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Belur Chennakeshava Temple: Kappe Chennigaraya – Ugra Narasimha carved into the lintel of the south garbhagriha door


Ugra Narasimha
The image shows a narrative sculptural relief depicting Narasimhavatara, the fourth avatar of Vishnu, carved into the lintel of the entrance to the south garbhagriha of the Kappe Chennigaraya Temple.

For a list and description of all the ten avatars of Vishnu, check the Dashavatara painting on the Hampi Virupaksha Temple Murals.

In this avatar, Vishnu has man’s torso and lion’s face and claws. He adopted this form to kill an asura named Hiranyakashipu, who wanted to take revenge on Vishnu for killing his brother Hiranyaksha in his previous avatar, i.e., Varahavatara.

Check Vishnu’s incarnation Narasimha slaying Hiranyakashipu for a detailed explanation of the Narasimhavatara story.

The relief depicts Vishnu with the lion head and human torso having multiple hands with claws. With the body of Hiranyakashipu lying on his lap, Vishnu is seen ripping the entrails of Hiranyakashipu with his claws. On the bottom left is Garuda, Vishnu’s vehicle, kneeling with his hands-folded. Surrounding this relief is a creeper making several circular patterns, each of which contains a small carving.

The Kappe Chennigaraya Temple is situated on the south side of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple complex. Commissioned by Shantala Devi, the pattada rani (principal queen consort) of King Vishnuvardana, the construction of this temple began at the same time as the main temple, i.e., in 1117 CE.

Kappe Chennigaraya Images
East Facade, North Facade
Navaranga Pillars, Dance Floor, Venugopala in the South Garbhagriha, Lakshminarayana in the Ceiling
Outer Wall around the West Garbhagriha

Related Images
Vishnu’s incarnation Narasimha slaying Hiranyakashipu carved into the outer wall of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple
Lakshmi – Narasimha mounted on the outer wall of the Somanathapura Keshava Temple
Narasimhavatara inside Cave – 3 of the four rock-cut caves of Badami
Dashavatara (Ten Incarnations of Vishnu) painted on the ceiling of Hampi Virupaksha Temple

Related Pages
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Bracket Figures
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Navaranga
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Masterpiece of Hoysala Temple Art
Hampi Virupaksha Temple Murals
Badami, Cave – 1, Cave – 2, Cave – 3, Cave – 4

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