Chennakesava Temple / Belur Temple
At a distance of 0.5 km from Belur Bus Station, Sri Chennakesava Temple is an ancient temple situated at Belur, Karnataka. The temple is listed as a UNESCO World heritage Site and is one of the must-visit places as part of Belur Tour Packages.
Also referred to as Kesava or Vijayanarayana Temple of Belur, Chennakesava Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple was commissioned by King Vishnuvardhana of the Hoysala dynasty in 1117 CE, on the banks of the Yagachi River in Belur, an early Hoysala Empire capital. The temple was built over three generations and took 103 years to complete. It was repeatedly damaged and plundered during wars, repeatedly rebuilt and repaired over its history.
Among the famous places to visit in Belur, the temple is very famous for extensive carvings, stone sculptures, artwork and its unique architecture. Built with soapstone, the Chennakeshava complex at Belur consists of several Hindu temples and minor shrines inside a walled compound. The compound is entered from the east through a Gopuram. The main temple sits in the center, facing the east - a classic example of South Indian temple architecture. A six feet tall idol of Lord Vishnu is placed in the sanctum sanctorum of the Kesava temple.
The pillars of the temple exhibit some of the best details and finishing of sculpture and artwork in the entire complex. The Narasimha pillar is one of the most popular of these temple pillars. There are a total of 48 pillars, all uniquely carved and decorated. The four central pillars were hand chiselled by artisans and feature madanikas or celestial damsels. The madanikas are in different poses and some of the popular ones which gain the attraction of tourists and art enthusiasts include the lady with a parrot and the huntress.
The temple features a beautiful stepwell (Pushkarani), right near the entrance. This well was used in the olden days for taking a bath before offering prayers and other rituals, as was customary at the time. A 42-meter high pillar called the Gravity Pillar has also been installed in the middle of the courtyard.
Timings - 7.30 AM to 6.30 PM,
Entry Fee: Free, Rs. 30 for Camera & Rs. 50 for Car Parking