Belur is an early Hoysala Empire capital who ruled Karnataka region from 1000AD to 1346AD. The place was called Beluhur, Velur or Velapura based on the architectural references found in this area. Belur is an early capital of Hoysala kingdom, later in 1116 AD capital was moved to place called Dwarasamudra which is about 10 km from here.
King Vishnuvardhana, who came to power in 1110 CE commissioned the Chennakeshava temple in 1117 AD, it took nearly 103 years and three generations of kings to complete the temple.
The Hoysala Empire was invaded, plundered and destroyed in 1326 AD by Malik Kafur, a commander of the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji. The temple was attacked and its main gateway was burnt down by a Muslim general Salar and his army under Muhammed bin Tughlaq. When the Vijayanagara empire was captured by Deccan Sultanates, again the temple took the brunt of the destruction in the 17th century once again.
Deepasthambha (pillar with lamp) dates from the Hoysala period Speciality of this pillar is it’s a free-standing structure! Its built with such a precision that it still maintains its balance and standing tall. You could pass a thin paper through the base to make sure there are no hidden fixtures here. Check the images above closely.
Outer walls of the temple host about 38 statues called Madanakai, most of them in good condition in spite of the destruction took place here. Two of these are Durga, three huntresses (with the bow), others are dancers in dance posture, musicians, women dressing or doing makeup, a woman with a pet parrot, men with musical instruments.
The navaranga hall has forty-eight pillars. All except the central four are carved in a unique way. The central four are later additions done during the Vijayanagara Empire era, to support the internal structure of a damaged temple. The pillars are of three sizes. Two pillars are particularly notable. One is the so-called Narasimha pillar which is carved with miniature figures from top to bottom, such as a tiny bull (kadale basava). The local legend states that this pillar once could be rotated freely employing the ball bearing system. But it no longer can be rotated. (Pic Above)
The four pillars in the Navaranga hosts Madanikas. One represents dancing Saraswati, others are regular dancers with different dance stances. One is dressing her hair, the other in a Natya posture, and the fourth has a parrot seated on her hand. The head, neck and the bracelet jewellery made of rock are freely movable.
Accommodation: There are many hotels available in this small town, unlike Halebeed.
I am also tagging weekly photo challenge “Favorite Place” (I have visited this place atleast a dozen times!)