Karnataka: Belur


Belur, located at an elevation of 975 meters, on the astonishing River banks of Yagachi, is a petite city which is popularly known for the excellent architectures on the walls of the temple. The form of South Indian fine arts, shown on the walls of the temples of Belur, is bit different as compared to the architectures of many other South Indian temples.

The history of this city dates back to 800 years. Hoysala kings, the skillful and expert fighters, were also fond of impressive cultures and traditions. According to the mythology, Belur was previously renowned as Velapuri.
Constructions and style of these temples were different from those of Tamilnadu. There were no tall Gopuram or prolonged ground inside the temple compound of Belur. The panache and elegance of the architectures, however, engross the hordes of the holiday makers and temple lovers. The famous and hallowed Chenna Keshava (Vishnu) temple is located amidst the 440*360 feet field. A large number of architects and artists had taken 103 long years to complete the magnificent Chenna Keshava temple. The outer surfaces of the temple walls depict excellent architectural grandeur as well. Various mythological tales, activities held in the court of the kings, pictures of the winning ceremony of the battle and stories of many more social aspects are creatively engraved on the outer surfaces of the walls. The 2 meters tall stone idol of Keshava in the form of Sri Krishna is the prime attraction of the temple and is placed on a chariot over a circular base. The quadrilateral shaped deity is residing on his own throne with conch shell, wheel, lotus and club in his hands. The deity is worshipped regularly with lot of love and respect. The idols of the deity, Vishnu, were constructed in ten different forms. Both of the wives of Vishnu, Bhudevi and Lakshmi devi are residing at both the sides of the Vishnu idol. This temple is a prime epitome of the stylish Hoysala architectures.

Soft stones were used while constructing the holy temple. The fine arts of the temple looks marvelous as the teeth of elephants and sandalwoods are imaginatively imprinted on the soft stones. Spiritual crowds can enter into the temple by three different entrances, placed in the north, each and south sides of the consecrated temple. The most important and chief doorway in the eastern side of the temple can be accessed after crossing both the flag stand and the idol of Gorur. The very old and unique front entrance was destroyed by Mohammad Bin Tughlak and the new Gopuram was reconstructed in 1397. The Gopuram had got its shape with grey colored bricks. Since 1879, the Biman of the temple is kept open for the security of the temple. Devotees believe that the deity Gorur, the carrier of the deity Vishnu, is protecting the temple. Idols of the deities, devils and animals are there at the same place at the southern entrance of the temple. Each of the 650 elephants’ idols with different and unique postures is surrounding the chief base of the temple. The architectures of the temple in the eastern side are best. 38 idols, all of which look different, are worth watching. The idol of the dancing Saraswati has three pearls which are still swinging on her forehead. The Gandharva daughter’s crown, decorated with stone ornaments is beautiful.

Watch the excellent architecture of the well adorned hair of the idol of Keshasringa. Another fine looking idol in the temple was built by blending the face of a peacock and a parakeet. 4 of these kinds of idols in the form of women would truly be treats for your eyes. Artistic creations on the marbles, architectures on the stones and fine arts on the parapet would enthrall temple lovers. Different mythological stories are imposed on the outer facade of the temple as well. The idol of Madnika was built on 30 adjoining pillars.

The Nabaranga platform of the temple is huge. This is the stage where dancers used to showcase their talents. The Narasingha column, located right in the middle of the hall, at the south- east side of Nabaranga, depicts all the fine arts which are shown on various walls of the temple in miniature form. The column in the south- west side of the Nabaranga is another magical creation of the ancient architects. The octagonal ceiling of the temple was constructed in the shape of a dome. The globe, built with stones, should be seen along with the worshipper of the temple.
According to the opinion of Ferguson, the tiny artistic touches on the temple walls can rarely be seen in any other part of the world. The praiseworthy creations of the engineers have the power to fascinate tourists. The wise and appropriate utilizations of the Gridlock, Interlock, Pin and Socket are worthy of mention as well. Every tourist who visits Karnataka should also visit Belur to watch the artistic touches and architectures of the temple.
The car festival, held during March- April, pulls huge crowds as well. Besides the most divine Chenna Keshava temple, Ganesha, Saraswati, Chennigaraya, Veeranarayana and Lakshmi- Narayana are few other notable temples of Belur.

How to reach: You can avail the conducted tour of KSTDC from Mysore to Belur, Halebid, and Shravanabelagola. Many other conducted tours, organized by other private companies, can also be availed.

Where to stay: Hotel Mayura Velapuri, Hotel Gayathri, Hotel Vishnu Prasad, Tourist Hotel, Swagath Tourist Home and Sri Raghavendra Tourist Home.
Check our hotel booking links below for photos, rates, options and online bookings.

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