BELUR TOURISM | TOURIST PLACES TO VISIT & TEMPLES IN BELURU
#20 of 33 Places to visit in Karnataka
Ideal Trip Duration: 2-3 Hours
Nearest City to Belur: Bangalore (217 Kms), Mysore (154 Kms)
Best Time to Visit Belur: October to March
Peak Season: October to March
At a distance of 25 km from Chikmagalur, 40 km from Hassan, 154 km from Mysore, 165 km from Mangalore, and 217 km from Bangalore, Belur is a historical temple town situated in the Hassan district of Karnataka. It is one of the best heritage sites in Karnataka, and among the most famous places to visit near Mangalore.
Belur is one of the well-known Karnataka tourist places as it is home to the renowned Hoysala Temple dedicated to Lord Chennakesava. It is the best of three Hoysala temples nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Sites (the other two being the temples at Halebid & Somnathpur). The Hoysala temples are known for minute & intricate carvings and sculptures with metal-like polishing. Sri Chennakesava Temple is one of the must-visit places as part of Belur tour packages.
Among the most popular tourist places to visit near Bangalore, Belur was the early capital of the powerful Hoysala Empire on the banks of River Yagachi. As per inscriptions found here, Belur was formerly called Velapuri. Hoysalas were initially under the control of Chalukyas and build their kingdom after the fall of Chalukyas. The Hoysala dynasty originally had their capital at Halebid where they ruled for over 150 years. However, it was invaded by Malik Kafur in the 14th century, plundered to poverty and ruins. Thus, the Hoysalas shifted their seat of power to Belur.
Belur can also be visited along with Chikmagalur packages. The Chennakesava temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture. It was built by King Vishnuvardhana to celebrate his victory over the Cholas at Talakad in 1117 CE. It took 103 years to complete the temple and Vishnuvardhana's grandson Veera Ballala II completed the task. Standing on a star-shaped platform, the temple has three doorways. There are two more shrines for Soumyanayaki and Ranganayaki, consorts of Sri Chennakesava. There is a Pushkarni or stepped well to the right side of the main entrance. The Dravida style raja gopuram at the entrance was a later addition by the Vijayanagar kings.
The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes with no portion left blank. There are about 48 pillars of various sizes, shapes, and designs, bearing testimony to remarkable artistry. Narasimha Pillar is an example of the fine artwork done by Hoysala artists. The main highlight of the temple is Darpana Sundari or The lady with the mirror. There are four well-known bracket figures on the ornate ceiling that are inspired by Shantaladevi's well-endowed beauty. Visitors can see several carvings depicting episodes of Mahabharata, Ramayana, and the Upanishads. Sculptures of birds and animals also can be seen. The beautiful sculpture of Shantaladevi is placed on the circular platform in front of the shrine. It is unique for its hollow and movable jewellery. Yagachi Dam, Halebidu, and Narasimha Pillar are the other places to visit in Belur.
Mangalore Airport is the nearest airport, which is 174 km from Belur. The nearest Railway Station is at Hassan, which is about 24 km from Belur. It has trains from Dharwar, Cannanore, Bangalore, Mysore, Shimoga, and Arsikere. Hassan is the base station to travel to Belur and there are frequent buses between Hassan & Belur.
Hoysala Mahotsava, a dance festival held in the temples of Belur and Halebid is celebrated in March. It is one of the important festivals in Belur and Halebid. This place can be visited throughout the year.
Temple Timings: 9 AM to 6 PM.