Belur is well known for Chennakeshava temple which was a capital during Hoysala kingdom for a short duration. This placed is situated in Hassan district of Karnataka in India. The Channakeshava temple is one of the finest built using soft soapstone during Hoysala period. The temple was constructed during 1116 AD to mark the victory done by the king Vishnuvardhana of Talkad against Cholas. Belur is on the banks of river Yegachi. This place is one of the famous tourist destination in Karnataka - India. As per saying, the beauty of this temple is inside as there are 48 pillars carved in different designs. Belur was also called as Velapuri during Hoysala period. The empire during Hoysala period is called Yadava kings which was under Chalukyas and became separated later.
How to reach
Belur is 40Kms from the district head quarters, Hassan in North direction. The transportation is only by road. This place is just on the way to Chikmagalur and frequent buses available. Other than this main road, there are few more ways to reach Belur. People planning to visit Halebid and Belur, can proceed to Halebid taking right turn at Hagare (25Kms from Hassan on Chikmagalur road). From Hagare, Halebid is 12 Kms. Travellers having private vehicles can only plan this route as public transport is very less. After visiting Halebid, tourists can reach Belur which is 15Kms. There is frequent private and Government transportation available between Belur and Halebid. One more way to reach Belur is to travel upto Halebid from Hassan taking Master Control Facility (also called space city) road. Halebid is 30Kms by this road from Hassan. Very frequent bus service available between Hassan and Halebid in this route. Nearest airport is Mangalore or Bangalore (both of same distance).
Importance of Belur
There are somany art and sculptures to see in Channakeshava temple. The star shaped Garbhagruha, Navaranga and Sukanasi Pillars, the image of Vijaya narayana (Keshava), more than 80 sculptures of Madanika in the temple, 38 bracket figures outside and 4 inside, Lady with her pet parrot, Kesha Shrungara, Gandharva Dance, Shantaladevi, Fortune teller, Songstress, Arch dancer, Lady with make-up, Kite dancer, Pony-tale haired lady, Drum dance, Nagaveena Dance, Gypsy girl, Bhasma Mohini dance, Huntress, Divine Dancer, Masculine woman, Violinist, Bewitching beauty, Musician, Flutist, Darpana Sundari, Thribhangi Nritya, Dwarapalakas flanking the Sukanasi doorway, Narasimha pillar, Kadle basava, Mohini pillar.
Gravity pillar is about 42 feet high of single stone, standing on its self weight. Kappe Channigaraya temple is located south of Sri Keshava Temple. Inside people can see Venugopala, Saraswathi, Lakshminarayana, Ganapathi and Chamundeswari statues. Few more temples of Anjaneya, Krishna, Narasimha, Soumyanayaki, Veeranarayana can also be seen. Statues of Vishnuvardhana and Krishnaraja Wodeyar can be seen in a courtyard near the pond. Garudangambha and Garuda statue are outside the main temple facing towards Sri Channakeshava.
Guides have been appointed by Archaeological department for a nominal fee of INR 125 (reciept will be issued). Photography allowed inside the temple premesis, no additional fee for cameras. A nominal fee of INR 10 is to be paid for flood light inside the temple if tourists want to see the carvings.
Standard tourist package available by Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporations (KSTDC) to visit Belur, Halebeedu and Shravanabelagola. Halebid and Belur are situated to the North of Hassan (district head quarters) and Shravanabelagola is situated almost to the South of Hassan. So, people travelling from Bangalore can visit Shravanabelagola first as it is on the way to Hassan (on National Highway 48 linking Bangalore and Mangalore). After visiting Belur and Halebidu, people can proceed towards Chikmagalur if they have planned to visit Western ghats and other tourist places in Shimoga and other districts. People travelling from North part of India, they can visit Belur and Halebid and proceed towards Hassan and see Shravanabelagola later.
Visit the Hassan home page to get the details of other visiting places in this district.