Views in Mysore. Bailoor Temple [Chennakeshava Temple, Belur]. Detail of carvings on west side
Photographer: Lyon, Edmund David
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph from an album of 40 albumen prints by Edmund David Lyon, made from a cracked negative, showing sculptural detail and moulding in the angle of the wall at the west side of the Chennakeshava temple at Belur in Karnataka. It was built in 1117 AD by the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana to mark his independence from the powerful Chalukyas, 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: '[it] represents the re-entering angle between the back of the porch on the right hand and the base of the tower up to pavilion shown in the last paragraph on the left. It illustrates the sculptures of this part in detail, and as it has escaped whitewashing, shows their marvellous beauty and sharpness of detail. The canopies over the figures are especially worthy of admiration, and are of a form only found in the buildings of this age, and in this part of India'.