Belur: Chennakeshava temple, Hoysala workmanship at its best!

I have now been living in Bangalore for almost 4 years and I love the city apart from the pollution and congestion, but one of the things that I really love is the beautiful places around that I can go and visit and experience over a weekend to satiate my travel appetite.

One such weekend journey took me to the majestic temple of Chennakeshava in Belur. Belur is located in the Hassan district of Karnataka and is at a distance of about 221 Km from Bangaloreand the journey takes about 4 hours. If you are travelling to Chikamglur it is in the way and you can visit the temple and then reach Chikmaglur.  The roads are in fairly good condition and during monsoons its a spectacular drive. Usually people visit both Belur and halabeedu together, for they both have the beautiful temples of hoysala times but since I didn’t have that much time, I only visited the temple of Belur.

About the channakeshava temple:

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Entrance Gate, Chennakeshava temple, Belur

So a bit of history about the channakeshava temple, which has now completed 900 years of existence, it is considered to be the first temple of Hoysala style and is dedicated to lord vijaynarayana one of the twenty four incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Chennakeshava literally translates to handsome Kesava or handsome lord vishnu. It is currently being proposed by UNESCO as a world heritage site, which I believe it truly is.

The style of architecture is known as Karnata Dravida, a unique expression of Hindu temple architecture distinguished by exacting attention to detail and exceptionally skilled craftsmanship.

Both the interior and the exterior of the temple have intricate carvings and figure which are connected with Indian mythology and depict stories from the same.

There are so many things to see and notice around the temple that I think it will need my more visits to fully comprehend the entire beauty and story of the temple.

5 Things that makes the temple majestic:

1.The gravity pillar  

The 42 feet high pillar is carved out of a single rock and the amazing thing is that pillar has no base!!! and is standing on a platform and has been standing since 1414!! That really made my jaw drop and also filled me with admiration for architectural masters of that era.

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Gravity Pillar, Chennakeshava Temple, Belur

 

2. The beautiful intricate carvings:  

The temple has beautiful carvings that adorn the entire structure and communicate stories and are a pleasure to see and experience, giving a window to the rich culture of the period.                                                                               

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Outside facade, Chennakeshava temple, Belur

3. The stones tell the stories of mythology

The stone carvings tell many stories of mythology from arjuna the pandava prince rescuing the cows of virat, a Mahabharata tale and many more from Lord shiva to the ten headed king Ravana, there are interesting tales depicted through figures all through the temple which I was completely fascinated by.

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Mythological carvings on the outside facade of Chennakeshava temple, Belur
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Beautiful mythological carvings at Chennakeshava temple, Belur

4. The beautiful vast spaces in between the structure

There are vast spaces between the structures that make you feel like walking in a different era, go and explore and create meanings with these beautiful spaces.

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The beautiful open spaces inside the Chennakeshava temple, Belur, Karnataka, India

5. The mini structures that flank the main temple

Apart from just the main temple there are beautiful structures to explore alongside it and that just adds to the whole experience. The structures have their own unique carvings and meaning.

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Structures flanking, Chennakeshava temple, Belur
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View from inside one of the structures in Chennakeshava temple, Belur

Some travelling info:

  1. From Bangalore its an easy and beautiful drive which takes about 4-5 hours, take the Bangalore-Mangalore route.
  2. The temple is in between Bangalore-Chikmaglur route and can be an interesting stop before you reach your Home stay.
  3. From any other city, land in Bangalore and Mysore and continue the journey from there
  4. Best seasons to visit our monsoons from June-October, when the weather is pleasant

If you are an enthusiast about ruins and heritage structures as I am, you will really love the beauty and detailing of the place, one of the truly remarkable architecture of 10th century.

 

 

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Traveller, wanderer and a poet at heart..

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