There is a day-trip that we often take guests on that we call the Belur Trip. It is a three-stop journey, visiting the ancient soapstone carved temples at Belur and Halebidu, and the Jain temple and pilgrimage destination of Shravenabelagola. So, you see, it would be a bit of a mouthful to call it anything other than the Belur Trip.
I’ve been on this trip at least a complete handful of times, yet the picture-taking never gets old for me. There are a myriad of details to get caught up in, especially at Belur and Halebidu. Soapstone can be carved with such precision that a whole epic event can be captured in a mere corner of the temple. It is nice to have JP as a tour guide because his brain is a vault for these minute sorts of details, and he finds immense pleasure in pointing out all the cool stuff that I have forgotten since my last visit. He is a lovely guide, and I usually understand his accent better.
Shrevenabelagola is a steep hike up a mountainside. At the top you can see both the sweeping coconut groves of the surrounding area, and the enormous idol of a Jain saint named Gomateshwara. He is naked (as very ascetic Jains would not wear clothes because of their belief that the sky is their clothing) so, for the sake of your sensibilities, I won’t show a picture here. I find this to be a very serene and pretty place to visit.
My sister, Amy, and her husband, Kyle just spent two weeks with us at the end of February, and it was a delight to show them around some of our favorite haunts, including the Belur Trip.