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Timings : 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

Time Required : 1 day

Entry Fee : Free entrance, Government approved guides cost between INR 125 - INR 250

Dress Code : No strict dress code as such but modest clothing for both men and women.

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Belur, Halebidu Overview

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 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 structures 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 pieces of architecture. Non-Hindus are allowed in the temples of Belur.

Known as the 'jewels of the Indian cultural heritage' Belur and Halebid are adorned with the legacy of rich past and culture. Belur is mainly known for its prime attraction, the Chennakesava Temple dedicated to Chennakesava or Lord Vishnu. Legend has it that it took 103 years to complete the construction of this magnificent edifice. Standing right next to it is another temple Kappe Chennigaraya, a temple built by the wife of Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana, Shantaladevi. Apart from these, there are two other temples in the complex. Both temples exhibit the intricate detail work on the walls made up of light green soapstone. Visit this destination for a glorious look into the Hoysala engineering genius.

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Places to Visit in Belur

1. The Chennakeshava Temple


The Channakeshava temple is one of the most sought after tourist attraction in Belur. This grand temple is dedicated to Lord Vijayanarayana, who is considered to be one of the 24 incarnations of Lord Vishnu. It was built in the 12th century by Vishnuvardhana, the then Hoysala king, as a way to celebrate their victory over the Cholas in the battle of Talakad. The temple is adorned with beautiful sculptures and carvings that portray celestial nymphs and a few scenes from the Upanishads, Mahabharata and Ramayana.

2. Madanikas


In different corners of the Channakeshava temple, 42 Madanikas or Celestial Nymphs are carved out of soapstone. It is said that Shantala Devi, Queen of Vishnuvardhana inspired these intricate carvings and depict the different postures of Bharatnatyam. 

3. Veeranarayana Temple

Dedicated to Veeranarayana or Lakshmi Narayana, another name for Vishnu, this Vaishnava temple is famous for its artistic interiors. This trikuta or three-shrined temple was built by King Veera Ballala II of the Hoysala dynasty and depicts the various forms and avatars of Lord Vishnu. The central shrine is a great image of Narayana with four hands, the southern shrine is a big image of Venugopala (Krishna playing the flute), and the northern shrine is a tall image of Yoganarasimha.

4. The Gravity Pillar

The emergence of the Vijayanagar dynasty has also had its effect on Belur, and especially on the Channakeshava temple. The Gravity Pillar, or more commonly called the Mahasthamba or Kartika Deepotsava Sthamba is a 42 feet tall pillar installed during the reign of King Devaraya in 1414. What makes this granite pillar so unique is the fact that the post stands without a base to it. It is made of a single stone and stands on a stone platform, held there by gravity.

5. Kappe Chennigaraya Temple

Erected by Shantala Devi during the Hoysala period, this small temple is located in the Veeranarayana Temple complex, to the south of the Channakeshava temple. The interiors of the temple are striking with beautiful sculptures and carvings. Other than this, there are other shrines dedicated to Veeranarayana, Ranganayaki, Bhoodevi, Sridevi and Soumyanayaki situated in the temple premises.

6. Vishnu Samudra

The Big Tank, or in other words, widespread among the locals as Vishnu Samudra, was constructed during the reign of Narasimha Raya. After the Vijayanagar Empire took over, Basappa Nayaka built the north end of the quadrangle and added steps on all the three sides of the tank. The water from this tank is still used in the temple rituals.

Best Time To Visit Belur

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.

Belur - Halebid - Shravanbelgola Packages by KSTDC

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

Architecture of Belur

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 at the Chennakesava Temple

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.
Elephant statue at Kappe Chennigaraya temple

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 stepwell, which are astonishing architectures in their own right.

History of Belur

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.

How To Reach Belur

By Train: Belur doesn't have a railway station and the nearest station is Hassan, which is approximately 37kms away. Train No. 16517 (Kannur Express) and 16523 (Karwar Express) starting from Bangalore City Junction head to Hassan. The trains are available on all the days of the week. There are also regular trains from Mangalore and Mysore to Hassan. From Hassan, it's advisable to take a taxi to your destination.

By Bus: Although there are private buses that go to Belur, there are no direct KSRTC buses. In this case, one can take a KSRTC bus to Hassan and from there, catch a taxi or another bus to Belur. There are regular KSRTC buses available from Hassan so that it won't be an issue!

You can also hire tourist taxis for a comfortable, one-stop journey.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.

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Kovid Kapoor

on Belur 4 years ago
This is a nice place. Very religious.
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