Belur Temple- A 900-year-old wonder with the most appealing architecture

Belur Temple- A 900-year-old wonder with the most appealing architecture


The famous temple of Belur, also known as Chennakesava Temple is one of the oldest and grandest temples of Karnataka’s Hassan district. It was built in the early 12th century by the Hoysala ruler, Vishnuvardhana, under the guidance of the Hoysala architecture. It was built in the town of Belur which is a famous site for the capital of the Hoysala kingdom. The Hoysala kingdom ruled over this entire region for over three centuries inviting people and visitors from all across the country who flock to Chennakesava Temple. They admire the most fascinating and intricate sculptors and art along with the charm that this place holds and feel spiritually elevated.

History of Chennakesava Temple, Belur

This temple represents great opulence and was closely related to all the military achievements of King Vishnuvardhana who was commissioned in it during 1117 AD. During that time the king had fought many wars with the Western Chalukyas and had defeated the Cholas. The architects and artists who were engaged in the construction of the temple performed a brilliant job in creating new styles and designs that turned out to be the hallmark of the complex.

The Layout of the Chennakesava Temple, Belur-

Like many other landmarks of Hassan, this temple was created to become a peak representing architectural achievement by the Hoysala kingdom. As you enter the complex, a very large gate also known as Rajagopura, arches above you. The center- piece of the temple that faces towards the east direction, sits in the center and follows the orientation of the divine architectural form.

On the right part of the temple is another temple called the Kappe Channigraya along with another small-sized temple dedicated to the incarnation of Lakshmi, Goddess Sowmyanayaki, who is seen sitting slightly behind the two of them.  On the right-hand side of the temple, Chennakesava is another temple called the Ranganayaki Temple.

The temple complex is created with splendor and offers attractions such as two ornate pillars, one with a Garuda (built during the Vijaynagar period) and the other with a lamp (built during the Hoysala period).

The Architecture of Chennakesava Temple, Belur-

This temple stands tall at a height of 37 meters. The outside wall of the temple is adorned with poses of dancing women built with the finest finish. Depending upon the Hoysala blueprint, the temple was built with soapstone, featuring a detailed finish.  The temple was a very early creation of the Hoysala dynasty and its scale distinguishes it from other temples built during this period.

Art of Chennakesava Temple, Belur-                             

The beautiful pillars at the temple exhibit great finishing of the sculptures and artwork spread across the complex.  The Narasimha pillar is a very popular one located in the temple. There are a total of 48 pillars that are uniquely carved and decorated with artwork. There are four such pillars located in the center that are hand chiseled by artisans featuring celestial damsels or madanikas. These madanikas are differently posed and are very popular as they gain maximum attraction from tourists, visitors, and art enthusiasts who visit the temple.

Various people who visit the temple and wish to learn more about the details of the sculptures present in the temple can easily find many such depictions and references focusing on important events extracted from Ramayana and Mahabharata.  Many animals are also featured on the walls of the temples such as elephants, lions, and horses.

The main doorway of the mantapa features a Hoysala king slaying either a tiger or a lion. It is believed that this may be an image representing the defeat of the Cholas during that time, while the tiger being their royal emblem. Many interesting and informative sculptures are featured in the temple complex. Some of them represent Gajasurasamhara or the sculpture of Lord Shiva, Goddess Durga assassinating the Mahishasura, and Sculptures of Ravana, and many such interesting ones. There are a few mini shrines placed right at the entrance of the temple as well. Another very engaging feature here is that many artists have left their signatures, giving an insight into the culture and lives during the Hoysala period.

Belur Temple- a 900-year-old wonder-

The Chennakesava Temple at Belur is popular for its compelling scale of architecture and the very thought-provoking cultural and innovative styles that are spread across the temple and its complex. The entire state of Karnataka was the region that was denoted under the Hoysala dynasty.

Recently this 900 year old temple celebrated its existence with the most fascinating thought that will be remembered in the history of Karnataka state. It rests on the banks of the River Yagachi, which is a central attraction and reminds the visitors about how this temple demonstrated a timeless legacy of South India’s most powerful kingdom.

How to Reach Chennakesava Temple, Belur-

All transit routes from Belur need to go via the town, as the most popular temple is located at this site. Other major urban areas surround the temple including Hassan city.

By Road-

Bangalore is 225 km away from Belur via the route NH75. Mysore is 155 km away from Belur via SH 57 route. Mangalore is 153 km away from Belur via NH73 route. Regular buses travel between these routes and are very easily available helping travelers reach their destination.

By Rail-

The nearest railway station from Belur is in Chikkamagaluru which is at a distance of 22 km. Also. Hassan railway station is also situated near Belur, almost 32 km away. Buses are available between these routes.

By Air-

The Mangalore airport is situated almost 130 km from Belur and the Bangalore airport is almost 222 km away from Belur. The best way to travel to and from the airports is by road.

Important Information about the Temple-

  • Timings– 7 am to 8 pm
  • Visit Duration– 2 hours
  • Best Time to Visit – November to February
  • Entry Fee– NA
  • Photography– Allowed
  • Address of the Temple– Hassan District, Belur- 573115


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