Views in Mysore. Bailoor Temple [Chennakeshava Temple, Belur]. Detail of small shrine on base of tower
Photographer: Lyon, Edmund David
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph from an album of 40 albumen prints by Edmund David Lyon. The Chennakeshava temple at Belur in Karnataka, dedicated to Krishna as the Beautiful Longhaired One, was built in 1117 AD by the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana
to mark his independence from the Chalukyas of whom he had been a feudatory, and to commemorate his victory at Talakad over the Cholas. Belur was the early capital of the Hoysalas in the 11th and 12th centuries. They shifted subsequently 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 (halls). 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 which shows a small shrine at the base of a tower: 'The base of the Vimana and Tower being solid, differs considerably in design from the porch which was illustrated in the seven preceding views. As will be observed,....to each of its three faces a projecting pavilion is attached, in which are the windows that admit light to the sanctuary. As architectural objects they give variety of outline and play of light and shade to the otherwise solid base. They are, besides this, objects of extreme beauty and variety of detail in themselves, and worthy of the temple to which they are attached. Under the upper cornice will be observed that curious imitation of a wooden framework, which was noticed in speaking of the cornices of Avadea Covill [Avudayar Kovil in Tamil Nadu] and Tanjore. Being in the shadow, the Photograph hardly does justice to its details; but looking upwards to the temple, it adds immensely to the richness of effect.'