When we hear about Belur and Halebidu, it is the name Hoysalas that comes to our mind. Another temple of Hoysalas equally marvellous is Veera Narayana Temple.
Veera Narayana Temple is situated in Belavadi Village of the Chikkamagaluru District. Belavadi, also known as Ekachakranagara, is very near to the famous temple towns of Belur and Halebidu. This Temple was built in the 13th Century by Veera Ballala II. While Belur and Halebidu are famous for their intricate sculpture, this temple is one of the best examples of Hoysala architecture.
Built in the Trikoota style with three vimanas, this temple is huge and spacious. The entrance of the temple is at the centre, with slanting roofs. The few steps leading up to inside of the temple are flanked by an elephant on either side. The older shrine is in the centre while the two other shrines face each other across a long Mandapa. The older shrine has one closed Mandapa and one open Mandapa, one with 13 bays and one with nine bays. The vimana of this shrine is beautifully decorated. The outer walls of the temple have running pilasters with decorative towers on top. These pilasters are beautifully carved. The two newer shrines are connected by an open Mandapa with 37 bays.
These two shrines have different plans. One is square while the other is star shaped. The vimanas, the Sukanasi and the walls are covered in bold sculptures. The figures that stand out are the ones of Krishna dancing on Kaliya, and of Garuda. The central shrine has an idol of Veera Narayana, with four arms, standing on a lotus. This figure is eight foot tall. This is the central shrine, and the oldest.
The northern shrine has a seven foot tall idol of Yoganarasimha in a sitting posture, holding the Shanka and Chakra, with Sridevi and Bhoodevi standing on either side. The Prabhavati is carved with the ten avatars of Vishnu.
The southern shrine has an enchanting eight foot image of Venugopala Krishna. Krishna, standing with his right leg in front of his left leg, leaning against a tree, is blissfully playing his flute. He is surrounded by various figures – Shravan Kumaras with folded hands, Gopikas, who are so lost in the music that one they have forgotten to cover themselves properly, a cow feeding her calf, lost in the music, ans Gopalas who are dancing to the Venu Gana. On either side of Venu Gopala stand Rukmini and Satyabhama.
Chikkamagaluru, Sringeri, Horanadu are the near by places one can visit during Belavadi trip. Belavadi Temple can be visited throughout out the year.