Our next stop on our four day trip around Bangalore after visiting Sravanabelagola and Halebidu or Dwarasumadra was at the Chennakesava temple at Belur. Chenna means handsome and Kesava means Vishnu. The temple thus, was built as the temple of Handsome Vishnu.
The Chennakesava temple was built by King Vishnuvardhana in 1117 AD by King Vishnuvardhana. Standing on a wide, elevated platform, the temple looks like a casket and is 178 feet long and 156 feet broad. Built using soft soapstone, the temple has intricate carvings with a stellear shaped sanctum having zig zag walls, while the frontal Navaranga and other adjuncts are rectangular. There are different rows of friezes with elephants, lions, artistic foliage and bead garlands on its walls. The Garbhagriha has figures that show the different manifestations of God Vishnu.
Apart from the main temple, there are other temples in the precincts of the Chennakesava temple too: Vijayanarayana, Kappe Chennigaraya, Andal and Saumyanayaki are all located around the Chennakesava temple. There is also Kalyani – a tank of water within the temple complex.
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