Chennakeshava Temple, Belur

Important information

  • Location: Temple Rd, Belur, Karnataka 573115.
  • Festivals: Rathotsava For Other Festival Detail Click here
  • Main Deity: Lord Vishnu For Other Deity Detail Click here
  • Languages: English & Hindi
  • Darshan Timings: 07:00 AM To 08:00 PM
  • Best Season To Visit: November to February
  • Contact Number:+918177222218
  • How To Reach

Chennakeshava Temple Belur is located on the banks of river Yagachi and it is 38 km away from Hassan. Chennakeshava Temple is a world-famous tourist destination. Belur was the erstwhile capital of the Hoysalas and was referred to as Velapur, Velur, and Belahur at different points in legends. The town is renowned for its Chennakeshava temple, one of the finest examples of Hoysala workmanship. The temple was consecrated by the famous Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana to mark his victories in 1116 AD against the Cholas and called the Vijaya Narayana.

History

Belur the Quaint little town set elegantly on the banks of river Yagachi amidst rich surroundings was earlier Known as Velapuri. It was chosen as the capital of the Hoysalas, after the sacking and destruction of their capital at Dwarasamudra (Halebid), by the Delhi Sultans. The Hoysalas ruled this region between the 44th and 13th centuries.

They were wonderful patrons of art and architecture and built a variety of amazing shrines during their 300 years Regin. The temples and monuments at Belur are certainly the best Hoysala creations, showcasing their incredible architecture and sculptures incomplete magnificence Belur was extremely revered for its magnificent shrines and became Known as “modern Vaikuntha (heaven) of the earth”.

The Hoysala temples are identified by a common star-designed ground plan and are normally ste on a platform. They are compact, squat structures and are more human in scale as compared to other soaring shrines of the south. Ornately sculpted shrines suggest the music and dance were extremely regarded by the Hoysalas and were used to reveal spiritual eagerness.

The temples at Belur are sculpted out of soapstone (steatite), quarried from Tumkur, About 200 Kms away. This stone is incredibly simple to sculpt, however, attains iron-like fitness when exposed to the environment. To maintain the shine of the temple, the stone is treated with a chemical wash and then wax polished once in 10 years.

Today this little town indulging in the warmth of its elegant plant and wonderful past is considered “among the jewels” of South Indian architecture. Its temple has prospered repositories of ancient Hindu culture and a should-visit site on every traveler’s temple itinerary.

The Legend Of Lord Chennakeshava

King Vishnuvardhana is believed to have dreamt about Lord Keshava during his night stay at the Baba Budan forest and chose to build the Channa Keshava temple at Belur. He unknowingly separated the lord from his consort living on the Baba Budan Hill. It is believed that the lord routinely goes to the hills for satisfying his consort. Therefore the local cobbler community presents a set of fresh sandals daily at the altar of the shrine. Locals believe that the sandals get vanished after being presented to the Lord.

Importance

In the middle of the courtyard of the temple lies a 42m high lamp post or a pillar standing on a star-shaped construction. The intriguing thing about this pillar is that it stands on its own without any foundation and is called a gravity pillar.

Architecture

The Hoysalas used soft soapstone for their structures as they were discovered ideal for intricate carvings. Confined by a Prakara with a Gopurabuilt in the Vijayanagar design, the temple stands on a platform or Jagati and appears like a big casket. The great workmanship and ability noticeable in this work of art are absolutely breathtaking.

The Sculptural Extravaganza

The Chennakesava temple is a great example of an outstanding quality masterpiece in stone. There are more than 80 Madanika sculptures in the temple, dancing, hunting, standing under canopies of trees, and so on. The 4 Madanika figures (striking attractive dancing positions) on the incredibly engraved columns of Navaranga are special designs of Hoysala workmanship.

The Garbhagriha is an outstanding fit and its zigzag walls make the figures of 24 forms of Vishnu look several at various times of the day due to light. The temple was constructed by master craftsmen– Dasoja and Chavana, a father and son duo, coming from Balliganve, a center of Kalyana Chalukya art in Shimoga district. It is believed that Shantaladevi, the accomplished queen of King Vishnuvardhana is the design for among the sculptures in the Vavaranga– Darpana Sundari.

This artwork alone represents the charm of the magnificent temple. The temples of Kappe Chennigaraya, Soumyanayaki, Andal, and other Vaishnava manifestations surround this main temple. Belur also has a samadhi considered to be of Raghavanka, the celebrated Kannada poet of the 13th century.

Idol

The mandapa on the west side leads to the Garbhagriha or the inner sanctum. It enshrines the magnificently ornamented 6ft high idol of Lord Vishnu in his Chaturbhuj or four-armed mudra with a halo, standing on a 3 feet pedestal. The upper 2 hands hold the discus and the conch whereas the lower 2 hands hold the lotus and the mace. The halo has cyclical carvings of the 10 avatars or forms of Lord Vishnu.

It is flanked by idols of his consorts- Sridevi and Bhudevi. The entrance of the inner sanctum is embellished with Makara Torana and filigree works. There is a figure of Lord Vishnu and Devi Lakshmi on the top of the entrance. On both sides of the door are the 2 Dwarapalas– Jay and Vijay, highly embellished and sculpt

Festivals

Yearly Rathotsava is the main festival celebrated in Belur in the month of March-April, 12 days after Ugadi or Kannadiga New Year. When the Utsava Murti is drawn on a huge wood chariot, the celebration is commemorated for 2 days. Covering the eastern part of the temple on the first day. And other parts of the temple are covered on the 2nd day. A fair or Jaatre is held during the yearly festival that lasts for 10 days.

Nearby Attractions

  • Kappe Chennigaraya Temple
  • Veera Narayana Temple
  • Saumyanaki Temple
  • Ranganayaki Temple (Andal Shrine)
  • Vasudev Sarovar

How to Reach

  • By Air: Hassan does not have any airport and the nearby airport is Bangalore from where one can take flights to other main destinations in India and abroad.
  • By Train: Hassan is well connected by rail to Bangalore, Mysore, Hubli, Shimoga and Mangalore.
  • By Road: The location is about 38 Km from Hassan. Regular Bus services and tourist taxies are available from Hassan.

Temple Timings

Darshan Timing

Morning to Afternoon07:30 AM to 01:00 PM
Afternoon to Evening02:30 PM to 07:30 PM
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