Belur, which was once the capital of the Hoysala Empire, is home to the Chennakesava Temple Complex.

Chennakesava Temple Complex

The main temple in this complex is dedicated to Lord Chennakeshava (literally translates to ‘handsome Vishnu’). This temple along with the Hoysaleswara temple in Halebidu and the Jain monuments in Sravanabelagola have been proposed as UNESCO world heritage sites.

Chennakesava Temple Complex, Belur Karnataka
Dravidian style Rayagopuram

Chennakesava Temple, Belur (Karnataka)
Chennakesava Temple

This temple, one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture, was built by king Vishnuvardhana in commemoration of his victory over the Cholas in 1117 AD.

Lion Sculpture at Chennakesava Temple Complex, Belur (Karnataka)
Lion sculpture

The facade of the temple is full of intricate sculptures and friezes.

Chennakesava Temple, Belur (Karnataka)
Temple facade

First Hoyasala fighting with a lion at Chennakesava Temple Complex, Belur (Karnataka)
The first Hoysala king fighting with a lion

It took 103 years to complete and Vishnuvardhana’s grandson Veera Ballala II completed the task.

Sculpture at Chennakesava Temple, Belur (Karnataka)
Sculpture, Temple facade

Chennakesava Temple, Belur (Karnataka)
Lord Shiva killing Gajasura (elephant demon)

The 4 layer frieze on the Facade consists of Elephants (Strength), Lions (Power), Horses (Speed), and Flowers (Beauty).

4 Layer frieze at Chennakesava Temple Complex, Belur (Karnataka)
4 layer frieze

The lowermost frieze panel around the temple has intricately carved marching elephants. Each elephant is unique in its form.

Elephant frieze at Chennakesava Temple Complex, Belur (Karnataka)
Elephant Frieze

Chennakesava Temple Complex, Belur (Karnataka)
View of the Gopuram and the complex from the Mandapam

Inside Chennakesava Temple
Inside the temple

Ceiling of Chennakesava Temple
Ceiling, central dome

The central section has intricately carved sculptures.

Inside Chennakesava Temple
Sculpture on the central pillar

Lord Vishnu
Lord Vishnu

Inside Chennakesava Temple, Belur (Karnataka)

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