana Temple

Constructed in 1200 C.E. by Hoysala King Veera Ballala II, the Veeranarayana Temple in Belavadi is a significant Hoysala dynasty edifice. Boasting three shrines, it stands as one of the largest Hoysala temples. According to legend, Belavadi is mentioned in the Mahabharata, where the Pandava prince Bheema vanquished the demon Bakasura, safeguarding the village and its inhabitants. Among the four, this temple holds a special place in my heart and is undeniably breathtaking.

Guide | Hoysala Temple Trail in Arasikere

Someshwara Temple

Constructed in 1235 A.D. by Hoysala King Vira Someshwara, the Someshwara Temple in Haranahalli is dedicated to Lord Shiva. However, it holds less renown and beauty compared to other Hoysala temples. Regrettably, the temple is not adequately maintained.

Guide | Hoysala Temple Trail in Arasikere

Shivalaya or Ishvara Temple

The Shivalaya, or Ishvara Temple, dating back to around 1220 CE, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Regarded as the most intricate Hoysala temple, its complexity is evident in the unique 16-point star-shaped hall.


I produced a vlog documenting the trail and conducting interviews with locals. Notably, the priest in the vlog attributes the construction of the Lakshminarasimha Temple to Vishnuvardhana, while my research indicates that King Vira Someshwara was the actual builder of the temple.

A heartfelt appreciation to my friend Divya and the local artist who lent their contributions, especially the enchanting song at the temple, enriching the content of the video.

Where to eat in Arsikere?

Hallimane stands out as one of the finest restaurants I have experienced in Karnataka. Their simple and delectable home-cooked vegetarian dishes are complemented by outstanding hospitality. The authentic Malnad-style menu features Chapati, Holige (Obattu), Palya, Rice, Sambar, and Rasam, providing a delightful culinary experience.

  • Address: Near Railway Gate Mysore Road, Channarayanapatna-Arsikere Road, Arsikere, Karnataka 573103.
  • Timings: Every day, 9 AM to 8 PM.
  • Mobile: +91-9980159150.

Is Arsikere Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Neither my friend nor I encountered any issues during our travels here. Having journeyed with a friend, I confidently affirm that Arsikere is a secure destination for solo travelers. The town is exceptionally safe for female travelers, with friendly locals. Nevertheless, as with any location, exercise caution and trust your instincts.

Important Information


Typically, the priests reside in proximity to these temples. If you find the temple closed, consider seeking out the priest. The priests in these villages are pretty accommodating and will likely open the temple exclusively for your visit.

Guide | Hoysala Temple Trail in Arasikere
Priest at Lakshminarasimha Temple

Littering and Nuisance

Witnessing the destruction of sculptures and pillars, with names inscribed and temples marred by scratches, was genuinely disheartening. Let’s preserve our history; these monuments are vital to our heritage. Respect and protect them for future generations.

Guide | Hoysala Temple Trail in Arasikere
Guide | Hoysala Temple Trail in Arasikere


The following outlines the breakdown of expenses for the Hoysala Temple Trail:

  • Train tickets return = INR 460
  • Cab charges = INR 2800
  • Breakfast = INR 148
  • Lunch = INR 400

Total expenses for two people = INR 3808

Closing Notes

While I may not be deeply religious, my fascination with Hindu temples stems from their captivating architecture and rich history. The sculptures and temple complexes explored during this trail were truly astonishing and beautiful. Overflowing with history, I wholeheartedly recommend embarking on this trail. If you share a passion for architecture, the Hoysala Temple trail is a must. Feel free to contact if you know of additional Hoysala temples nearby.

How can you support me?
You know how much I love coffee, so you can buy me a coffee – Buy me Coffee!

Or you can purchase from one of the below travel resources without any extra charge to you:
Travel Resources
Book your flight on or
Reserve your accommodation on Stay22
Reserve your stay at a hostel on HostelWorld
Use RentalCars or DiscoverCars for hiring self-driven cars
Book your tours and travels or purchase tickets on Viator or GetYourGuide
For a universal SIM card, use DrimSim
Buy comprehensive travel insurance on SafetyWing and WorldNomads

If you liked this article and if it was helpful in your planning or traveling, do share, tweet, or pin this post.

Follow me on Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Twitter | LinkedIn

Do you have a question? Do you want any suggestions and tips for travel, hikes, and scuba dives? Use the Subscription box below to sign up and get updates by email.

Learn how to plan more, travel more, & live more

Get valuable travel tips and tricks, travel inspirations and listen to my stories in your inbox.

Arsikere Tourist Places: Immerse Yourself in Hoysala Temple Magic (2024)
    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    PIN for later reference – Arsikere Tourist Places

    Arsikere Tourist Places: Immerse Yourself in Hoysala Temple Magic
    PIN for later reference – Arsikere Tourist Places