Temple at Belloor. Detached building in the Court. [Chennakeshava Temple, Belur.]
Photographer: Neill, Andrew Charles Brisbane
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Chennakeshava Temple at Belur in Karnataka, taken by Andrew Charles Brisbane Neill in c.1855, from 'Architecture in Dharwar and Mysore'. Belur, a small town on the banks of the Yagachi river in Hassan district, was once the capital of the Hoysala dynasty, which ruled the southern Deccan from the 12th to 14th century. The Chennakeshava temple, dedicated to Vishnu, was begun in 1117 AD by Bittiga (Vishnuvardhana) who ruled approximately from 1106-1142, to celebrate his victory over the Cholas to the south and independence from the Chalukyas to the north. It was completed by Narasimha (ruled 1156-1173). Built of grey-green chloritic schist, the temple is erected on a plinth to a star-shaped plan, and its exterior is richly faceted with sculptural friezes. A gateway tower or gopuram soars at its entrance and it is within a walled courtyard surrounded by subsidiary shrines and columned verandahs. Its lack of a superstructure is a subject of debate among scholars, as it terminates with a flat roof, but its existence at one time has been proved by inscriptions. Its interior features columns with uniquely detailed carving, and many of the works are signed by the artists who accomplished them.