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Sunday, March 28, 2021

Chennakeshava idol found near Halebelur village, Karnataka

Hoysala  Empire was a prominent Southern Indian Kannadiga empire that ruled most of the modern-day state of Karnataka between the 10th and 14th  centuries. The capital of the Hoysalas was initially located at Belur but was later moved to Halebidu.   In the 12th  century,  they expanded to  areas of present-day Karnataka and the fertile areas north of the Kaveri River delta in present-day Tamil Nadu. By the 13th   century, they governed most of present-day Karnataka, minor parts of Tamil Nadu and parts of western Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in Deccan India. The Hoysala era was an important period in the development of art, architecture, and religion in South India. The empire is remembered today primarily for its temple architecture. Over a hundred surviving temples are scattered across Karnataka.


Well known temples "which exhibit an amazing display of sculptural exuberance" include the Chennakesava Temple at Belur, the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu, and the Kesava Temple at Somanathapura.  The Hoysala rulers also patronised the fine arts, encouraging literature to flourish in Kannada and Sanskrit. Their style of architecture is appreciated by all.   Temples built prior to Hoysala independence in the mid-12th century reflect significant Western Chalukya influences, while later temples retain some features salient to Chalukyan art but have additional inventive decoration and ornamentation, features unique to Hoysala artisans. 

The Chennakeshava Temple, also referred to as Keshava,  or Vijayanarayana Temple of Belur, is a 12th century Hindu temple in the Hassan district of Karnataka state.  It was commissioned by King Vishnuvardhana in 1117 CE, on the banks of the Yagachi River in Belur also called Velapura, an early Hoysala Empire capital. The temple was built over three generations and took 103 years to finish.   Sadly, like many other great temples, this temple too  was repeatedly damaged and plundered by marauding invaders  during wars, repeatedly rebuilt and repaired over its history. It is 35 km from Hassan city and about 200 km from Bengaluru.


Chennakesava (lit, "handsome Kesava") is a form of Sriman Narayana.  It is reverentially described in medieval Hindu texts, and remains an important pilgrimage site in Vaishnavism.  The temple is remarkable for its architecture, sculptures, reliefs, friezes as well its iconography, inscriptions and history. The temple artwork depicts scenes of life in the 12th century, dancers and musicians, as well as a pictorial narration of our Ithihasa puranas - Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas through numerous friezes. The Chennakeshava temple is a testimony to the artistic, cultural and theological perspectives in 12th century South India and the Hoysala Empire rule. 

Very rare Hoysala Architect with beautifully carved Channakeshava idol found while sand mining near Halebelur village of Sakleshpur taluk on Thursday. The 4.5ft black stone idol belonging to the Hoysala Dynasty is almost similar to Lord Channakeshava at Belur temple.  The idol has minor damages at the right side.

Interestingly the driver of the earth moving machine was anxious and took to the heels immediately after he saw the Idol.  The matter spread like a wildfire among villagers who rushed to the spot and removed the same safely.  Later they brought it and installed it in front of the temple in the village. The people have started offering pooja for the idol.

Tahsildar HB Jayaraj, PSI Basavaraj, Halebelur GP president Kumar have visited the spot and gathered further details in this regard. Sidegowda a village head opined that Channakeshava Temple also constructed in Halebelur during Hoysala dynasty.  Ancient Channakeshava idol was installed inside the temple. The sculptures might have rejected the newly found idol as it desecrated while carving he added. Expressing happiness the villagers also urged the officials of the Archeology department to give permission to keep the idol inside the temple.  The villagers also urged the officials of the Archeological department to further research and extract the right reason for buring the idol on the banks of Hemavathi River.

Jairaj Tahsildar Sakleshpur said that the newly found Channakeshava idol is belonging to the Hoysala dynasty as it has Hoysala architecture and carving. The taluk authority has submitted the detail report to the deputy commissioner R Girish who will take a decision in this regard he added

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


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Photos from twitter pages of : Vertigo_Warrior - @VertigoWarrior  and   Raghu - @IndiaTales7



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