A fine specimen of Hoysala architecture

When Rukmangada gave a piece of land nestled in the Western Ghats to his younger daughter, the local populace fondly referred to it as Chikka magalur, town of the younger daughter. Little must he have realised that that people from all over the globe would visit his daughter’s place for various reasons. If one travels through the region, one cannot be blind to its natural beauty, full of hills and dales, rivulets and streams, trees and shrubs, animals, birds and insects of every hue and shape. Apart from its natural beauty, the place is also well known for its architectural splendour as it houses a number of splendid temples by virtue of having been the seat of the Hoysala kingdom.

Travellers who have come to Chikmagalur must have realised that a short stay will never do justice to their trip if they have a penchant for savouring the best that history and nature have to offer in the region.

However, you will feel rewarded if you detour 29 kilometers towards the southeast of the district and find yourself in Belavadi. This ancient township houses one of the lesser known, yet a fine specimen of Hoysala architecture by way of the Veeranarayana temple.

The temple, a signature relic of its age and its creators has not failed to attract connoisseurs of art and the devout to its premises over the centuries. It is believed that this temple was originally built in the thirteenth century by Hoysala Veera Ballala II for installing the imposing four armed-standing image of Maha Vishnu. 
Subsequent rulers added two more premises to the main temple in a way that complemented the main temple. Archaeologists are of the opinion that the building material Chlorite schist which lends itself to chiselling coupled with the skills of talented and imaginative artistes has resulted in such amazing creations. Though the temple at Belavadi does not fall in the pattern of its cousins in Belur and Halebid in terms of intricate sculptures, it stands apart in terms of architecture and completion.

The temple premises consists of a series of quadrangles of different sizes which were probably put to use for conducting public gatherings.

There are several closed quadrangles called mantapas with good ventilation probably to conduct meetings for niche groups or during times of inclement weather conditions.

The large spaces are punctuated with typical Hoysala pillars connecting the main shrine from two ancillary ones that flank it.  The walls of the temple appear to have been the canvas for the sculptor who has left no stone unturned to make it stunningly charming. A connoisseur of art will vouch for the fact if one does not spend at least ten minutes looking at the intricately worked ceiling then it will amount to insulting artistes who have painstakingly worked on them.

 The local population believes that the history of Belavadi dates back to the Mahabharata. They also refer to their native land as Ekachakranagara where the Pandavas and Kunthi spent their time incognito after the lac palace was burnt.