the temple town, of Karnataka is located 34 kms from Hassan. Famous
for its exquisite temple, Belur is known as the Dakshina Varanasi
or Southern Banaras. The 12th century Hoysalas who ruled from here
had a culturally thriving reign. The serenity of Belur is attributed
to the celebrated Chennakesava Temple built by the Hoysala King
Vishnuvardhana in 1117 A.D to commemorate his conversion from Jainism
The ornamental gopuram of the Chennakesava Temple appears unexpectedly
surround a bend. The main structure of the temple, which is star-shaped,
is a homogenous architectural unit on a raised platform. Inside,
even in the darkness, you can see the hand-lathe turned shining
pillars, each unique in its own splendour.
In a corner of the vast courtyard are tossed a golden horse and
a temple chariot. The winged figure of Garuda, Lord Vishnu's carrier,
stands at the entrance, facing the temple palms touching in homage.
Everything is carved in a gleaming, polished black stone, which
looks like metal. The breathtaking temple reigns on a star-shaped
pedestal. Every possible surface is covered with the most perfectly
Inside, in the startling darkness gleam the beautiful handlathe-turned
rounded pillars, each unique in its filigreed splendour. The Narasimha
Pillar once revolved on its ball bearings. A small space has been
left on it to be sculpted by anyone who has the talent. It remains
The four famous bracket figures on the ornate ceiling have been
inspired by Shantala Devi's voluptuous beauty. One sculptured beauty
communicates with a pet parrot whose tail is peacock-like while
another wrings water from her long hair and one can see the drops
collected on hair-ends. The 650 elephants charging on the frieze
around the walls outside are all different from each other. The
38 Bracket figures on the walls are beautiful, pensive, playful
and amorous women, lifting the temple to unprecedented heights of
On the smooth circular platform in front of the shrine, stands the
sculpture of the beautiful Shantala Devi, queen of King Vishnuvardhana.
The jewellery is hollow and movable. The delicacy and attention
to the tiniest details here are incredible. Each feature, bangle,
strand of hair is carved with care.
How to get there ?
- Air - Bangalore is the nearest airport.
- Rail - Hassan is the nearest rail head.
- Road - The place is connected with Hassan (34 kms), Mysore (149
kms), Bangalore (222 kms).
General Information & Accomdation info on Belur city of Karnataka