Photographer's Note

I cherished the time spent simply gazing at the sheer poetry in stone while visiting the Hoysala temples of Belur and Halebid, the towns are home to magnificently carved temples.

Belur and Halebid are 17 km apart, and are often referred to in one breath, as belonging together.
These temples have become rich repositories of ancient Hindu culture, with several thousands of visitors from all over India and overseas coming to witness their intricate and distinctive architectural style. The temple at Belur is still functional but the Halebid temple, though open to the public, is no longer in use for devotional purposes.

Belur was once the capital of a powerful empire on the banks of River Yagachi. Belur's main temple, Chennakeshava (dedicated to Lord Krishna and set in a compound with several smaller temples and a pond), was commissioned by King Vishnuvardhana in 1117 AD to celebrate Hoysala military victories. It took over a hundred years to complete and its architecture is foreign to the prevailing Hoysala style of the 12th century – it is exceptionally large (about 100-ft high) and its decoration very lavish (with a magnificent gateway tower – gopuram) in Dravidian style. It is delicate in its filigree work, with the added attraction of bracketed figures of celestial dancers, called Madanikas and exclusive to Belur, and an innumerable variety of intricate pillars. Contrary to Indian tradition, these Hoysala sculptors signed their work at this temple.

The exteriors of the temple are adorned with horizontal friezes, sculptured in succession from the bottom. Stories from the Puranas, the Upanishads and other mythological sources have been executed in most exquisite and authentic detail, as have tales from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

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Additional Photos by Elaine springford (everlasting) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 964 W: 67 N: 2925] (19302)
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