10 km from the famous Hoyasaleswara temple at Halebid, there is a small village named Belavadi which does not seem to be a very interesting place to explore unless you come across this hidden architectural wonder of the Hoysala architecture – Veera Narayana Temple. This temple was built in the 13th century by Veera Ballala II. When we reached in the evening, we were the only visitors in the temple with complete privacy and time to explore the temple.
As per legend, Belavadi is said to be the place mentioned in Mahabharatha where Pandava prince Bheema killed the demon Bakasura.
Some interesting things to know:
- The temple is dedicated to Hindu god Vishnu and all three shrines have idols of the Hindu god Vishnu.
- It is a Trikuta structure (three towers with three shrines) dedicated to Veeranarayana, Venugopala and Yoga- Narasimha.The older shrine is in the center is of Veera Narayana, while the two other shrines face each other across a long Mandapa.The northern shrine has an idol of Yoganarasimha and southern shrine has an idol of Venugopala.
- Like other Hoysala temples, the material used in temple is Soapstone.
- Most of the pillars are lathe-turned and bell shaped, while a few have decorative carvings on them.
Interesting mythological stories on sculptures:
Depiction of Mahabharatha event of Arjuna firing arrow to pierce the eye of a golden fish whilst only looking at its reflection during attending the Swayamvara of Panchala princess Draupadi.
Krishna lifting the Govardhana mountain:
Beautifully depicted is the Hindu God Krishna ligting with one hand Govardhana mountain and held it up as protection to his people and cattle from the rain. Indra finally accepted defeat and recognized Krishna as supreme.
- Getting there: It is 30 km south of Chickmagaluru, town in Chikmagalur District, Karnataka and 10 km from Halebidu and 222 km from Bengalaru.
- Best time to visit: Nov – February
- Must visit the following Hoysala temples:
- Hoyasaleswara temple, Halebidu (Hoysaleswara Temple, Halebidu – What distinguishes Hoysala architecture from other historical monuments of the same era ?)
- Chennakeshava Temple, Belur (Chennakesava Temple, Belur – Hoysala Architecture excellence)
- Laxmi Devi temple in the quiet Doddagaddavalli (Laxmi Devi temple, Doddagaddavalli – a lesser known Hoysala gem)