It took a lot of time for me to start writing this post as i was not very sure which is the temple i was looking at in my pictures. After lot of browsing and comparing photographs, i figured out that this is in fact the Veera Narayana Temple in Belavadi. Nice lesson learnt. Finish writing about the places as soon as possible. After all, i am writing about this almost 1.5 years after my travel.
This was one of the last destinations on my first day of the Hassan District Tour. I was very tired and my feet were paining with all the barefoot strolls in the Belur and Halebidu Temples spanning hours and i had very little time. Belavadi is a small village situated 29 kilometres south east of Chikmagalur on Chikmagalur — Javagal Highway and 10 kilometres North West of Halebidu. It was a pleasant site with lawns when i went over to the temple. You see first see a gopura kind of a construction (very wide though) with two elephant sculptures at either side of the entrance.
Once you cross this hall, you will come across one more small pillared mantapa again with elephants on either side. The pillars are round with nice cuts. It is evident that these two halls are not maintained by either the government or the locals. As you pass the mantapa, you will enter the main temple complex with the dhwajasthambha and the temple.
This ornate trikuta (three towers) temple was built in 1200 CE by Hoysala Veera Ballala II and Chloritic schist (Soap Stone) was used to build it. There are three shrines inside dedicated to Veeranarayana, Venugopala and Yoga- Narasimha. The plan of this temple is unique in that two of the shrines (Venugopala and Yoga Narasimha) face each other on either side of a wide and spacious open mantapa (hall) containing 37 bays. There is a small entrance in the middle of the hall through which i entered the temple. The mantapa looks very beautiful with the two rows of pillars. An important feature of the temple is the stone bench which runs all round the edge of the mukhamantapa. It is ornamented with rosettes and plasters. The shrines were locked. However, there were some locals sitting outside the temple and they informed the caretaker at once and they were opened while i was busy taking pictures :).
22 pillars, 20 of which are round bell-shaped ones, support the Mukhamantapa of the Veera Narayana shrine and the other two are star-shaped. It has an 8 ft. (2.4 m) tall image of Veera Narayana with four hands, well elaborated with ornamentation and standing on a padmasana (lotus seat), which is considered one of the best examples of Hoysala art. The inner walls of this shrine are plain but its roof is well decorated. The tower of the shrine consists of three tiers of decorated miniature roofs.
The other two symmetrical shrines have different plans. One shrine is square while the other is star shaped. In all other aspects the two shrines are identical. All shrines have well sculptured decoration on the towers and the sculptures on the walls are bold and look good from a distance. The southern shrine has an 8 ft. (2.4 m) tall image of Venugopala including a garuda pedestal (Krishna with flute) standing cross-legged and his fingers are lifted as if playing the flute. The northern shrine has a 7 ft. (2.1 m) tall image of Yoga Narasimha with protruding eyes, sitting in a yoga posture. The image has a band carved around it to help keep the legs in position.
The outer wall of the temple shows the older Hoysala style where there is one eave running around the temple where the superstructure meets the wall of the shrine and below this are decorative towers on pilasters.
This was the end of my very tiring first day. I sat happily in my cab to take me back to my hotel in Hassan. A hot water bath erased all my pain. After having a nice dinner with a beer, i looked at all my photographs for the day and slept thinking of my journey on the second day starting with the Manjarabad Fort, Sakleshpur.