Belur Chennakeshava Temple: South Entrance

South entrance of the Chennakeshava Temple in Belur, Karnataka, India

South entrance to the Belur Chennakeshava Temple

South Entrance and Facade
The image shows an entrance to the temple on the south side of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple. The structure of this entrance is similar to the main entrance, which faces east.

As you can see from the image, the approach to the doorway is through two flights of steps. The first set of steps is from the ground to the platform, and the second is from the platform to the door. The flights of steps are flanked by four mini shrines, two on the ground and two on the platform. Between the shrines on the platform and the doorway, there are two sculptures – one on each side – depicting the Hoysala lānchana (emblem), which is based on a story that appears on an inscription attributed to King Vishnuvardhana and is about the founding of this dynasty.

Like the main entrance, many sculptures and sculptural reliefs adorn the facade of this entrance. As you can see from the image, the door jambs and the lintel are ornate with exquisite carvings. Carved into the bottom part of the door jambs are Hanuman and Garuda (Vishnu’s vehicle). Carvings on the pediment have the same theme as the main entrance, i.e., Narasimha (an avatar of Vishnu) carried by Garuda. Enclosing this pediment is a creeper disgorged by the Makaras sitting atop the beautifully crafted pilasters that are standing on either side of the doorway.

Mounted on the pillars near the top, but just below the eaves, are the beautifully-carved sculptures, popularly known as bracket figures. Check the Bracket Figures page for more info.

There is only one jālandhara (perforated stone window), which is on the right side, and it depicts the story of Narasimha, one of the avatars of Vishnu, slaying Hiranyakashipu in a gruesome manner by ripping off his entrails with his bare claws. The left side jālandhara was most likely destroyed, so it is now closed with stones.

Located 150 miles west of Bengaluru in southern India, the Belur Chennakeshava Temple is a magnificent temple dedicated to Vishnu. King Vishnuvardhana of the Hoysala dynasty commissioned the temple in 1167 CE to commemorate his victory over the Cholas at Talakadu. After his death, his successors – Narasimha I and Veera Ballala II – continued the work, and it took 103 years to complete it.

Related Images
Main Entrance
South Entrance
North Entrance

Shilābālikes – Bracket figures mounted below the eaves
Darpana Sundari, Sukha Bhashini, Nātya Sundari, Gāna Sundari, Kesha Sundari, Tribhangi, Nagna Sundari, Kapāla Durga, Koravanji, Nātya Mohini, Betegārthi

Male Bracket Figures
Flute playing male musician
Narthaka – Davane playing male dancer
Davane playing male musician

Related Pages
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
Kappe Chennigaraya Temple
Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Masterpiece of Hoysala Temple Art
Badami, Badami Cave – 1, Badami Cave – 2, Badami Cave – 3, Badami Cave – 4
Durga Temple at Aihole

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