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Temples in South India >> Karnataka >> Channakeshava Temple

Channakeshava Temple Belur
At a distance of about 220 Kms from the metro city of Bangalore, Belur is considered as the Banaras of South and is thus also known as Dakshina Varanasi. A small town located on the banks of River Yagachi, it is very popular for its spectacular temples which are among the best if one wants to study temple architecture. According to inscriptions, the Channakeshava Temple was built to memorialize king Vishuvardhana's conversion from Jainism to Vaishnavism. He commemorated his conversion by the formation of many temples of unmatched brilliance, of which the temple of Channakeshava was no doubt the best.
The Channakeshava Temple stands tall, giving a feeling that one is entering an ostentatious royal court. As one steps onto the temple's revered platform, in a corner of the vast courtyard are tossed a golden horse and a temple chariot. The winged figure of Garuda, Lord Vishnu's carrier, stands at the entry, facing the temple, its palms touching in homage. The main structure of the temple stands as a homogenous architectural unit on a raised platform. The entire structure with its intricate ornamentation shimmers like metal.

Temple architecture

Hoysaleshwara Temple, 1120 Ornate navaranga HalebiduMain article: Hoysala architecture
The Hoysalas claim to immortality arises from their contribution to Karnataka culture, Kannada literature and their own unique style of vesara architecture.

Historians such as Henry Cousens and James Furgusson observed that the Hoysala style of architecture is essentially an extension and culmination of the vesara style initiated by the Badami Chalukyas and further enhanced by the Kalyani Chalukyas. In fact, the carved doorways, lathe turned pillars and pierced window screens used frequently by the Hoysalas is also commonly seen in earlier Kalyani Chalukya temples of north and central Karnataka. The Star shaped platform on which many Hoysala temples were constructed, the Jagati, the Zig- Zag character of the walls and the density of sculpture on gray soap stone (chloritic schist) is however a unique features of Hoysala architecture.