Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples

Tripoto
18th Feb 2018

Sri Chennakesava Temple, Belur

Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 1/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
The Darbar of King Vishnuvardhana

"Don't you wish you could take a single childhood memory and blow it up into a bubble and live inside it forever?" Sarah Addison Allen in Lost Lake.

This is my second visit to Belur. Belur is a small town in Hasan district of Karnataka, one of the districts in south of India.Belur is situated on either sides of the river Yagachi which is a tributary of river Hemavati. Belur is located at 13.7 degrees North 75.87 degrees East. It has an average elevation of 962 meters (3156 feet). Belur is 224 kms away from Bengaluru (the capital city of Karnataka State.

Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 2/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Magnificient and intricately carved door to the sanctum sanctorum. The Makara (crocodile) festoon. Sri Chennakeshava Temple, Belur.

What attracts me to this temple is the greatness of the Hoysala Kings and the brilliant craftsmen/sculptors who have left behind such legacy which excels any man made monument in the world. I bring you the exclusive photographs I shot of this temple during my recent visit.

Who are these Hoysala Kings?

Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 3/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
The Royal symbol of the Hoysala Dynasty

The Hoysala Dynasty ruled between 970 A.D. to 1343 A.D.

The Royal Symbol of the Hoyasalas has a great significance to the founding of the Kingdom. I was told about a popular folklore on how the name and kingdom was founded. In a near by village called 'Soseyuru' (daughter-in-law's village) there lived a Jain Monk by name Sri Sudattamuni. One day while teaching the students, a tiger from the nearby forest attacked the School. while everyone present were shocked, one young boy named Sala rushed to save his teacher. The teacher quickly threw a long stick at Sala and saying 'Poy-Sala' (hit it Sala). Sala fought the tiger and killed it. Sala grew up to become a chieftain and later formed the monarchy which over the year became 'Hoysala.

The most famous and efficient among the Kings who ruled the Hoysala Kingdom was Bittideva also known as Vishnuvardhana (1108 A.D - 1152A.D). The king respected the local customs, traditions, judiciary, religion, dance, music, fine arts and architecture. During his reign he constructed more than 100 temples all over the State.

I travelled by road in a car from Bangalore. The wide roads made my travel covering the distance of 224 kms so easy. Belur is well connected by road and rail. The nearest airports are in Bengaluru and Mangalore. The UNESCO declared heritage temples of Belur attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world.

Belur - The Indian Renaissance

The world famous Sri Chennakeshava Temple was built by the King Vishnuvardhana with the main presiding deity Sri Channakeshava (Vishnu) was consecrated on the 20th day of March 1117 A.D. Even today the deity is worshiped with the same rituals as it was done in 1117.

Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 4/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 5/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 6/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 7/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 8/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
the deity is taken around the Temple , a ritual which is followed even today.

Every space is carved

Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 9/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
The outer wall of the temple. there are about 650 elephants and not one is similar to the other.

The Hoysala architecture is very unique in its presentation. noteworthy among the sculptures are the female and male dancers. There are 42 bracket figures in this temple. These figures carved out of slate stone which is soft in nature was easy to cut and polish.

Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 10/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
The Lady with a mirror.

Belur - The Jewellery Box of the World

Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 11/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi

Before I dwell in detail about the bracket figures of the dancers, i would like to mention here that the exquisite detail of the ornaments; their design is like holding a mirror to the design world. Even today, I am told the designs of the jewellery is copied. The bangles freely move on the wrist and the necklaces appear that they are freely dangling round the slim necks of these dancers. I have not seen such work any where in the world.

Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 12/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 13/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi

A word about the master sculptors

These two master sculptors Jakanacharya and his son Dakanacharya. The imagination and creativity of these two created magnificent work of art.

Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 14/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Lady with a parrot
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 15/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Lady with the betel leaves
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 16/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Lady provoked by the monkey
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 17/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 18/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Picture A. Lady with betel leaves
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 19/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Picture B. The parrot on the lady with betel leaves
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 20/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
The sculptor's signature in Kannada language
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 21/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Monkey provoking the Lady
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 22/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
The lady with a bow.
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 23/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
The servant with a dog on leash
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 24/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
The most beautiful Mohini in a dancing posture
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 25/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Dancing lady with four of her musicians
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 26/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Dancing lady (detail)
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 27/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Lady dressing her hair
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 28/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Lady dressing her hair(detail)
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 29/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
(detail)
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 30/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
the image is life like
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 31/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Tribhanga Nritya. Lady with a drum called damuru.
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 32/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Even the private lives are well captured
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 33/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Lady with a dholl.
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 34/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
detail
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 35/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 36/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 37/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 38/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 39/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 40/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 41/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 42/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 43/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 44/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 45/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 46/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 47/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 48/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 49/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 50/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 51/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi

More pictures of the temple

Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 52/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 53/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 54/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 55/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 56/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 57/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 58/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi
Photo of Belur - The Glory of Hoysala Temples 59/59 by Prasad Siddhanthi

Trivia:

Best time to visit Belur: April - October

Nearest Airport: Bangalore and Mangalore

Accommodation: Decent accommodation is available in Belur between INR 500 - 2000. a night stay is suggested for detailed visit to the temple the next day early morning. The temple opens its doors by the sunrise.

Banks and ATM available

Post Office available

Food: Local staple food rice, vegetables, pulses, curd and Milk

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