Belur was the early capital of the Hoysala Empire. With Halebidu which is only 16 km away, this is one of the major Tourist attractions of Karnataka. Belur is located in Hassan District of Karnataka.
The temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture.. It was built by king Vishnuvaradan in commemoration of his victory over the Cholas at Talakad in 1117 CE.
The architectural beauty of Belur and Halebid,reminds one of the Tanjavur Architecture,believed to have been done by the Sthapathis brought from Tanjore by Vishnuvaradan,after his vistory!According to inscriptions discovered here, it was also referred to as Velapuri.
The main attraction in Belur is the Chennakeshaav temple complex which contains the Chennakesavau Temple,meaning handsome Vishnu,created by Vishnuvaradan! (dedicated to Chennakeshava)
There is a pushkarani or stepped well to the right side of the main entrance. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes with no portion left blank. The intricate workmanship includes elephants, lions, horses, episodes from the Indian mythological epics, and sensuous dancers (Shilabalikas). Inside the temple are a number of ornate pillars. Darpana Sundari (Lady with the mirror) carved on walls of Belur Temple is one of major attractions in the complex.