Sri Veeranarayana Temple, Belavadi, Karnataka

What draws me towards these Hoysala Temples is the ‘exquisite beauty of sculptures’ in the temples! Both interiors and exteriors have been chiseled with equal devotion and details! This style of architecture has been flourishing in Karnataka region since 11th century. Several temples (approx 92 only in records) have been built; some have unfortunately surrendered to the crumbling effects of TIME!

Here is a virtual tour of Veeranarayana Temple, Belavadi.

But first the Mahabharata connection

Belavadi village was known as Ekachakranagara during the Mahabharata times. It was here Bheema, the second of five Pandava brothers killed the demon Bakasura. This demon used to terrorize the villagers, so out of fear the villagers used to send cart full of food to satisfy his huge hunger. Bheema offered himself as food and went in the cart to Bakasura. After a good fight Bheem killed the demon. I had grown up listening to this story several times, never dreamed that I would visit this legendary place some day!

Veeranarayana Temple Belavadi 1Veeranarayana Temple Exteriors 2

History of Veeranarayana Temple, Belavadi

Veeranarayana Temple was built by King Veera Ballala II in 12th century AD. This is one of the largest Hoysala temple built in those times. Historians claim that King Ballala II’s conquests had made the Hoysalas the most powerful dynasty of the Deccan. He was “the most outstanding among Hoysala kings”, and historian William Coelho in comparing Ballala II to King Vishnuvardhana writes, “He vied in glory with his grandfather“. King Veera Ballala II constructed the beautiful Amrutheshwara Temple; I had visited it in December 2015.

Architecture of Veeranarayana Temple


The entrance to Veeranarayana Temple Belavadi is impressive. The eastern entrance to the main courtyard has an elevated porch. Inside the temple is surrounded by well manicure green lawns. The steps to the temple is flanked by two well-sculpted elephants. Walking in towards the sanctum door was like crossing a path lined with mammoth sandstone pillars. This area is sabhamantapa, where the elders of the village would have assembled to discuss matters of importance. There is seating arrangement all around. The pillars are round, huge and hard to give a complete hug to some of them, and each with a different design.

Veeranarayana Temple Belavadi 2Veeranarayana Temple PillarVeeranarayana Temple Seating


The ceilings are exquisitely carved, some have geometric patterns and others have figures of Gods and warriors in different postures. Just a few minutes of photography of the ceilings hurt my neck; I wondered how the sculptors of those days did this marvelous work without any modern amenities!

Veeranayana Temple Cielings

3 Shrines

Veeranarayana Temple is a trikuta (tri – 3, kuta – shrines) style of temple. There are 3 gopuram. The three Gods worshipped here are:Veeranarayana, Gopalkrishna and Yoga Narasimha, 3 avatars of same God, Lord Vishnu! Each idol is huge in size and beautifully carved. The main sanctum houses Veera Narayana. A seven-foot image with four hands, standing on a lotus pedestal is worshipped. The amazing architectural skill demonstrated here is that on March 23, the sun’s rays fall on the navel portion of the image. The left houses Gopalakrishna, an eight-foot image of Lord Krishna in tribhanga pose. He is shown playing flute and flanked by Rukmini and Sathyabhama on either sides. The right gopuram houses Yoga Narasimha in yoga pose, a carved band around his knees and eyes protruding. Unforgettable!


We spent equal amount of time going around the temple as much we spent inside because the exteriors too is carved with numerous figures and designs. Vimanas (towers) are decorated with sculptures such as kirtimukhas (gargoyles). The outer wall of the temple starts from the top with eaves running around the temple where the superstructure meets the wall of the shrine. Below this are miniature decorative towers on pilasters (shrines). This is followed by second eaves. Then there is elaborate panel of Hindu deities and their attendants are below. Further down, these eves are followed by a set of five moldings that form the base of the wall. This is more or less the same pattern followed by all Hoysala temples.

Veeranarayana Temple ExteriorsVeeranarayana Temple Exteriors 1Veeranarayana Temple Exteriors 6

Location of Veeranarayana Temple

Belavadi village is 29kms from Chikamagalur, 220kms from Bangalore. The temple is on a small diversion from Chikmagalur-Javagal Highway. There is a signboard indicating the direction. Veeranarayana Temple is a must visit if you are anywhere near this place because it is just 10kms north of Halebid.

Veeranarayana Temple Exteriors 7

#traveltip 1. No guide around this place, it will be good to read up about the place to know what you can expect to see there.

#traveltip 2. If you visit on March 23rd you can see the rising sun’s rays falling on the navel of idol of Veeranarayana.


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Lakshmi Devi Temple of Doddagaddavalli, Hassan, Karnataka

36 Responses to “Sri Veeranarayana Temple, Belavadi, Karnataka

  • India has such beautiful architecture. The temple looks beautiful. Would love to visit it.

  • What a stunning temple – massive yet so intricate at the same time. Fantastic!

  • The craftsmanship of these Hoysala temples amazes me…such beautiful intricate carvings.

    • Why is there a red carpet…some VIP was on a visit? or is it always kept there, Indrani?

      • Indrani Ghose
        2 years ago

        It was there, I didn’t ask why… simply walked over it imagining it was for me. 😛 🙂
        Thank you for the comments Bushra.

  • I love the intricate carvings on the exterior of the temple.

  • So intricate and beautiful!

  • Incredibly ornate and beautiful!

  • The outer facade of the temple is so stunning!!

  • Lovely detailed post Indrani! Love the carvings and intricacy of the designs!

  • Simply amazing and mind blowing, thanks a lot for sharing, really i did not know about it, one day will visit for sure.

  • Indrani, great post as always! It feels good when we have the opportunity to visit places that we grew up knowing about or places we have heard a lot about. Hope you can continue discovering places that have a beautiful meaning to you.

  • Super architecture.
    Well covered, Indrani.
    So many Indian temples have the Mahabharata connection!

  • Beautiful Pictures and lovely Tour of Sri Veeranarayana Temple, Belavadi, Karnataka by your post.

  • Hello Indrani, the Temple is beautiful and the details are just amazing. A lovely place to visit and your photos are beautiful. Great post.

    Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

  • Absolutely stunning captures.. “What draws me towards these Hoysala Temples is the ‘exquisite beauty of sculptures’ in the temples!” very true.. Hoysala Architecture is just flawless ..

  • amazing art work and nicely captured.

  • Wow! The carving!

  • What amazing craftsmanship. Must have taken them forever to create these carvings. Very ornate and so beautiful.

    Worth a Thousand Words

  • Even I love architecture of Hoysala temples. These are pride of Karnataka. Always wonder all temples have same kind of architecture and similar carvings. Lovely photos.

  • Mesmerizing architecture 🙂

  • I find these carvings just incredible. I visited quite a few in Southern India and could have stayed quite a long time in each one just admiring the sculptures.

  • Fascinatingly glorious!! Lovely captures!!

  • nice, thanks for the post.

  • Wow…gorgeous images! Beautiful post, Indrani!

  • Love the Hoysala marvels. This is on my list to be covered soon.

  • Amazing carvings on this temple. Aren’t there so many gorgeous temples in the world? Thanks for the tour of this one. 🙂

  • Incredibly intricate! You mention hugging the pillars, is this something that is done or just a reference to the size?

    • Indrani Ghose
      1 year ago

      Hi Jim, I meant with reference to size.
      Thanks for the visit and comment. 🙂

  • What a lovely carvings and intricacy! Tempting one for a visit 🙂

  • Yogi Saraswat
    1 year ago

    What a lovely carvings and intricacy! Its connection with Mahabharata katha makes it special . In my recent visit to Satopanth , Uttarakhand I came to know about strong connection of Pandavas with Karnataka specially with Humpy . Beautiful post Indrani ji

    • Yes indeed. Vali and Sugreev and Hanuman lived here in Karnataka.

  • I agree…the Hoysala temples are just amazing owing to their art

  • Fascinated from the history and the detailed carvings of the exteriors.

  • Very informative; this is on my list now:)

  • Hoysala sculpture and architecture is really exquisite and this is so evident in this Belavadi temple. I am intrigued by the fact that this is the village where the Bakasura incident of Mahabharata is supposed to have taken place. As a Kid, I too was fascinated by this story and used to ask my dad to tell it again and again.

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