During our recent trip to Western Ghats, we visited Belur Hoysala Chennakeshava Temple. This is a Vishnu temple. This temple was built in 11th century. It took 103 years to complete this marvel. We hired a guide (an official from ASI) to explain us about the temple architecture and history. Parking and washrooms are present just opposite the temple complex.
Date: 5th May, 2017 (Friday)
Main Gopuram – Top is made of ceramic and the bottom is made of granite
The temple is made of soap stones (local name), which is soft beneath the earth but when exposed to atmosphere, becomes hard and looks like a metal from a distance.
Look at the intricate details of the sculpture – this is not metal. This is stone.
Hoysala – Young boy who conquered a lion
Such intricate details on the dancing sculptures. A lady looking at the mirror.
A monkey pulling the saree
Look how the left hand is placed on the drums. Isn’t it amazing?
A sculpture that says love is blind
Arjuna during his swayamvar
Ugra(Angry) Narasimha Avatar – Final stages
Ravana lifting Kailash Mountain
Surrounding the temple, first tier is occupied by elephants (Strength), second by lion (Courage) and third by horses (Speed). There are about 600+ elephants and each one of them is unique.
Star shaped perimeter
When art meets the right people, you get this. Look at the details.
Balconies were there those days itself
Inside the temple complex – Artistic excellence
Lady with the parrot
Pillars look like metals, but actually they are not! Also this pillar was placed on top of a ball bearing kind of structure, and is supposed to rotate. But due to poor maintenance over the years, it has lost its function.
Art work on the roof
Soumyanayaki (Goddess Lakshmi) temple
Another main attraction is the floating pillar. There is another one at Lepakshi
At the entrance before the main deity. Work and perfection speak for themselves
And finally Mr and Mrs. Vishnu
Even though many sculptures were broken because of invasion and local vandalism, this temple stands tall amidst the test of time showcasing the mettle and skill of our ancestors. Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) owns it and preserves it as well.