“Architecture is a visual art, and the buildings speak for themselves.” The architectural beauty of Chennakesava Temple attracts tourists from across the globe. Built during the rein of the Hoysala Empire in the year 1117, the temple is ideally located on the banks of Yagachi river in Belur. Later the temple was renovated in the 12th century by the then rulers of the same dynasty to make it more charming. It is situated at 40 km from Hassan. The temple was originally named as Vijayanarayana. The temple is dedicated to Lord Chennakesava, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The literal meaning of the term Chennakesava is 'handsome Kesava'.
The main shrine of the temple is huge and beautiful. There are three gateways to the temple and the doorways are festooned with sculptures called dvarapalaka (doorkeepers). The temple was built in Nagara (North Indian) style of architecture. There are beautiful images of the Hindu deities in the temple.
Dotted with many pillars decorated with life-size sculptures, the temple hall is notable. Don't miss the Narasimha pillar which at one point of time, it is said, could revolve on its ball bearings. The most striking of all are the grand central pillars(four in number), which are the specimens of ornate lathe-turned bell pillars. These hand chiseled pillars boast of madanikas (celestial damsels). The work at the ceiling of the temple is simply mind blowing.