Chennakeshava Temple Bangalore

The Chenna Kesava Swami (Lord Vishnu) temple is situated on the banks of the Gundlakamma River. The Chennakesava Swami Temple originally called Vijayanarayana Temple was built on the banks of the Yagachi River in Belur, which is an early capital of the Hoysala Empire. Belur is 40 kilometers from Hassan and 220 km from the city Bangalore, in Hassan district of Karnataka state, India. The Chennakesava literally means "handsome Kesava" and is a form of Hindu God Vishnu.

Belur is well-known for its marvelous temples, built during the rule of Hoysala dynasty. The Chenna Kesava Swami (Lord Vishnu) temple now has been listed under UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Madanapalli in Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh is also holy with a temple dedicated to Chenna Kesava Swami (Lord Vishnu). The Chenna Kesava Swami temple here is situated 5 kms away from Mulakalacheruvu village of Madanapalli.

It is believed that the temple was built by the Vijayanagaran Kings between 1405-1459 A.D as every corner of the temple shows the Vijayanagaran style of architecture in it. It is also an admired piligrim destination because of the Sri Lakshmi Chennakesava Swamy temple.The Mahadwara (main entrance) of the temple is marked by a multi-storeyed gopuram (temple tower) facing the east side. As you enter the compound wall of the temple, you can see a tall "dweepasthambam" (pillar containing lamps) about 60 feet that glows during night time giving a marvellous look to the temple.

The Chenna Kesava Swami temple was commissioned by the King of Hoysala Sri Vishnuvardhana in 1117 CE. Scholars are divided about the reason why King of Hoysala Vishnuvardhana commissioned the construction of the Chenna Kesava Swami temple. The military success of Vishnuvardhana is considered a probable reason. Some believe Vishnuvardhana commissioned the temple to surpass his overlords, the Western Chalukya Empire (who ruled from Basavakalyan), after his military victories against them. According to an additional theory, Vishnuvardhana was celebrating his victory against the Cholas of Tamil country in the battle of Talakad, which resulted in the annexation of Gangavadi (modern southern Karnataka) by the Hoysalas. Another explanation points to King Vishnuvardhana's conversion from Jainism to Vaishnavism, considering this is predominantly a Vaishnava temple. The Hoysalas engaged many noted architects and artisans who developed a new architectural tradition, which some historians call Karnatkaa Dravida tradition. A total of 118 inscription have been recovered from the temple complex, covering the period between c. 1117 CE to 18th century, which give details of the artists employed, grants made to the temple and renovations,etc.

dweepasthambam - Pillar - Lamp

As per the great myth has it that when Garuda was carrying "Madhupatra" (nectar) from Indraloka (after fighting with Lord Indra to release his mother from slavery), a drop fell down at this place and turned into a sacred pool. The eminence of the pool came to be recognized, when a distressed farmer jumped into it to commit suicide and found himself turned into an young man. He then made his wife and oxen to dip into the pool and they too regained their early stages. When the news of the pool reached SatyaLoka, worried Lord Brahma sought the help of Lord Vishnu and Siva. Lord Hanumanji was ordered, by Lord Shiva and Brahma, to cover up the water in the pool and Lord Hanuman dropped a mountain into it. surprisingly, the mountain started floating instead of sinking.

Then Lord Vishnu and lord Siva clamped their feet at its side and the imprints of their foot can still be seen. The foot print of Lord Siva became famous as 'Rudrapada' and that of Vishnu as 'Vishnupada'. The galigopuram was constructed in such a mode that the sunrays would pass through three holes in the Garudalwar mandir between 6.40 a.m. and 7 a.m. every day for 12 days from December 16. The rays falling at the centre of the Garudalwar temple would reflect on the idols in the sanctum sanctorum making them glow with golden hues. An incredible architectural feat that speaks volume of the expertise of the artisans of the Sri krishna devaraya period. According to the myth, the Lord killed a demon by name Kesi, so he became recognized as Kesava here. As the Lord was remarkably beautiful and accompanied by his consort Lakshmi, he was worshipped here as Lakshmii Chennakesava Swamy.

The temple, constructed in the year 1425 and known for its legends as well as archaeological marvels, has wonderful potential for development as a pilgrims and tourists centre. Apart from marvelously sculptured gopurams , the temple has a attractive 40-pillared mandapam.The half constructed Galigopuram was accomplished in the stewardship of late Y.Lingaraju the then Revenued by Sirasthadar.

Significance of the Temple

Apart from magnificently sculptured gopurams, the Chenna Kesava Swami temple has a beautiful 40-pillered mandapam with carvings of Anjaneya, Krishna , Garuda , Vigneshwara and Lakshmi with their respective vahanas. In the Kalyana Mandapam there are 6 musical pillars that produce the 7 musical notes when tapped. The Chenna Kesava Swami temple is the main attraction for tourists visiting this city. The temple galigopuram is very tall and can be seen 5 km away from the city.

Time to visit

Every day people can visit and take the blessings of god. Every year in the month of March and April, there will be a mela, an annual festival for more than 10 days, at that time it is assumed that at least 100,000 people visit the Chenna Kesava Swami temple. There is a big "teru" or chariot where they take the utsav sculpture of the god during this ceremony. Recently they have demolished the old vehicle car and constructed a new vehicle car.

Other places to visit

There are some other equally prominent temples in the village like Sri Ramalayam, Chandra Mouleeswara Alayam and Kota Choudeeswara Alayam. These temples are not very popular as they are situated in the remote village but they are of great historical importance.

How to reach the temple

By Road: Belur is 40 kilometers from Hassan and 220 km from the city Bangalore by road.

By Rail: The nearest Railway junction is at Hassan, also you can alight at Arasikere and proceed towards Belur via Halebeedu. The Golden Chariot starting from Bangalore, also takes you to Hassan by train and then by road to visit Belur.

By Air: Currently Bangalore International Airport is the nearest, proceeding either by road is advisable. Once Hassan Airport becomes active, it would serve as the nearest airport.