One of the oldest temple which was built in 12th century during the Hoysala dynasty. This temple is located in Hassan district, Karnataka state, India. The old name of Belur was Velapuri which was the capital city of Hoysala dynasty, which was ruled by King Vishnuvardana. The intricate architecture made the world spiritual charm of the place. Temple was built by Hoysala dynasty after the wars with the Western Chalukyas and had also defeated the Cholas. New art and designs in their period created a benchmark.
Layout of the temple
At the entrance there is a Rajagopura (arch gate) and directly opposite to this is the sanctum sanctorium of Chennakeshava which is facing to east on right side of temple is Sowmyanayaki temple and left side is ranganayaki temple. In front of Sowmyanayaki temple there is a Kappe Chennigaraya temple. As soon as we enter from the Rajagopura there are Dwjastanba(flagpost) and a Garuda statue which is facing towards the Keshava.
The temple is built with soap stones. Temple has 48 pillars and the outer walls has beautiful artwork which is uniquely hand carved. Main attraction of temple is a lady with parrot. Walls have the depiction of events of Ramayana and Mahabharata and there are few animals like horse, elephant and lions and many other mini shrines at the entrance of the small temples. At the entrance of sanctum there is royal emblem is a tiger or lion which is a symbolic representation of the defeat of Cholas.
Best time to visit is from November to February. Annually there will be Ratotsava (Chariot festival) in the month of April which is believed to the most grand event and is celebrated in a grand manner. Lord Chennakeshava is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, hence people worship grandly on some auspicious Indian festivals as well