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Views in Mysore. Bailoor Temple [Chennakeshava Temple, Belur]. The south façade

Views in Mysore. Bailoor Temple [Chennakeshava Temple, Belur]. The south façade

Photographer: Lyon, Edmund David

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1868

Shelfmark: Photo 212/6(9)

Item number: 21269

Genre: Photograph

Photograph from an album of 40 albumen prints by Edmund David Lyon. This is a view along the façade of the Chennakeshava temple at Belur, showing bands of intricate carved decoration and mouldings, with pierced stone window openings above. Belur, a small town on the banks of the Yagachi in the Hassan district of Karnataka, was the capital of the Hoysalas in the 11th and 12th centuries, before they shifted to Halebid. The Chennakeshava temple at Belur is considered one of the finest examples of early Hoysala architecture. It was built in 1117 AD by King Vishnuvardhana to mark his independence from the Chalukyas of whom he had been a vassal, and his defeat of the powerful Cholas at Talakad. In his 'Notes to Accompany a Series of Photographs Prepared to Illustrate the Ancient Architecture of Southern India' (Marion & Co., London, 1870), edited by James Fergusson, Lyon wrote: '[this] view of half the South Façade of the porch of this temple,...gives an excellent idea of its peculiar construction. The small tower on the left is in front of one of the entrances at this side, which was shown in the last view. This Photograph also shows four out of the thirty windows which give light to the interior of this porch. Some of these, like that on the left, are covered with sculpture, - this one representing the Narasinha [Narasimha], or fourth Avatar of Vishnu; but the three beyond, as well as most of the rest, are only slabs pierced in various patterns, and adorned with scrolls and flowers of infinite variety, and all of great beauty in detail. The figures of dancing girls who on brackets support the cornice are also worthy of admiration, not only for their grace and freedom, but also for the beauty of the details by which they are surrounded'.

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