Chikkamagalur district of Karnataka is known for its scenic beauty and temples. The temples such as that at Belur, Halebeedu, and Belavadi flaunt Hoysala architecture and craftsmanship. Belavadi is a small village that hosts the Veera Narayana temple. It is said that the prince Bheema killed Bakasura (demon) at this place to protect the people.
The Veera Narayana temple is about 25 kilometers from Belur and about 9 kilometers from Halebeedu. Tourists flock and flood Belur and Halebeedu; however, most of them aren't aware of the temple at Belavadi. Thus, when we visited the temple, we were the only people other than the priests at the temple.
The Veera Narayana temple is a Vaishnava temple and has three shrines. The temple is made of soapstone, and was built during 1206 AD by Hoysala Empire King Veera Ballala II. As you enter, you are greeted by idols of elephants, and the common mantap. The deities are different forms of Lord Vishnu. At the centre shrine, Lord Narayana stands tall (8 feet), has four hands, and stands on padmasana. The idol is absolutely beautiful.
The southern shrine belongs to Lord Venugopala (8 feet tall). This is a form of Lord Krishna playing his flute. When I saw this idol, I was totally mesmerised. The lord standing in tribangi position under the tree, playful smile on the His face, and almost closed eyes! Along the side of the idol, you can see carvings of shravana kumaras, gopikas, cows and calves, and gopalakas dancing, and Rukmini and Sathyabhama. This idol is gorgeous.
The northern shrine hosts Lord Yoganarashimha (7 feet tall). The lord sits in yogamudra and wears the yoga patti. In two of lord's hands are shanka (conch) and chakra (disc); the other two hands rest on the knees. Sridevi and Bhoodevi stand next to the lord on either side.
I took a while to seep in the beauty of the idols. The hands of the craftsman must have had magic to transform a plain lifeless soapstone in to charming idols! I must have gone round the temple more than three times observing the beauty. We spent more than 4-5 hours there.
A must-visit place for anyone planning a trip to Chikkamagalur district!