BELUR TOURISM GUIDE:
Location: 34 kms from Hassan, Karnataka
Famous as: Dakshina Varanasi
Main attractions: Chennakesava Temple
Built By: Vishnuvardhan in 1117 A.D.
Southern Banaras Belur, the temple town is located 34 kms from Hassan. Famous for its exquisite temple, Belur is known as the Dakshina Varanasi or Southern Banaras.
The serenity of Belur is attributed to the celebrated Chennakesava Temple built by the Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana in 1117 A.D to commemorate his conversion from Jainism to Vaishnavism.
The main structure of the temple, which is star-shaped, is a homogenous architectural unit on a raised platform. Inside, even in the darkness, you can see the hand-lathe turned shining pillars, each unique in its own splendour.
Best Places to Visit in Belur:
Chennakesava Temple: The ornamental gopuram of the Chennakesava Temple appears unexpectedly surround a bend. Hawkers sell antique jewelry. In a corner of the vast courtyard are tossed a golden horse and a temple chariot.
The winged figure of Garuda, Lord Vishnu’s carrier, stands at the entrance, facing the temple palms touching in homage. Everything is carved in a gleaming, polished black stone, which looks like metal.
The breathtaking temple reigns on a star-shaped pedestal. Every possible surface is covered with the most perfectly proportioned figures.
Pillars: Inside, in the startling darkness gleam the beautiful hand lathe-turned rounded pillars, each unique in its filigreed splendour.
The Narasimha Pillar once revolved on its ball bearings. A small space has been left on it to be sculpted by anyone who has the talent. It remains untouched.
Madanikas (Bracket Figures): The four famous bracket figures on the ornate ceiling have been inspired by Shantala Devi’s voluptuous beauty. One sculptured beauty communicates with a pet parrot whose tail is peacock-like while another wrings water from her long hair and one can see the drops collected on hair-ends.
The 650 elephants charging on the frieze around the walls outside are all different from each other. The 38 Bracket figures on the walls are beautiful, pensive, playful and amorous women, lifting the temple to unprecedented heights of excellence.
Shantala Devi: On the smooth circular platform in front of the shrine, stands the sculpture of the beautiful Shantala Devi, queen of King Vishnuvardhana. The jewelry is hollow and movable.
The delicacy and attention to the tiniest details here are incredible. Each feature, bangle, a strand of hair is carved with care.
GENERAL TRAVEL INFORMATION ABOUT BELUR
Best Hotels in Belur
Sri Raghavendra Tourist Home, Near Channakeshava Temple, Belur.
Sri Annapoorna Lodge, Temple Road.
Sri Vishnu Lodge, Main Road.
Sri Gayathri Bhawan, Main Road.
Travellers Bungalow, P.W.D., Belur.
Hotel Mayura Velapuri, KSTDC, Belur.
How to reach Belur
Air: Bangalore is the nearest airport.
Rail: Hassan is the nearest rail head.
Road: The place is connected with Hassan (34 kms), Mysore (149 kms), Bangalore (222 kms).