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Belur, situated on the banks of river Yagachi, 38 km from Hassan, is a world famous tourist destination. Belur was the erstwhile capital of the Hoysalas and referred to as Velapur, Velur and Belahur at different points in history. The town is renowned for its Chennakeshava temple, one of the finest examples of Hoysala workmanship. The temple was consecrated by the famous Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana to mark his victories in 1116 AD against the Cholas and called the Vijaya Narayana.

The Hoysalas used soft soapstone for their structures as they were found suitable for intricate carvings. Enclosed by a Prakara with a Gopurabuilt in the Vijayanagar style, the temple stands on a platform or Jagati and looks like a huge casket. The fine workmanship and skill visible in this masterpiece is truly breathtaking. The Chennakesava temple is a fine example of fine quality work of art in stone. There are more than 80 Madanika sculptures in the temple, dancing, hunting, standing under canopies of trees and so on. The 4 Madanika figures (striking elegant dancing poses) on the wonderfully engraved columns of Navaranga are unique creations of Hoysala workmanship.