Garuda in Chennakesava Temple, Belur

Garuda in Chennakesava Temple, Belur


Chennakeshava Temple, Somanathapura

The Chennakesava Temple, also referred to as Chennakeshava Temple and Keshava Temple, is a Vaishnava Hindu temple on the banks of River Kaveri at Somanathapura, Karnataka, India. The temple was consecrated in 1258 CE by Somanatha Dandanayaka, a general of the Hoysala King Narasimha III. It is located 38 kilometres (24 mi) east of Mysuru city. [2] [note 1]

The ornate temple is a model illustration of the Hoysala architecture. The temple is enclosed in a courtyard with a pillared corridor of small shrines (damaged). The main temple in the center is on a high star-shaped platform with three symmetrical sanctums (garbha-griha), set in a square matrix (89' x 89') oriented along the east–west and north–south axes. [3] The western sanctum was for a statue of Kesava (missing), the northern sanctum of Janardhana and the southern sanctum of Venugopala, all forms of Vishnu. [4] The sanctums share a common community hall (sabha-mandapa) with many pillars. The outer walls, the inner walls, the pillars and the ceiling of the temple are intricately carved with theological iconography of Hinduism and display extensive friezes of Hindu texts such as the Ramayana (southern section), the Mahabharata (northern section) and the Bhagavata Purana (western section of the main temple). [1]

The Chennakesava temple, states George Michell, represents the climax of the development in Hoysala temple style and yet is also unique in many ways. [5]


History

Southern door (rear view of temple) of Chennakeshava temple at Belur

The temple was commissioned by King Vishnuvardhana in 1117 AD. Scholars are divided about the reasons for the construction of the temple. The military successes of Vishnuvardhana is considered a probable reason. Some scholars believe Vishnuvardhana commissioned the temple to surpass his overlord, King Vikramaditya VI of the Western Chalukya Empire (who ruled from Basavakalyan), after his initial military victories against the Chalukyas. According to another theory, Vishnuvardhana was celebrating his famous victory against the Chola dynasty of Tamil country in the battle of Talakad (1116 AD), which resulted in the annexation of Gangavadi (modern southern Karnataka) by the Hoysalas. Another theory points to Vishnuvardhana’s conversion from Jainism to Vaishnavism (a sect of Hinduism) after coming under the influence of saint Ramanujacharya, considering this is a predominantly Vaishnava temple in sculptural iconography. The Hoysalas employed many noted architects and artisans who developed a new architectural tradition, which art critic Adam Hardy called the Karnata Dravida tradition. In all 118 inscriptions have been recovered from the temple complex, covering the period 1117 AD to the 18th century, giving historians details of the artists employed, grants made to the temple and renovations committed during later times.


Temple complex

A Rayagopura, built during the days of Vijayanagar empire, crowns the main entrance to the complex. The Chennakesava temple stands in the center of the temple complex, facing east and flanked by Kappe Channigraya temple and a small Lakshmi temple on its right. On its left, and to its back, stands an Andal temple. Of the two main Sthambha (pillars) that exist, the one facing the main temple had been built in the Vijayanagar period. The one to the right comes from the Hoysala time. While that represents the first great Hoysala temple, the artistic idiom remains Western Chalukyan. Hence the lack of over decoration, unlike later Hoysala temples, including the Hoysaleswara temple at Halebidu and the Keshava temple at Somanathapura.

Later, Hoysala art inclined towards craftsmanship, with a preference for minutia. The temple has three entrances, the doorways have highly decorated sculptures of doorkeepers (dvarapalaka). While the Kappe Channigraya temple measures smaller than the Chennakesava temple, its architecture stands equal although lacking sculptural features. That became a dvikuta (two shrined) with the addition of a shrine to its original plan. The original shrine has a star shaped plan while the additional shrine forms a simple square. The icon inside, commissioned by Shantala Devi, queen of king Vishnuvardhana follows the Kesava tradition.

Temple plan

Craftsmen built the Chennakesava temple with Chloritic Schist (soapstone) essentially a simple Hoysala plan built with extraordinary detail. The unusually large size of the basic parts of the temple differentiates that temple from other Hoysala temples of the same plan.

The temple follows a ekakuta vimana design (single shrine) of 10.5 m by 10.5 m size. A large vestibule connects the shrine to the mandapa (hall), one of the main attractions of the temple. The mandapa has 60 bays. The superstructure (tower) on top of the vimana has been lost over time. The temple sits on a jagati (platform).

One flight of steps leads to the jagati and another flight of steps to the mantapa. The jagati provides the devotee an opportunity for a pradakshina (circumambulation) around the temple before entering it. The jagati carefully follows the staggered square design of the mantapa and the star shape of the shrine. The mantapa originally had an open design. A visitor could see the ornate pillars of the open mantapa from the platform. The mantapa, perhaps the most magnificent one in all of medieval India, the open mantapa converted into a closed one 50 years into the Hoysala rule by erecting walls with pierced window screens. The 28 window screens sit on top of 2 m high walls with star shaped piercing and bands of foliage, figures and mythological subjects. On one such screen, king Vishnuvardhana and his queen Shanatala Devi have been depicted. An icon depicts the king in a standing posture.

Shrine

The vimana (shrine) stands at the back of the mantapa. Each side of the vimana measures 10.5 m and has five vertical sections: a large double storied niche in the center and two heavy pillar like sections on both sides of that niche. The two pillar like sections adjoining the niche have been rotated about their vertical axis to produce a star shaped plan for the shrine. The pillar like section and the niche bear many ornate sculptures, belonging to an early style. Sixty large sculptures of deities, from both Vaishnava and Shaiva faiths, stand in place. The shape of the vimana infers that the tower above would have been of the Bhumija style and not the regular star shaped tower that follows the shape of the vimana. The Bhumija towers on the miniature shrines at the entrance of the hall actually classify as a type of nagara design (being curvilinear in shape), an uncommon shape of tower in pure dravidian design. The shrine has a life size (about 6 ft) image of Kesava (a form of Vishnu) with four hands holding the discus (chakra), mace (gadha), lotus-flower (padma) and conch (Shanka) in clockwise direction. Life size sculptures of door guardians (dvarapalaka) flank the entrance to the shrine.

Pillars and Sculptures

The pillars inside the hall stand out as a major attraction, the Narasimha pillar, at one time thought to have revolved (on its ball bearings), the most popular. A rich diversity exists in their style. While all the 48 pillars and the many ceilings have decorations, nothing surpasses the finish of the four central pillars and the central ceiling. Those pillars may have been hand churned while the others had been lathe turned. All four pillars bear madanikas (celestial nymphs) 42 total, 4 inside the hall and the rest outside between the eaves on the outer walls of the hall. Also called madanakai, salabanjika or shilabalika, they epitomize the ideal female form, depicted as dancers, musicians, drummers, and rarely erotic in nature. The Darpana Sundari (beauty with mirror), “The lady with the parrot,” “The huntress” and Bhasma mohini number among the most popular madanika with tourists.

Other interesting sculptures inside the mantapa include Sthamba buttalika (pillar images), more in the Chola idiom indicating that the Hoysalas may have employed Chola craftsman along with locals. Those images have less decor than regular Hoysala sculptures, the mohini pillar providing an example.

Friezes (rectangular band of sculptures) of charging elephants (650 of them) decorate the base of the outer walls, [21] symbolizing stability and strength. In a style called horizontal treatment with friezes, above them lions, symbolizing courage and further up horses, symbolizing speed embellish the walls. Panels with floral designs signify beauty. Above them, panels depicting Ramayana and Mahabharatahave been set. Hoysala artistry preferred discretion about sexuality, mingling miniature erotic sculptures in unconspicuous places like recesses and niches. Sculptures depict daily life in a broad sense.

The doorways to the mantapa have on both sides the sculpture of Sala slaying a Tiger. Popularly known as the founder of the empire, Sala’s appears on sukanasi (nose of the main tower formed by a lower tower on top of the vestibule) next to the main tower. Legend relates that Sala killed a tiger ready to pounce on the meditating muni (saint) who sought Sala’s help in killing the tiger. Some historians speculate that the legend may have gained importance after the victory of Vishnuvardhana over the Cholas at Talakad, the tiger serving as the royal emblem of the Cholas.

The Narasimha image in the south western corner, Shiva-Gajasura (Shiva slaying demon in form of elephant) on the western side, the winged Garuda, consort of Lord Vishnu standing facing the temple, dancing Kali, a seated Ganesha, a pair consisting of a boy with an umbrella and a king (Vamana avatar or incarnation of Vishnu), Ravana shaking Mount Kailash, Durga slaying demon Mahishasura, standing Brahma, Varaha (avatar of Vishnu), Shiva dancing on demon (Andhakasura), Bhairava (avatar of Shiva) and Surya number among other important images. The sculptural style of the wall images shows close similarity to wall images in contemporary temples in northern Karnataka and adjacent Maharashtra and hence a Western Chalukya idiom.

Artists

The Hoysala artists, unlike many medieval artists, preferred to sign their work in the form of inscriptions. They sometimes revealed fascinating details about themselves, their families, guilds and place of origin. Stone and copper plate inscriptions provide more information about them. Ruvari Mallitamma, a prolific artist, had more than 40 sculptures attributed to him in Chennakesava. Dasoja and his son Chavana, from Balligavi in Shimoga district, also made many contributions. Chavana has been credited with the work on five madanika and Dasoja with four. Malliyanna and Nagoja created birds and animals in their sculptures. Artists Chikkahampa and Malloja have been credited with some the sculptures in the mantapa.


The Chennakesava Temple, Belur – The Outer Side

One post is not enough to describe the outer section of the Chennakesava Temple. But no blog can deliver the same experience as personally visiting to this amazing place. It was already drizzling when i started off checking out its outer beauty, but i did not budge.

Outside the main entrance of the temple are two statues of the Royal Emblem of the Hoysalas. Refer to my earlier posts for the description of the emblem. These emblems are found on all four entrances to this temple. Above the main entrance there is the Makaratorana and in between there is a very unique sculpture, Garuda (the man-eagle, vehicle of Lord Vishnu) carrying Lord Narasimha (Lion headed Lord Vishnu). Around this sculpture are 10 circles on which are miniature carvings of incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The entire sculpture is monolithic and seems a finger can be passed behind the entire sculpture which is exquisite art. Again, this makaratorana is found at all entrances, but the incarnation of Vishnu is different in each.

To the left of the Makaratorana, there is a lady holding a mirror admiring her beauty. There are attendants on her either side. The one on the left is offering her vermilion to apply on her forehead and the one on the right carries a monkey and a bunch of grapes to lure it. The poor monkey is disappointed and is licking its finger with a sad face. All this has been carved on a single stone and the detail in which these idols are carved makes this temple a man made wonder. There are 42 sculptures like this on the outer section of the temple and i will describe some of them as we move along. On one of the panels is carved the image of the Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana, who commissioned this temple with his wife Shantala and consorts. There is an idol of a woman with a parrot perched on her hand, being used as a messenger.

The bottom panel of the basement is carved with 644 elephants and each one’s design is different from the others. Elephant represents strength. Above Elephants, there is the row of Lions all around. As we know, lion stands for courage. Above lions, there are horses which depict speed. Above it there is circular scrollwork with miniature dancing figures or contemporary images. You can see some of the idols missing from the panels here. They were stolen in the 14th century and are currently in the Victoria Albert Museum, London. The Mahabharata is carved on small idols and the important thing to mention is that the artists concentrated on small fables also (E.g.. Bhagadatta Samhara, The audience hall of King Virata, Bheema shaking a tree to make the Kauravas fall from it) along with the main story. These stories, i am sure will not be found in any other temple.

A special mention has to me made of the various hair styles of these danseuses. These hair styles seems to be today’s fashion, however it is evident from these sculptures that they were nothing new in India. See the idol which is in a dance posture. The legs are tilted 120 degrees and the body and waist are in a different position. The artist has also taken care of putting the garlands in a proper position according to the body and legs. And mind you, everything is chiselled out of a single stone.

There is one interesting idol where a woman with donkey’s head is being loved by a man. The explanation given is that even a donkey like woman looks beautiful to a boy in teenage. There is one idol of a woman carrying Rudraveena. You can see that one string was there which is now broken. And the entire image along with the thin string is monolithic.

If you observe these idols, its exciting to notice the symmetry between the ornaments and the body is maintained perfectly keeping in mind the structure of the body. These collection of images were also chosen well. The sanctum sanctorum part has idols of Gods where as the other sections have idols of common men/women like huntress, vidushaka (joker) etc. The image that you see beside is one masterpiece. This is Narasimha, slaying the demon king Hiranyakasipa. Look the detail in which the hands with weapons and the two bodies have been carved. The intestine of Hiranyakasipa is shown taken out and it forms a garland around Narasimha. Lastly, the tongue of Narasimha is razor thin. The thought that this is all in one stone is enough to render one speechless.

One more different thought is the idol of Gajasuramardhana (Lord Shiva slaying Gajasura, the elephant headed demon king who hides Siva inside his body). Siva tears the body of the demon and comes out. The artist shows that Siva is dancing with one leg on Gajasura’s head and its skin all around him. You can also see the elephant feet. This is one depiction of this scene which you will not find in an other place.

I had discussed about the Hoysala pattern of construction in my earlier posts. This temple is on a jagati with 32 angles and each angle is in symmetry with one corner of the outer part of the temple. We will talk about the Outer part of the temple complex in the next post too…


Garuda (Temple de Chennakeshava à Belur, Inde)

Le temple de Chennakeshava, dédié à une forme locale de Vishnou, a été construit en 1117 AD à Belur, par le roi Vishnuvardhana ou Bittideva (Bittideva était le nom du roi lorsqu'il était jaïn, il s'est converti à l'hindouisme au cours de son règne) probablement pour commémorer des succès militaires.

Le complexe religieux est entouré d'une enceinte avec un gopuram d'époque Vijayanager (la décennie 1500) au-dessus de l'entrée principale.

Le sanctuaire de Chennakeshava est construit sur une plateforme en étoile, caractéristique du style hoysala. Ses murs sont très richement ornés de sculptures au raffinement extrême, ils sont totalement décorés de panneaux, de frises en registres ou de reliefs représentant des divinités.

Le sikhara au-dessus du sanctuaire a disparu ce qui donne à ce temple une allure générale moins équilibrée que celle du temple de Chennakeshava de Somnathpur, toutefois les sculptures y sont plus nombreuses et plus travaillées. C'est le premier temple de ce style à avoir été construit par les rois de la dynastie hoysala.

Ce temple est célèbre pour ses consoles très finement sculptées, situées sur les murs du hall, au niveau des chapiteaux des piliers, elles représentent des danseuses, des musiciennes, des jeunes femmes dans un écrin végétal et dans des poses de la vie quotidienne, appelées madanikas (ou mandanakai, Salabhanjika, Shalabhajika ou encore yakshi).


Chennakesava Temple:

History:

The temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala Architecture. The temple was built by King Vishnuvardhana in commemoration of his victory over the Chola kings of Talakad in 1117CE. It took 103 years to complete the construction of the temple. It has two Shiva Temples with a common platform and two garbhagrihas, one houses for Vishnuvardhana Hoysaleshwara Linga and the other for Shanthaleshwara Linga. In front of Hoysaleshwara is the Nandi mantapa and behind that is shrine of Surya with a two-meter-tall image. The Garuda (eagle) pillar facing the main temple was erected in the Vijayanaga Period, while the pillar on the right, the Deepasthamba(pillar with lamp) dates from the Hoysala period. There is a Pushkarni (Stepped well or Pond) to the right side of the main entrance. The Dravida style rajyagopura at the entrance is built by the Vijayanagara Kings, who considered this deity as one of their Kuladevatha (Family God).

Overview:

Outer walls have rows of intricate figures narrating episodes from epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata,and Bhagavad Gita. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes with no portion left blank. The intricate workmanship includes elephants, lions, horses, episodes from the Indian mythological epics, and sensuous dancers (Shilabalikas). Inside the temple are a number of ornate pillars. The madanikas or shilabalikas represent the ideal female forms such as dancers,musicians, drummers etc. Darpana Sundari (Lady with the mirror) carved on walls of Belur Temple is one of major attractions in the complex. Other figures are decorated as if they are full of life and vigor with variety of actions and movements.The doorways are guarded on either side by the gorgeously decorated dvarapalaka(doorkeepers) on either side. The doorways to the mantapa have on both sides the image of “Sala” slaying a Lion. The famous madanikas are

  1. Darpana Sundari – the lady with mirror
  2. The Lady with parrot
  3. The huntress
  4. Bhasma Mohini

Inside the Temple

An interesting sight within the sanctum is the ancient jet black Hoysala pillars. There are about 48 pillars of various sizes, shapes and designs, bearing testimony to remarkable artistry. The most popular pillar is the Narasimha Pillar which at one time could have revolved on its ball bearings. The ceilings inside the temple are well decorated. The finish of the four central pillars and the ceiling they support is great view to the eyes. These four pillars are chiseled but others were lathe tuned pillars. The center four pillars bear madanikas (Salabhanjika –celestial damsels). There are 42 of them in the temple complex, one each on the four central pillars and 38 outside the temple.Other interesting sculpture inside the mantapa are Sthamba buttalika (pillar with an image in frieze) which is more in the Chola style indicating that the hoysala may have employed Chola craftsman along with the locals. These images have less decorations compared to the other hoysala sculptures.

Outside the Temple:

The base of the outer walls are friezes of charging elephant(650 different types) which symbolizes the stability and strength. Above that it is followed by Lions which symbolize courage, then horses which symbolize speed. Above the horses are panels with floral designs and above which are sculptures with depictions from the Hindu epic Ramayana and Mahabharatha. The important Sculptures are

  1. Narasimha (a form of Vishnu) image in the south western corner
  2. Gajasurasamhara (Hindu God Shiva slaying demon in the form of elephant) on western side
  3. The winged Garuda
  4. Dancing Kali ( a form of Hindu God Durga)
  5. Seated Ganesha (Son of Lord Shiva)
  6. A boy with an Umbrella and a King( Vamana Avathar)
  7. Ravana shaking mount Kailash
  8. Durga slaying demon Mahishasura
  9. Standing Brahma
  10. Varaha (Avatar of Lord vishnu)
  11. Shiva dancing on demon (Andhakasura)
  12. Bhairava (Avatar of Lord Shiva)
  13. Pandava prince Arjuna shooting a fish seeing its reflection
  14. Sun god Surya


Indian Historical Places

India has always been in limelight for the deep rooted belief of its citizens in religion and spirituality. This inclination of the people is evident from the various temples that were constructed in the ancient period and the recent past as well. While many other ancient structures such as forts, palaces. etc., have been abandoned, the ancient temples are still operational. One such ancient temple that has always been a centre of religious and spiritual pursuits of the devotees is the Chennakesava Temple in the state of Karnataka.

Chennakesava Temple is located on the bank of Yagachi River in the city of Belur.

This historical temple was constructed during the reign of Vishnuvardhana, an emperor of the Hoysala Dynasty in the early years of the 12th century. Several reasons are cited behind the construction of this temple. A group of experts suggests that the temple signifies the success of Vishnuvardhana as an emperor, while another body of scholars says that this temple signifies the victory of Vishnuvardhana against the Chola Kingdom of south.

Another theory behind the construction of this temple cites the reason as the conversion of Vishnuvardhana from a Jain to a Vaishnav. The city of Belur where the temple is located served as the capital of the Hoysala Dynasty.

The experts have came across a total of 118 inscriptions within the temple premises. It is believed that the design and appearance of the temple is an outcome of the hard work of several artisans and architects combined.

The architectural style exhibited by the temple is known as the Karnata Dravida style.

To the top of the temple entrance, there is a super-structure, also known as the Rayagopura, which was added to the temple during the 14th century. Inside the temple complex, the Chennakesava temple is situated at the centre, while Kappe Channigraya temple stands to its right and Sowmyanayaki temple and Ranganayaki temple to its left. Two large pillars can be seen in this side of the temple. One of these pillars faces the Chennakesava temple and is known as the Garuda Stambh (Eagle Pillar), built in 14th century. The other pillar, Deep Stambha (Lamp Pillar), was built in the 13th century.

The temple is famous for several ancient sculptures and pillars. One prominent pillar of the temple is the Narasimha pillar. This pillar was earlier supported by ball bearings which gave mobility to it. A group of four pillars is chiseled intricately, showcasing celestial damsels.

The outer walls of the temple are ornamented with 650 friezes of elephants, above which there are similar depictions of horses and lions, which symbolize speed and courage. At the top of all these designs, there are sculptures showcasing events from Mahabharata and Ramayana.

To the either side of the mandapa entrance, an image of Sala, who is believed to be the founder of the dynasty, can be seen. Other important sculptures of the temple include that of Narasimha, Gajasurasamhara, Garuda, Kali, Ravana, Durga, Varaha, etc.

The temple shrine is situated towards the back side of the temple. The shrine is made up of five vertical sections. These vertical sections consist of a two storey semicircular recess and two pillars on either side. The recess of each shrine is decorated with several sculptures. There are a total of sixty sculptures combined.

The main shrine of the temple features an image of Kesava (an avatar of Lord Vishnu). This image rises to a height of approximately six feet from its base. At the entrance of this shrine, there are sculptures of guardians.

The district of Hassan where the Belur town and the Chennakesava temple are located is famous for its regional cuisines and filter coffee, a specialty of South India. Head to any one of the restaurants to enjoy the flavors of South India.

There are several hotels and lodges located close to the temple complex which offer decent rooms at a reasonable price.

Several vendors outside the temple complex sell books, souvenirs, statues and other items to the temple visitors.

The temple remains open from 07:30 a.m. to 05:30 p.m. throughout the year. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple remains closed from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., 01:00 to 03:00 p.m. and 05:00 to 05:30 p.m.

The nearest airport from Belur is located in Mangalore, at a distance of approximately 154 kilometres.

The city of Belur is well connected with other major cities of the state through government and private buses. Visitors can also opt for KSTDC Heritage Tour, which includes the Chennakesava Temple in its itinerary.

Regular passenger trains to Hassan are available from Bangalore, Mangalore and Hubli.


Hassan District – Chennakesava Temple – Belur – Part 1

There are some places when we see, we get a feeling that God himself created them. The Chennakesava Temple (also called Vijayanarayana Temple in olden days) in Belur is one of them. This is one extraordinary temple which is so vast that it took 103 years to complete. Belur is 40 kilometres from Hassan town and is on the banks of the Yagachi river.

The Chennakesava Temple was commissioned by King Vishnuvardhana in the year 1117 A.D, which many scholars believe was to promote his military success against Cholas, Chalukyas and others. A total of 118 inscriptions have been recovered from the temple complex, covering the period between c. 1117 CE to 18th century, which give details of the artists employed, grants made to the temple and renovations. The Hoysalas employed many noted architects and artisans who developed a new architectural tradition, which some historians call Karnata Dravida tradition. The master sculptor was Jakkanacharya and later his son Dankanacharya completed the construction. Jakkanacharya was entitled ‘Amara silpi’ (Immortal Sculptor). The credit of carving most of the sculptures goes to Jakkanacharya. A legend says that Dankanacharya found that the main statue of Lord Vishnu was faulty and had frog inside it. Jakkana, shocked to believe this, cuts his right hand. He will begin to build the other temple and contemplates the task. Later, the old temple(which had faulty statue) came to be known as Kappe Chennigaraaya’s temple (kappe=frog).

By the time i reached Belur, it was very cloudy and i anticipated downpour. One needs at least an hour to spend in this complex. I could have spent as much as half a day, however due to the time constraint spent two hours. The main entrance to the complex is crowned by a rajagopura built during the Vijayanagara reign in the area. The view once i entered the temple is amazing. There lies a masterpiece in front stretching wide welcoming the visitors. The temple complex, the Chennakesava temple is in the centre, facing east and flanked by Kappe Channigraya temple on its right, and a small Sowmyanayaki (Lakshmi) temple set slightly back. On its left, set slightly back is the Ranganayaki(Andal) temple. There are also shrines dedicated to Saint Ramanuja and the twelve alwars in this temple complex.

There are smaller shrines on either ways of the steps that lead inside the temple. They are very beautifully carved out of one stone with intricate designs. Each shrine has a kalasa on top and sculptures of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu beautifully carved inside. One the topmost step, you will find large life like sculptures of the Royal Emblem of the Hoysala Dynasty (Sala killing the Tiger) on either sides. The sculpture is so detailed that even some not so insignificant details like Sala holding the dagger are shown. The temple was built using soap stone which will be soft when unearthed, however turns hard as it gets exposed to light and air.

The Chennakesava temple has three entrances and the doorways have decorated sculptures called dvarapalaka (doorkeepers) on either side. Two main Sthambha (pillar) are there in this temple complex. The pillar facing the main temple, the Garuda sthambha was erected in the Vijayanagar period while the pillar on the right, the Deepa sthambha dates from the Hoysala period.  We will talk about this Deepa Sthamba after a little while. A dhwajasthamba signifies that the temple is still functional and there is a deity who is worshipped. Absence of flag post tell us that the temple is a monument.

This is just the beginning of an amazing temple constructed for over 100 years with 1000 sculptors working on it. As i move inside the temple, i look forward to have a great darshan of the beautiful Chennakesava.


Watch the video: Public Celebration at Belur math: Monks dance