Views in Mysore. Bailoor Temple [Chennakeshava Temple, Belur]. The south entrance
Photographer: Lyon, Edmund David
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph from an album of 40 albumen prints by Edmund David Lyon. Closer view looking towards the south entrance of the Chennakeshava temple at Belur in Karnataka, the doorway flanked by two small shrines, all richly decorated with relief carvings. The temple, dedicated to Krishna as Chennakeshava or the Beautiful Longhaired One, was built in 1117 AD by the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana
apparently to mark his independence from the Chalukyas of whom he had been a vassal, and to commemorate his victory at Talakad over the powerful Cholas. Belur was the early capital of the Hoysalas in the 11th and 12th centuries; the capital was shifted afterwards to Halebid. They evolved an unique style of architecture, of which the temple at Belur is an impressive example, built on a star-shaped plan and embellished with sculpture. It stands within a walled courtyard, and is surrounded by smaller shrines and columned mandapas. Lyon's 'Notes to Accompany a Series of Photographs Prepared to Illustrate the Ancient Architecture of Southern India' (Marion & Co., London, 1870), edited by James Fergusson, gives the following description of this photograph, 'The little detached models of the great tower which are shown....are beautifully executed, and are interesting as showing how the great tower was originally finished. Both these doorways are dreadfully disfigured by whitewash, but wherever the details can be seen, they surpass in freedom and delicacy of execution any of the examples previously described'.