Viranarayana temple complex, Belavadi, Karnataka, a sermon in stone

Veeranarayana temple, Belavadi KA,

The state of Karnataka has lots of Hindu temples and among them those that were built in Hoysala architecture are unique and attract lots of tourist for their aesthetically designed interiors, intricate sculptures, ornate  gopuara, etc.  This awe-inspiring architecture, gently deviated from the Dravida style of temples design became a prominent feature under the rule of the Hoysala Empire between the 11th and 14th centuries and it is a historical and cultural legacy of the Karnataka region. 

The Veera Narayana temple, also also known  as the Viranarayana temple at  Belavadi, close to Halebidu, Chikkamagaluru district   came up around 1200 CE.   Fairly well preserved you may call it a three temple complex   with three  separate sanctums square in plan accessible through a common large square Ranga-mandapa Three gods enshrined in the three sanctuaries are  Veeranarayana with four arms carrying Shangu, Chakra, etc.,  on a Lotus pedestal with Sri Devi and Bhumi Devi,, Gopala (Krishna playing a flute), another form of Vishnu, and Yoga-Narasimha (yet another avatar of Vishnu, sitting in a yoga posture) facing  east, north and south directions respectively. It is a Vaishnava temple and the main deity in the (central section) sanctum/ garbhagriha is 8 ft (2.4 m) tall stone idol of  Narayana. The builder was  Hoysala King Veera Ballala II and this one is the largest temple built by him.. Because of three garbhagriha (sanctums) or Sreckovil, there are three different prakara (Prathakshana path).

 God Yoga Narasimha, Belavadi

God Krishna with flute Belavadi

God Narayana, Belavadi

Veeranarayana temple Belavadi KA

Above image: Veeranarayana Or Vira Narayana (god: Vishnu) temple Belavadi KA  right shrine, rear shrine in the backdrop, It is a temple with three shrine -Trikuta built  by  Hoysala emperor in 1200 CE. photo credit; Dinesh Kannambadi..........

lathe-turned pillars Veeranarayana temple, Belavadi KA wikipedia.

Being managed by the ASI the Archaeological Survey of India Bengaluru Circle, the Veeranarayana temple is a nationally protected monument of India for its grandeur architectural features carved from soap stones. The polished lathe turned pillars, nice carvings of jewels on the sculptures, ornate Shikara  and  amazing rock panels depicting episodes from the life of god Krishna.  Such mind-boggling stone carvings  are rare rare in other parts of state. 

For unknown reasons the three temple complex was not built in the same period and additions were made at different time frame as evidenced by the newer parts with lesser height, connecting passages and plan of the cross section. The temple shows damages in some parts an part is  it is obvious additional construction would have taken place before the damages that were likely to have been inflicted by raids from enemies. 

 The oldest  part is tha Veeranarayana shrine built by 1200 CE, likely complete about 1200 CE. Subsequent additions included103 ft long Ranga-mandapa  along with the shrines for Gopala and Yoga-Narasimha. The latter were  built by 1206 CE. 

The temple complex has two closed mantapas, one with thirteen bays and another with nine bays, at the end of which is a central shrine. The spacious hall has  thirty seven bays.

The third shrine is an older one with plain  inner walls but  well decorated roof. The temple complex has fifty nine bays in all characteristic of  many Hoysala  polished lathe-turned pillars supporting the mandapas. 

Veeranarayana temple

Veeranarayana temple Belavadi KA

outer mantapa Veeranarayana temple Belavadi KA

Above images: Veeranarayana temple Belavadi KA -  Note the  eaves running around the temple' outer wall (top image)but partial in the image below.  Eaves refer to edges of the roof which overhang the face of a wall and, normally, project beyond the side of a building.............................

The old-styled outer wall of the temple has  eaves running around the temple where the superstructure meets the wall of the shrine. Below this there are  are miniature decorative towers on pilasters (aedicule) and is followed by a second eves. A panel of Hindu deities and their attendants (frieze) are below this eves followed by a set of five moldings that form the base of the wall.  The two newer shrines have  a square sanctum, with one shrine square in plan while  the other being  star shaped (stellate).

outer mantapa,ornate roof. Belavadi

ornate roof, Veeranarayana temple, Belavadi KA wikipedia.

The superstructureor or gopura  over each of three shrines is connected to a low protrusion tower called Sukanasi that has two tiers of decorated miniature roofs. An interesting  feature is all three  shrines have fairly large and bold sculptured decoration on the towers that can  be viewed from a distance.

Ornate vimana,Veeranarayana temple, Belavadi

Belavadi is 11 KM (7 mi) north of Halebidu, about 40 km (25 mi) north of Hassan city, and about 29 km (18 mi) SE of Chikmagalur town.,_Belavadi