Channakesava Temple in Karnataka
Most of the temples in Karnataka depicts Hoysala dynasty architecture.Among them Channakeshava temple is the one which has excellent Hoysala architecture located in a small town on the banks of River Yagachi in Belur. Channakesava means “handsome Kesava” (Lord Krishna) an incarnation of God Vishnu who is enshrined as the main deity in this Channakeshava temple in Karnataka.
In this Channakeshava temple the deity of Channakesava is of 6 foot height in standing posture by holding a disc and conch with his two upper hands and holds a lotus and club with his two lower hands. The Channakeshava temple took 103 years to complete its construction which was started in 1116 AD. The Channakeshava temple is a star-shaped temple with images of the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu accompanied by his two wives- Bhudevi and Goddess Lakshmi.
The temple of Channakeshava was built of grey green chlorite carved with intricate sculptures that depicts scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The walls of this temple are carved with mythological figures, friezes of charging elephants. The Chennakesava temple has a big open hall, a huge platform and a shrine which clearly reflects the Hoysala architectural style. The temple complex has about 108 inscriptions in Kannada.
To the left side of the Lord Channakeshava, there is shrine Kappe Chenniga Raya. Kappe Chenniga Raya received this name because a frog was found in a cavity in this Deity, after it was completed. This Deity was meant to be the main Deity of the temple, but because it had a cavity another Deity was brought from Bab.
History of Channakeshava Temple:
According to the history the Channakeshava Temple was built to honor king Vishuvardhana’s conversion from Jainism to Vaishnavism. Vishnuvardhana was the Hoysala king who constructed Channakesava temple. It is believed that the Channakesava temple was built as a symbol of victory of King Vishnuvardhana against the Western Chalukya Empire.
During the construction of this temple many artisans and skilled architects have worked to build the temple.