Belur And Halebid Near Banglaore – Take You Off The Beaten Path

Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India is a lot more than just an IT hub. The capital city of Karnataka is home to some of the most beautiful sights and cultural heritage. From hills stations to temples to ancient monuments – the city and its outskirts are embellished with many gems to make your stay in Bangalore special.

A part of the vibrant Hoysala Empire between the 12th and 13th century – Belur, then called Velapuri, was the erstwhile capital of the Hoysala Empire, which later on shifted to its twin city Halebid, under the rule of Vishnuvardhana, the greatest of the Hoysala kings.

Addressed as Dakshina Benaras or the ‘Benaras of the South’ as it is situated on the banks of Yagachi river, Belur is famous for the Chennakesava temple. The temple is dedicated to the handsome Lord Vishnu. Chenna means beautiful in Kannada and Kesava refers to Lord Vishnu. A testament to the amazing Dravidian artistry, it took 100 years to construct this temple – a herculean task started by King Vishnuvardhana and completed by his grandson!
Built in a star shape (a Hoysala dynasty characteristic), the temple houses some of the most mesmerizing sculptures like the ornate tower built in the Vijayanagara style, the gravity pillar that stands tall on its weight sans any foundation, Narasimha Pillar, the famous Mohini Pillar (with carving of Lord Vishnu’s female avatar) and the Hoysala emblem.
According to a local legend, King Vishnuvardhana unknowingly separated Lord Chennakesava from his better-half living in the forests of Baba Budan. The local cobbler community offers a pair of sandals daily to the Lord to visit his beloved. Surprisingly, the sandals disappear by night!