Genral Information - Hassan
The town of Hassan is in Karnataka's southern district of the same name, and is 934 m above sea level. It has been named after the town's presiding Goddess "Hasanamba" and is called Karnataka's temple-architecture capital. Hassan dates back to the 11th century, under the rule of the Hoysala Dynasty (11-14th century), who were largely influenced by Jainism.
The history of Hassan district is essentially the history of two of the well known dynasties that have ruled Karnataka, the Western Ganga Dynasty of Talkad (350 - 999 CE.) and the Hoysala Empire (1000 - 1334 CE). In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Vijayanagar kings patronised Chennakesava of Belur as their family deity. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Hassan became a land of contention between the Keladi Nayakas of Shimoga and the Mysore Kingdom. It finally merged as an independent Mysore kingdom. Place To See :
Lakshmidevi Temple 1113 chatushkuta architecture, DoddagaddavalliAround the 300 BCE. Hassan was part of the Mayuran empire. Sage Bhadrabahu arrived from north India in 3rd century BCE. along with many ascetics marking the arrival of Jainism into Karnataka. Some historians believe king Chandragupta Maurya 322 –298 BCE., grand father of emperor Ashoka was his disciple and accompanied Bhadrabahu to Sharavanabelagola and eventually died there. Other historians argued that the king was Ashoka's grandson and came later. A basadi or monument in his name called Chandragupta basadi still exists today. Whatever the truth about Chandragupta Maurya's lineage, it is believed that Shravanabelagola has been a place of Jain worship for twenty three centuries.
Sadashiva Temple 1246, ekakuta architecture, NuggihalliLater Hassan came under the rule of the Ganga Dynasty of Talkad. The Gangas initially ruled as a sovereign power from 350 - 550 CE. and later continued to rule this area as feudatories of Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas. In the late 10th century, many Jaina monuments were built at Shravanabelagola. Some of them, including the fifty seven feet tall monolithic statue of Gomateshwara, was commissioned by Ganga general Chamundaraya. During the rule of the Gangas, Shravanabelagola was an important religious centre. Today it is also a place of great archaeological importance. The name of the town is derived from Shravana or Shramana, meaning a Jain ascetic, and Belagola or Biliya Kola in Kannada meaning white pond. Over eight hundred inscriptions which includes eighty from the Hoysala period have been discovered in and around Shravanabelagola covering a period 600 - 1830 CE. and has been enormously helpful in understanding the history not only of Hassan but the history of all the Kingdoms that ruled over Karnataka. Inscriptions are in Kannada, Sanskrit, Tamil, Marathi, Marwari and Mahajani languages and are attributed to all the major Kingdoms that have ruled over Karnataka, indicating patronage to Jainism was active thorough out medieval history.
Around 1000 CE., with their complete defeat at the hands of the Cholas, the Ganga lineage vanished forever from Gangavadi (southern districts of Karnataka). From that time onwards, till 1334 CE, Hoysalas ruled this region and after their decline, the Vijayanagar empire took control. After the decline of the Vijayanagar empire, the area came under the rule of the Mysore Kingdom.
It was under the rule of the Hoysalas, a clan of hill people whose origins are traced to Angadi in Chikmagalur District who built a powerful empire from the malnad region of Karnataka that Hassan reached its zenith of fame, much of which is seen today in the fifty or more Hoysala temples scattered around the country side in the district. Inscriptions in many of these temples speak volumes of the glory of a bygone era, the administration of the Hoysalas, their land reforms, taxation, culture and so on. The Hoysalas, who claim to be of the Kuruba/yadava race stepped into the shoes of their predecessors, the Gangas after being feudatories of the Chalukyas of Kalyani from about 1000 - 1150 CE. After the decline of the Kalyani Chalukya power and constant efforts by Hoysala Vishnuvardhana to break free of subordination to the Chalukyas, the Hoysalas emerged as an independent power in the middle of the 12th century. Vishnuvardhana who went by the name Bittideva was a Jaina but later changed his name having accepted Vishnavism, a sect of Hinduism. Many historians feel that Vishnuvardhana was the true maker of the Hoysala empire. Their emergence as a sovereign power was made possible by two decisive victories, one against the Cholas at Talakad in 1114 CE. after which Vishnuvardhana assumed the titles of Veera Ganga and Talakadu Gonda, struck coins in memory of the victory, built the Keerthi Narayana temple at Talakad and the famous Chennakeshava temple at Belur and took control of Gangavadi. The other was a sensational victory over the mighty Chalukya forces of Vikramaditya VI at Kannegal in 1118 CE. However it was only after the death of Vikramaditya VI that Vishnuvardhana was able to gain control over central regions of present day Karnataka in Hangal, Uchchangi, Banavasi and Barkapura. During the rule of his grandson, Veera Ballala II 1173 – 1220 CE. who earned the title Cholarajyapratishtacharya or preserver of the Chola kingdom, the Hoysalas were able to become a true force to reckon with in South India. During this time, Hassan became the epicenter of Kannada literary and cultural activities.
Halebid How Get There :
About 27 kms north-west of Hassan and 17 kms east of Belur, the temples of Halebid are the silent witness to the rich cultural heritage of Karnataka. The 12th century Hoysaleswara Temple is impressive for its awesome sculptural profusion. The walls of the temple are covered with an endless variety of gods and goddesses, animals, birds and dancing girls. This splendid temple - guarded by a Nandi Bull - was never completed, despite 86 years of hard labour. The Jain basadis located nearby are equally rich in sculptural detail.
Situated about 38 km from Hassan, Belur is a picturesque town at a distance of 187 km from the capital Bangalore. The Channekeshava Temple at Belur is the only one of the three major Hoysala sites still in use. Construction of this temple commenced in AD 1116 to commemorate the Hoysala's victory over the Cholas at Talakad.
At a distance of 51 kms southeast of Hassan, Shravanabelagola is one of the most sacred Jain pilgrimage centers in Karnataka. Here is the 17 m high monolith of Lord Bahubali - the world's tallest monolithic statue. Thousands of devotees gather here to perform the Mahamastakabhisheka - a spectacular ceremony held once in 12 years, when the 1000 -year- old statue is anointed with milk, curds, ghee, saffron and gold coins.
By Air Accomodation :
Nearest airport is in Bangalore which is at a distance of 187 Km from Hassan. Bangalore being one of the metro cities in India, it recieves flights from all corners of India and of all major operators. It takes around 5 hrs to cover the distance by road. You can either take the sevice of KSRTC buses that are regular between Bangalore and Hassan or you have the option of hiring a taxi.
Hassan has its own railhead which is around 2 km from the city center. Connection with Mangalore, Mysore and Bangalore is good with regular trains. There are express trains like Mangalore-Bangalore express which has a stop at Hassan.
Hassan is connected with good network of roads to nearby areas like Belur, Halebid, Shravanabelagola and to all other major cities of Karnataka. Hassan is an important tourist destinations so KSRTC runs regular buses between Bangalore (222 Km) and Mangalore (194 Km).
Easiest way of traveling inside the city is by hiring a taxi. Auto rickshaws are also available in good numbers. Buses are regular inside the city but are crowded.
Hassan is a perfect place from where you can visit the famous nearby areas like Shravanabelagola and Belur. So many tourists choose Hassan for a stay. To accommodate them, there are good number of hotels inside the city. Many of them are star category hotels. Best of all in Hassan are Hotel Hassan Ashoke, Hotel Suvarna Regency, Hoysala Village resort, and Hotel Southern Star.
The city of Hassan located 194 kilometers from Bangalore is a serene town that can be accessed easily from the cities of Bangalore, Mysore, and Mangalore by road as well as rail. Apart from the various tourist attractions offered by Hassan, the place has also has a lot of shops that put up for sale a wide range of articles that pertains to the interests of the tourists. Hence, Shopping in Hassan is one of the important aspects of touring Hassan. Events :
While Shopping in Hassan, the most common shops that you would come across are the ones that sell various items that are unique to this part of the world. Some of these items have defied the barriers of time and change in the preference patterns of people all over the world. These items include the following:
The sarees and clothing materials made from pure silk have adorned women of all ages for centuries. The silk is created in the natural way by rearing silkworms in mulberry trees. This industry over the years, has flourished in leaps and bounds. A substantial portion of the annual production of silk is exported which yields valuable foreign to the economy thus helping it to grow even further.
The sandalwood available from the forests of Karnataka are popular not only in India but throughout the world due to its quality and fragrance. A variety of articles made from this rare wood are available in the Markets in Hassan.
Articles of ivory have always been the signs of pomp and sophistication among the socially affluent households. The Jungles of Karnataka being heavily infested by tuskers, in a place rich in ivory reserves. The collection of items that you will come across while shopping in Hassan is generally decorative.
Thus Shopping in Hassan, India, would certainly enrich your tastes and preferences and enable you to understand and appreciate the quality of craftsmanship and labor that has gone into the production of such articles.
During any festive season, the whole city of Hassan brightens up and there is lot of excitement in the air.
If you drop in during any of the festival time, watching or taking part in the festivities can be an interesting experience.
Apart from major Indian festivals like the Holi and Diwali which are celebrated with traditional fervour and joy, there are a few festivals which are very special to Hassan and are celebrated with atmost gaiety.
The temple of Hasanamba :The place is called Hassan after the Goddess "Hasanamba", the smiling Goddess, presiding deity of the town.The temple is opened only once in a year for about a week, during the second Ashwayuja (October) a big Jatra(shandi or fair) is held on this occasion.