Belvadi, 10km from Halebidu, is an ancient, picturesque village, dotted with temples, chief among them being Sri Veera Narayana temple, an excellent specimen of Hoysala architecture. Belvadi is via the village of Javagal. The temple is under ASI care. A couple of stone elephants stand astride the flight of steps leading to the temple.
Sri Veera Narayana temple was built of soapstone, around 1200 CE by Veera Ballala II Hoysala. Belavadi was then known as Ekachakranagara. It is said to be the place where the Pandavas lived, disguised as learned men. They came here after escaping from the House of Wax that their cousin, Duryodhana, had built for them, and then set fire to it. During their stay here, they helped free the villagers from the clutches of the dreaded demon, Bakasura.
This is a trikuta, three-towered temple, famous for its architecture, while its Belur and Halebidu counterparts are better known for their exquisite carvings. There are three shrines here, two facing each other, while the third contains a closed mandapam. In the western part of the shrine is the central sanctum dedicated to Sri Veera Narayana. The presiding deity is 2.4 metres tall (eight feet), with four hands. Sri Gopala Krishna, in the eastern wing, is also more than two metres tall, and is playing the flute. In the third shrine sits Sri Yoga Narashima almost as tall as the other two idols. The pillars in the mukha mandapam and navaranga are lathe turned and bell shaped.
The vimanas are crowded with figures and motifs, more of which can be seen all across the elevation, along the roofing. There is Narasimha in the yoga mudra, Sri Veera Narayana on two tiers, over the Vimana, while on the third and top tier is Krishna toying with Kaliya, the snake. Flower and snake motifs dominate the sides of the elevation, with niches for the gods. A rich tapestry of filigreed thoranam runs at the lintel level. Then there is Sri Gopala Krishna with the flute. Sri Krishna again in the Kaliya mardhanam, this time holding the snake with His left hand. Then there is another shikara with six layers of carvings, one over the other, beginning with Garuda, and finishing at the top with Vishnu in the Kurma, the amphibious avatar, the second in the order of the Dasavathara. The woman with the mirror is here as well. There is one more Krishna with Kaliya, but with a major part of the snake missing.
Also in the village is the newly-built Sri Udhbava Ganapati temple, managed by the Sringeri Mutt. Sri Ganapati here is swayambhu, said to be emerging from a huge piece of rock. He is not yet fully manifested, though He is said to be growing.
How to get there
Belwadi is 10km from Halebidu, and 29km southeast of Chikamagalur, the district headquarters, on the Chikamagalur javagal highway. Accommodation: Belur or Chikamagalur, but Belur is nearer to all three Hoysala temples.
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