The main attraction in Belur is the Chennakeshava temple complex which contains the Chennakesava Temple (dedicated to Chennakeshava, meaning handsome Vishnu) as the centre piece, surrounded by the Kappe Chennigraya temple built by Shantaladevi, queen of king Vishnuvardhana. It is said that Shantaladevi herself danced in front of the main shrine during its installation and her dance inspired the poses of the figurines on the temple walls.
There are two more shrines here that are still in use by devotees and there is a Pushkarni or stepped well to the right side of the main entrance. The Dravida style rayagopuram at the entrance which was a later addition by the Vijayanagar kings, who considered this deity as one of their Kuladevata or family god.
The temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture. It was built by king Vishnuvardhana in commemoration of his victory over the Cholas at Talakad in 1117 CE. Legend has it that it took 103 years to complete and Vishnuvardhana's grandson Veera Ballala II completed the task. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes with no portion left blank. The intricate workmanship includes elephants, lions, horses, episodes from the Indian mythological epics, and sensuous dancers (Shilabalikas). Inside the temple are a number of ornate pillars. Darpana Sundari (Lady with the mirror) carved on walls of Belur Temple is one of major attractions in the complex.
The Chennakesava Temple is a holy house for sculptures showcasing innumerable variety of ornaments, the doorways, the ceilings, the birds, the animals, dancers and other figures are fully decorated as if they are full of life and vigour with variety of actions and movements. The doorways are guarded on either side by the gorgeously decorated dvarapalaka
Main Attraction : The finest art of Hoysalas is the main attraction In Belur , even the smallest detail is clearly visible on the Sculptures. Thre shrines of Kappe Chenniga Andal, Saumya Nayaki etcare classic example of Hoysala art.
Amazing Fact : It is believed that Shantaladevi (Queen of King Visnuvardhana) herself danced in front of the main shrine during its installation and her dance inspired the poses of the figurines on the temple walls.
Location : Hassan district , Karnataka
Timings : 7 :30 AM - 8 :30 PM
Images from Belur