Belur, a taluk headquarters in Hassan district, situated on the banks of Yagachi River at a distance of 38 Kms. from Hassan was known as Velapuri, Velur, Belapur and Dakshina Varanasi in earlier times. It was once the capital of the Hoysalas before Dwarasamudra (Halebidu) became their capital.
The Channakeshava temple is dedicated to Lord Channakeshava , meaning handsome Vishnu is the main temple of Belur. The temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture; it was built by king Vishnuvardhana in commemoration of his victory over the Cholas at Talakad in 1117 A.D. The Channakeshava temple is one of the earliest star shaped temples of the Hoysalas. The idol of Channakeshava is about 3.7 metres high and the madanika figures supporting the caves of the outer walls of the temples are excellent works of art. The Prabhavali of Channakeshava idol consists of the artistically carved Dashavatharas of Vishnu.
Legend has it that it took 103 years to complete and Vishnuvardhana's grandson Veera Ballala II completed the task. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes with no portion left blank. The intricate workmanship includes elephants, lions, horses, episodes from the Indian mythological epics and sensuous dancers (Shilabalikas). The temple has scores of inscriptions covering a period 700 years. Dasoja and Chavana from Balligave were its master sculptors.
The Veeranarayana temple located to the west of the Channakeshava temple surrounded by small shrines of Kappe Channigaraya, Soumyanayaki, Andal and others has superb architecture and intricate workmanship. The Kappe Channigaraya temple was built by Shantaladevi, queen of king Vishnuvardhana.
There is a Pushkarni or stepped well to the right side of the main entrance. The Dravida style rayagopuram at the entrance was a later addition by the Vijayanagar kings, who considered this deity as one of their Kuladevata or family God.
The Belur town has the samadhi believed to be that of the Kannada poet Raghavanka who lived in the 13th century.
Belur Temple Timings07.00 am - 06.30 pm
Belur Temple Entry ChargesFree Entrance
How to Reach Belur TempleBelur is 16 kms from Halebidu, 38 kms from Hassan, 149 kms from Mysore and 223 kms from Bangalore.
It is well connected by road and rail to Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore. There are regular buses from Hassan.