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Belur   |   hassan

Belur, located in the Hassan district, was also referred to as Velapuri according to inscriptions discovered here. The main attraction in Belur is the Chennakeshava temple built by Shantaladevi, queen of king Vishnuvardhana.

There are two more shrines here that are still in use by devotees and there is a Pushkarni or stepped well to the right side of the main entrance. The Dravida style rayagopuram at the entrance which was a later an addition made by the Vijayanagar kings, who considered this deity as one of their Kuladevata or family god.

The temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture built by king Vishnuvardhana in commemoration of his victory over the Cholas at Talakad in 1117 CE. History says it took 103 years to complete and Vishnuvardhana's grandson VeeraBallala II completed the task. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures which include elephants, lions, horses, episodes from the Indian mythological epics, and sensuous dancers (Shilabalikas). Inside the temple are a number of ornate pillars. DarpanaSundari (Lady with the mirror) carved on walls of Belur Temple is one of major attractions here.

The credit of carving most of the sculptures goes to Jakanachari. A legend says that Dankanachari(son of Jakanachari) found that the main statue of Lord Vishnu was faulty and had frog inside it. Jakana, shocked to believe this, cuts his right hand. He will begin to build the other temple and contemplates the task. Later, the old temple(which had faulty statue) came to be known as kappechennigaraaya's temple (kappe=frog)

Photography: [Divakar Hiriyadka]

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