Ideal Time: One day
Open Time: Temple timings: 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM, Inner sanctum of main deity stay closed between 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM, and 5:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Cost: Free entrance, Government approved guides cost between INR 125 - INR 250
Nestled on the banks of River Yagachi in Hassan District of Karnataka, the town of Belur along with its twin town of Halebid located 16 km away, houses exquisite temples reflecting the exemplary artistic taste and technique of temple builders of the yore. This small town was the capital of the mighty Hoysala empire and their engineering genius can still be witnessed in the temples that stand here today. Some of the important shrines that are housed here include Chennakesava Temple and Kappe Chennigaray, both of which are exemplary Dravidian peices of architecture.
Hoysalas were a hill tribe hailing from the Western Ghats and served as in charge of Chalukyas' land ownings. The rose in their ranks under Tinayaditya who became a prominent leader during the period ranging from 1047 - 1078. Erstwhile known as Velapuri, Belur along with Halebid was once the centre of the vast empire ruled by the Hoysalas during the 12th century. The greater ruler that came to be in the Hoysala Dynasty was Vishnuvardhana, the capital was shifted to Halebid. After the invasion by Delhi Sultanate, Belur became the second capital of the Hoysala Empire. The remarkable temples of the place are believed to be constructed to mark the victory of King Vishnuvardhana over Cholas in 1117 and took about 103 years to complete.
Belur is a town packed with great architectural wonder, displaying some exclusive carving and sculpture works. Built in typical Dravidian style architecture, the intricacy with which the architectures here are built is splendid. The Chennakesava temple is one of the classic examples of Hoysala architecture. The entire facade of the temple is covered with detailed stonework such that no portion is left blank. Sculptures of birds, elephants, lions, horses and other animals can also be seen. Apart from that, you will be fascinated with intricate carvings on the temple that depicts the scenes from the Mahabharata, Ramayana and the Upanishadas. The sculptures inside the temple are built using ivory and sandalwood. With its delicate carving and stunning sculptures, the Belur temples are often compared with those at Khajuraho. Belur along with its twin town Halebid once served as a capital of Hoysalas and Shravanabelagola, form the Golden Triangle of Karnataka Tourism.
Kappe Chennigaraya temple which was built by Shantaladevi is also situated in Belur. It is said that Shantaladevi herself danced in front of the main shrine during its installation and her dance inspired the figurines that adorn the temple walls. Two more temples are situated in the complex along with the Pushkarni or step well, which are astonishing architectures in their own right.
If you wish to explore the Belur - Halebid - Shravanbelgola circuit, the best way to do this is by booking a one-day package tour that is provided by the KSTDC or Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation. Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation. The details of the same are as follows:-
Departure from Badami House, Bangalore: 06:30 AM
Breakfast: 08:30 AM - 09:00 AM
Visit Shravanabelagola & Darshan of Lord Bahubali (Gomateshwara): 10:30 AM - 11.30 AM
Lunch at Karnataka Hotels Belur: 01:30 PM - 01:45 PM
Visit Hoysala style Chennakeshava temple, Belur: 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM
Visit Hoysala style Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebeedu: 03:45 PM - 04:45 PM
Tour ends at Badami House, Bangalore: 10:00 PM
Ticket Prices: INR 1000 per head
The best time to explore this old town of Belur is between the months of March and April when the weather is perfect for outings. Morning and evening hours are best to visit this destination.
The best way to explore the twin temple towns is on foot. However, to reach either of them you can hire a taxi, auto-rickshaw or take a bus which is easily available. In order to commute between the two towns, all the three options of taxi, auto-rickshaw and bus are available.
2 months ago by Kovid Kapoor
This is a nice place. Very religious.
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