Named after the Hasanamba Temple, Hassan is an ancient town that was established during the 11th-century Hoysala Empire. It’s on the doorstep of the star-shaped 18th-century fort of Manjarabad and Arasikere and Belur, which are both renowned for their magnificent temples.
Things to do
Admire the 12th-century Hasanamba Temple, which is dedicated to the Goddess Shakti and considered a high point of Karnataka temple architecture. It’s particularly lively during its annual opening week when devotees pay tribute to the goddess with offerings of flowers and rice.
Make a day trip north to the town of Arasikere to visit the magnificent Ishvara Temple, considered one of the most complex architectural landmarks of the Hoysala Empire. It features a 16-pointed, star-shaped mandapa prayer hall and intricately carved sculptures, while its sanctum enshrines a linga dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Don’t miss visiting Belur, which served as the early capital of the Hoysala Empire and is home to the grand Kesava Temple. Built over more than 100 years, this Vaishnava temple features artwork depicting dancers, musicians and scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics, as well as themes from Buddhism and Jainism.
Visit the star-shaped Manjarabad fort, which was inspired by the military fort designs of French architect Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban. Admire the granite stone walls, brick barracks and underground gunpowder storage cellars, then see the projecting bastions that allowed soldiers to fire at anyone who came near.
Hassan is around three hours’ drive from Bangalore and Bangalore International Airport, with both trains and buses also providing transport. Buses and rickshaws travel throughout Hassan.
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