On our annual trip this time, we visited Belur and Mullayyanagiri together with Hornad and Sringeri. This time with the in-laws in tow. It was raining and added to the beauty of the nature during the drive.
We started from Hassan at 9 am in a hired Indica and reached Belur in less than an hour. I have been to Belur innumerable times in the past. I was a child though and didn’t understand the value or beauty of those stone temples. So this time I was keen and curious. We went straight to the temple and hired a guide. The guides are all certified and the fare is standard and fixed (200 Rs). They will be waiting for the tourists and will take turns. I was very happy to see women guides helping and taking foreign tourists around.
The main Chennakeshava temple construction was started by the Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana and took more than 100 years to complete, hence witnessing three generation of Hoysala Kings. Most of the sculptures have been done by renowned sculptor Jakanachari. The darpana sundari (mirror beauty) is one of the most famous statues. The other structures inside the premises include Kappe-Chennigaraya temple, two shrines, a kalyani filled with water and a dhwaja sthamba (flag post).
Inside the temple is very dark and as usual many pillars can be seen. One particular pillar has very intricate carvings. It is said to contain the miniatures of all the major statues carved outside. And there is a flashlight for the sole purpose of viewing the sculpted ceiling. There is a raised platform in the centre, meant to be used as dancing platform in those days.
The temple is marvelous and I was spellbound by the sculptures. With such patience and devotion did the sculptors dedicate their time and energy to producing such marvels. It did make me wonder if I could ever gather so much of confidence, concentration and patience in doing one thing which I knew took ages to complete. We all want to see immediate results, don’t we? Which made me realize how ordinary I am and hence can not create history. So much to learn from history and we hardly realize it during school, as we just want to pass and get good marks than learn something meaningful. Anyways that’s a post for another day.
We bade good-bye to our guide after learning about Hoysalas, their architecture, many important sculptures and spent sometime thinking about the by-gone era and its splendor. Then it was time to leave.