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Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Belur Temple Dedicated to Vishnu

Dedicated to Chennakeshava, one of the manifestations of Bhagvan Vishnu, Belur Chennakeshava Temple is an architectural wonder. The shrine was built to commemorate the victory of Hoysalas over Cholas in the battle of Talakad. The temple was built during the 12th century AD and it took nearly 103 years to complete the magnificent Chennakeshava Temple.

Chenna Keshava literally means the ‘beautiful Keshava’ in Kannada language. An inscription near the northern entrance of the navranga states that the deity was originally called as Vijayanarayana.

The main murti worshipped in the sanctum sanctorum is a black murti (idol) of Chennakeshava holding Conch in the upper right hand, discus in the upper left hand, lotus in the lower right hand and mace in the lower left hand. The murti is 6 feet high. Chennakeshava is flanked by his consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi.

The most important festival in the temple is the car festival and is held during March – April.

The Chennakeshava temple is built on a star-shape plan. There are numerous smaller shrines in the spacious courtyard. The temple walls and pillars are intricately carved. The brackets and navrang are adorned with beautiful figures.

The large Navrang Hall is noted for its polished pillars and ceiling. The pillars are of three different sizes and designs, except for the four pillars are of the centre. The most notable pillars are the Mohini pillar on the south west. The eastern side of the pillar has a large bas-relief of Vishnu in the enchanting form of Mohini, flanked by a Chauri bearer and a Garuda. The impeccable Narasimha pillar to the south-east of the navranga used to rotate on its own axis. It is well decorated.