Belur is a small town
in the Hassan district in Karnataka with a land area of 2.85
square kilometers. Belur used to be the capital of the Hoysalas
until the capital was shifted to Halebid. Belur is renowned for
its Chennakesava Temple complex. The maximum number of temples
in Belur and Halebid were constructed during the reign of the
fifth king of the Hoysala dynasty, Bittadeva, who was later
rechristened as Vishnuvardhana.
Vishnuvardhana commissioned the construction of the Chennakesava
temple in Belur to commemorate his grand triumph over the
Cholas. It took 103 long years to complete the temple which was
finally done in 1116. The temple derives its name from Keshava ,
the long haired form of Lord Krishna. The temple is an instance
of the Hoysala architecture. Greenish-gray chlorite has been
used in the construction of the temple with is graced with
exquisite sculptures. Some of the sculptures are inspired by
Ramayana and Mahabharata. Adjacent to the chief shrine is a
shrine commemorated to the Kappe Chenning Raya .
There is also a shrine
dedicated to Somanayaki . This shrine stands out from the rest
because of its tower or the vimana'. Behind the main temple
there is yet another temple that has Goddess Lakshmi as then
presiding deity. The exquisite craftsmanship of the period is
testified by the carvings of elephants, lions, horses, episodes
from the Indian mythological epics, and sensuous dancers called
the Shilabalikas that are used to adorn the temple. One of the
primary attractions of the Belur temple is Darpana Sundari or
the Lady with the mirror carved on walls.
How to Reach Belur
The nearest airport to Belur is in Bangalore.
By Rail The railway terminal at Hassan is about 40 kms away
By Road There are daily buses that ply to Belur from
Bangalore, Halebid, Hassan, Hospet, Mangalore and Mysore.
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