A masterpiece of Hoysala architecture, Chennakeshava Temple in Belur is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nestled in the heart of Karnataka's Hassan district with a history dating back over 900 years, it is one of the oldest and the grandest temples in the region. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the Chennakeshava Temple in Belur is a significant pilgrimage site for Vaishnavas. The historic temple was commissioned by King Vishnuvardhana in 1116 AD to commemorate his victory over the Cholas. It rests on the banks of the Yagachi River, a tributary of the Hemavati River. The beautiful and tranquil river adds to the overall charm of the temple complex, creating a serene ambience that is perfect for spiritual reflection.
Chennakeshava Temple is also known as Keshava (Kesava) or Vijayanarayana Temple of Belur. It was constructed from soapstone and intricate designs adorn every facet of its structure. This monumental masterpiece took an impressive 103 years to complete and was a labour of devotion and artistry spanning three generations. The beautiful temple is set on a raised star-shaped platform called 'Jagati' whose outer walls are a canvas of unparalleled artistry, adorned with bracket figures, all carved to perfection, narrating stories from the Puranas and Epics. A visit to the Chennakeshava Temple in Belur is like stepping back in time to an era of unmatched architectural magnificence and artistic brilliance. For those who enjoy history, art, and spirituality, it is a must-visit.
Morning: 7 AM to 1 PM.
Evening: 2 PM to 8 PM.
Best Time to Visit:
October to March.
- Belur Chennakeshava Divyabrahma Rathotsava - This annual 2-day Chariot Festival is celebrated in the month of March or April.
There is no strict dress code enforced at the Chennakeshava Temple in Belur. But, it's advisable to dress modestly and respectfully while visiting religious sites.
- The Chennakeshava Temple in Belur is a part of the "Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas" which is inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, recognizing its architectural and historical significance.
- The Chennakeshava Temple is a brilliant example of exquisite stone artistry with over 80 elegant Madanika sculptures depicting various poses, dancing, hunting, and more.
- The magnificent temple was constructed by the master craftsmen -Dasoja and Chavana, a father and son duo.
- It is said that Shantaladevi, the Queen of King Vishnuvardhana, served as the model for one of the Vavaranga sculptures - Darpana Sundari.
- The temple's stellar-shaped Garbhagriha and its zigzag walls make the figures of 24 forms of Lord Vishnu in the sanctum sanctorum appear different at different times of the day due to light.
Ways to Reach:
By Air: Mangaluru (Mangalore) International Airport is 157.9 Km away from the temple. From the airport, you can avail of public transport or get a cab/ taxi to reach the temple.
By Rail: Hassan Railway Station is 40.3 Km away from the temple. From the railway station, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the temple.
By Road: Belur is well-connected to various cities and towns in Karnataka by road. You can drive to Belur from cities like Bangalore, Mysore, and Mangalore. You can also avail of public transport or get a cab/ taxi to reach the temple.