I have always been a fan of history and particularly Indian history. India is a glorious and old country with a rich heritage. There are numerous temples and other architectural monuments all around the country which are several hundred years old. While I have never had the opportunity to visit the monuments in the Northern part of India, the temples at Hampi, Halebidu and Belur(in the southern part of India) hold a special place in my heart. Words and pictures do poor justice to the exotic monuments.Join me as I try to recreate the magic of ‘Belur’ in this post.
Halebedu and Belur:
‘Halebedu’ and ‘Belur’ are two towns in Karnataka,India which boast of amazing temples of exquisite architectures. ‘Halebedu’ was the initial capital of the Hoysala dynasty and after it was destroyed by the Mughals – the capital was shifted to ‘Belur’ which is about 16 kms away. The Hoysalas ruled Belur between 11th and 13th centuries. Now, both the temples are in ruins and we can only deduce the past by studying the outstanding architecture.While the temple at ‘Halebedu’ is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple at Belur is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and his avatars.
‘Belur’ formerly known as ‘Velapuri’ is a charming and sweet town in Karnataka, one of the southern states of India. It maintains the innocence of a small town coupled with peerless temple architecture.
It is home to the ‘Chennakesava temple’ where Lord Vishnu is the presiding deity. Even though the presiding deity is Lord Vishnu, the deity is always decorated in the female form of Lord Vishnu or ‘Mohini’.
The front part of the Chennakesava temple consists of statues related to social life while the rear part of the temple deals with statues related to the religious beliefs. The temple is made of soap stone and is constructed on a star shaped pedestal which is still evident today. One of the legends has it that it was constructed to commemorate the victory of the Hoysalas over the Cholas in the battle of Talakkad. It is supposed to have taken 103 years to construct and artisans, sculptors from nearby places were brought to create the masterpieces. There are some Jain statues indicating that the Hoysalas converted to Jainism before re-converting themselves back to Hinduism again.
Let us view some of the carvings in the ‘Chennakesava temple’ in a bid to unlock the past!
Click on the pictures to read about them…
I hope you enjoyed reading about Belur as much as I enjoyed writing it!