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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Hoysala Expedition Part 9: Channakeshava Temple, Belur

One of the crowning glories of the Hoysala architecture is undoubtedly the world renowned Channakeshava Temple complex at Belur, Karnataka. The vast complex housing multiple temples has been built over centuries, beginning from the time of Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana's reign. The temple was inaugurated in 1117 AD, and king Vishnuvardhana appears to have taken special interest in getting it built.


The complex is home to the extremely artistic Channakeshava temple, where daily prayers are offered even today, and two shrines for Keshava's ladies, Soumyanayaki and Ranganayaki, an additional Veera Narayana temple, and the legendary Kappe Channigaraya temple, where the idol for worship carved by Jakkanachari was found to be from a faulty stone and was rendered useless. The main deity is also known as Vijaya Narayana, as Hoysalas tasted success in a major war around the same time the temple got inaugurated. Also present in the complex are a beautiful Kalyani, the famous gravity tower, and multiple enclosures housing idols of Ramanujacharya, Vedanta Deshika, Krishna in different forms and many more.


The point of focus of the temple though, are the collection of beautifully and intricately carved Madanikas or Salabhanjikas, mostly depicting various song and dance forms. Legend has it that these images are inspired by the beauty and talent of Vishnuvardhana's wife and Hoysala queen Shantala. Another enticing feature of this temple complex is that of intricately carved pillars inside the Channakeshava temple. The complex can also be seen as a museum of historical inscriptions, as the entire history of the temple's development and enhancements during the Hoysala period and the periods that followed are neatly documented on dedicated wall spaces across the complex.

Here is a compilation of some of the photos I took at Belur:

Channakeshava Temple, Belur from hmvprasanna on Vimeo.



2 comments:

KamalStudios said...

now you gotta release your book soon! and provide a free video cd along with it!!
i will be the first one to buy it!!

Prasanna said...

Thanks Arun, before we dream of book release, first thing I would look for is your help in cover page design... :)