Belur Chennakesava Temple

Belur is a famous temple town in Hassan District of Karnataka state, India. The most famous Belur temple is the Chennakesava Temple. Belur is known as “Dakshina Varanasi”, which means “Varanasi of the South”.

Belur Chennakesava Temple. [ Photo Source : Creative commons. By Pavithrah (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons. ]

Belur city is situated on the banks of Yagachi river. Hoysala temple complex is the main tourist site in Belur. Chennakesava Temple was earlier known as Vijayanarayan Temple.

Chennakesava temple is the best example for Hoysala workmanship, which was constructed using soft soap-stone. The Dravidan style “Gopuram” (dome) was later added by the kings of Vijayanagar empire.

Belur was the capital of Hoysala Dynasty. Consecrated in the year 1116 A.D. by the then emperor Vishnuvardhana of Hoysala Dynasty to commemorate his victory over the Chola Kings (another version is to commemorate his conversion from Jainism to Vaishnavism), Chennakesava temple construction took 103 years and was completed by Veera Ballala II, grandson of Vishnuvardhana. Lord Chennakeshava (Lord Vishnu) is the main deity here.

“Darpana Sundari”, i.e. Carved ‘Lady with the mirror’ is one of major attractions in Chennakesava temple. ‘Lady with the parrot’ is another excellent carving. There are lots of other carvings which includes scenes from the Hindu epics, dance scenes and animals like elephants (650 elephants in total; each one different!), horses, lions, etc. There are 42 Madanikas (dancing woman’s sculptures), all in different postures! This is just the tip of the ice-burg. Belur Chennakesava Temple is one of the best temples known for its carvings. You need to see the Chennakesava Temple to to appreciate its beauty.

How Do I Go to Belur Chennakesava Temple?

Hassan is at around 35 kilometers distance from Belur temple. The nearest railway station is also the one at Hassan. The railway station code for Hassan is “HAS”.

Hassan is well connected by roads. National Highways 48 (Mangalore to Bangalore) passes through Hassan.

Belur is at a distance of around 220 kilometers from the state capital city, Bangaluru (Bangalore), which has the nearest airport to Belur.