Around Bangalore

Trip to Belur from Bangalore: Slice of historical architecture from my lens

12:50 PM

While on the trip to Chikmagalur from Bangalore, we came to know about a very famous historical architecture temple from Hoysala times (Chennakeshava) in Belur. This is on the way to Chikmagalur and so we decided to take this slight de-tour and spend a few hours here.
My Chikmagalur blog link.
Lion Emblem of the Hoysala times - Symbol of war at Belur Temple
This is around 220 Kms from Bangalore and 30Kms from Chikmagalur. Many people plan day-trips to this temple and believe me, it is totally worth it.

About this place: 
Chennakeshava (means Handsome Keshava) is a Vishnu temple which was build during Hoysala dynasty. It has a huge entrance but looks like a hidden gem in the middle of this small town. When we were driving, Google maps was showing 300 meters ahead, but there was no sign of a marvelous temple, so we were thinking if we are in the right direction, but suddenly you take a turn and its right there - its beautiful.
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Beautiful facade of this place from outside
It was built in 1117AD by King Vishnuvardhana and it seems this place was build to celebrate their military victory. You could find a lot of art-work covering their National emblem, Horses, Lions and war symbols. There is a main temple of Lord Vishnu and other small side temples of other deities. The main temple has 48 pillars and each pillar is unique in design and art.
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These 48 pillars once rotated on their axis
It is said that these pillars had bearings earlier and they could be rotated - later these were removed and now they are steady. It is surprising as these are really heavy stone pillars, how could they be rotated. As we revolved around the temple, we realized each wall said something in itself. There were many stories written in those stone art which gives a glimpse of our mythological stories and the age-old generations. Inside the roof and pillar are very ornate along with Lord Vishnu. They charge a ticket of Rs.30/- for Camera, and they will also switch on the halogen lamp inside for you to have a look at the intricately designed roof.
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Roof of the Shrine
Outside the temple, each wall has a story to tell.. going around looking at those stone sculptures and figuring out the story which fascinated the artists of that era is indeed a magical experience.

We spent a good 2 hours at this place absorbing the ambiance and immersing ourselves into the fragrance of art and historical culture. We saw many families were actually doing a outing/picnic with food prepared from their homes and enjoying the open spaces. Lots of open space with bright sunshine and breeze makes this place a refreshing experience. 
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As soon as we entered, we were approached by the guides - these are registered guides from Karnataka state and their rates are fixed - I think it was around Rs.500/- He takes you for a entire tour to this place. We did not hire a guide, as we were travelling with a Toddler who would not let us listen to any gyan and also we wanted to rather experience the place at our own pace. 
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Main Deity : Inner entrance is protected by Jaya and Vijaya as Dwarpalikas
How to Go:
We drove our Honda Amaze from Bangalore to Belur and then to Chikmagalur trip. We left at 6AM in the morning from our apartment at Whitefield and reached Belur at around 11.00AM -> we also took a half hour breakfast break in between.
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Other temples on the side of the Shrine
Route :
Bangalore Whitefield ->Yashwantpur -> Tumkur Road -> Neelamangala ->Hassan -> Belur 

The road is really smooth, with 4 Lane and 6 lane highways, so the vehicle really runs at good speed, only stopping for the various Toll Booths on the way which charge around 20-30 Rs per toll.

Total Distance between Bangalore to Belur temple is around 220 Kms.

Overall Experience : Magical. This inspires me to plan my next trip to Helibidu which has even more ornate architecture and sculptures and can be covered in a day trip.
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Total of 650 elephant sculptures at the base of the Shrine
The Base is layered with 3 Layers - Elephants (symbolizing Strength and Stability), Lions (symbolizing Courage) and Horses (symbolizing speed).

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Some Pictures:

Narasimha (Incarnation of Vishnu) in a scene where he takes the form of Half Lion, Half Man and kills Hirnakashyap and saves Prahalad
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When Lord Narsimha kills Hiranyakashyap (Half Lion Half Man incarnation of Vishnu)

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Varaha - The Boar incarnation of Lord Vishnu when he saved the Earth from the bottom of Patal lok - He carried the earth between his teeth
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Lord Brahma with its 4 Heads
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Shiva dancing on a demon elephant representing illusion
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7 comments

  1. Just love these figures sculpted everywhere... What a fantastic culture of art and architecture we have had...

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  2. I guess u mean, reached belur at 11 am

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  3. Yes, such a beautiful temple. Nice pics. Our visit to the temple http://xplorewithus.blogspot.in/2016/02/hoysala-temples-7-chennakesava-temple.html

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  4. Beautiful pictures to relive moments of being in Belur.

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  5. Those sculptures look so marvellous.

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  6. Hi, Really great effort. Everyone must read this article. Thanks for sharing.

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