Belooru, Baylore, Beluru
|Elevation||979 m (3,212 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
|ISO 3166 code||IN-KA|
|Vehicle registration||KA-13/ KA-46|
Belur (IPA: [beːluːru]) is a small town in Hassan district in the state of Karnataka, India. The town is renowned for its Chennakeshava Temple dedicated to Vishnu, one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture and the largest Hindu temple complex that has survived from pre-14th-century Karnata-Dravida tradition. A historic site inspired by the teachings of Ramanujacharya, it has been a Vaishnava Hindu pilgrimage center since at least the 12th-century. It was also the first capital of the Hoysala dynasty, before they built Dorasamudra (modern Halebid).
Belur is also Town Municipal Council and taluka. The Hoysala monuments at Belur and Halebidu have been proposed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Belur is in the Hassan district of south Karnataka. It is about 35 kilometres (22 mi) northwest of Hassan and about 16 kilometres (10 mi) west from the famous Hindu and Jain temples in Halebid. The town is about 200 kilometres (124 mi) west of Bengaluru (IATA Code: BLR), about a 3.5 hours drive accessible with a four lane NH75 highway through Hassan. Hassan and Chikmagalur are the closest cities near Belur that are connected by a railway network to major cities of Karnataka. Belur has an elevation of 979 metres (3,212 ft) above sea level.
There are regular buses to Belur from Bengaluru (222 km), Chikmagalur (22 km), Halebidu (16 km), Kadur (62 km), Hassan (32 km), Hospet (330 km), Mangalore (124 km), Mysore (149 km), Shivamogga (132 km) to Belur. Belur is a small town and most hotels are near Chikmagalur and Hassan city on the Belur road (State Highway 54), Halebidu road (State Highway 21).
Belur is near the foothills east of the Western Ghats, at an altitude of 3,200 feet. It and the nearby Halebidu are well connected to northern Karnataka, western Andhra Pradesh and northern Tamil Nadu. Around this region, between the 10th and 14th-century, the Hoysaḷa dynasty came to power, whose history is unclear. By their own 11th and 12th-century inscriptions, they were descendants of the Krishna-Baladeva-roots and the Yadavas of Maharashtra. They married into the Kalyana Chalukya Hindu dynasty, known for its temple and art tradition. The reliability of these inscriptions have been questioned as potential mythistory by some historians, who propose that the Hoysalas were a local Hindu family – a hill chief from the Western Ghats remembered for having killed a tiger or a lion, and they seized power and over time expanded their territory starting in the 10th-century.
Belur was the early capital of the Hoysala Empire in the 11th-century, before they built Dorasamudra (modern Halebid). According to inscriptions discovered here, it was called Velur or Velapuri during the Hoysala era. Belur remained a laternate capital through the 14th-century. The city was esteemed by the Hoysalas, and they referred to it as "earthly Vaikuntha" (Vishnu's abode) and "Dakshina Varanasi" (southern holy city of Hindus) in later inscriptions. In early 12th-century, the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana met the Hindu philosopher Ramanujacharya – famed for his ideas on Sri Vaishnavism. Belur's profile rose thereafter, becoming a Vaishnava temples and monasteries town. It has remained a Vaishnava Hindu pilgrimage center.
Belur is home to several monuments:
The Belur monuments, along with those at Halebidu are on the pending list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.