DAILY PHOTO: Chennakesava Temple Gate

Taken on April 26, 2015 at Belur

Taken on April 26, 2015 at Belur

This is the main gate of the Chennakesava Temple at Belur. It’s a Hoysala era temple that dates to the early 12th century and is in the running for UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

Here’s a little closer view.

IMG_1862

 

Here’s a yet closer view

IMG_1865

DAILY PHOTO: Temple in the Sun

Taken in November of 2013 in Belur

Taken in November of 2013 in Belur

IMG_1429

The temples at Belur and Halebidu are among India’s most impressive–but least known–historical sites. Both cities were a capitals during the days of the Hoysala Empire, but are well off the major tourist path. If you’re spending some time in South India, these temples should be on your itinerary.

DAILY PHOTO: Temple Dancer

Taken November 23, 2013 in Belur, India

Taken November 23, 2013 in Belur, India

This may be my last Daily Photo post for almost a  month. If I do get any in, they’ll be sporadic. However, upon my return I will have lots of new posting fodder from Malaysia and Thailand.

DAILY PHOTO: Temple Gate at Chennakeshava

Taken November 23, 2013 at Belur.

Taken November 23, 2013 at Belur.

This is the gate into the Chennakeshava temple in Belur. In the foreground is the base of a pillar that served to hold the temple lantern that let all find the temple in the darkness. (Fun fact: the pillar isn’t secured to the base. That is, it’s held in place by gravity.) The base is the same multi-sided shape as the temple mounts.

Below is a pic of the lantern pillar (it’s not as askew as it appears in the pic.) (Fun fact #2: if you type askew into Google’s browser it will twist the page askew.)

IMG_1433

DAILY PHOTO: Orange and Old

Taken November 23, 2013 at Belur

Taken November 23, 2013 at Belur

In Cambodia, one can buy these paintings that are monochromatic with the exception of the vibrant saffron of monks’ robes. These artworks are commonly found around Siem Reap and have backgrounds such as the Bayon, Ta Prohm, or Angkor Wat. While this photo was taken in Belur, India at the Chennakeshava temple, it reminds me of an impromptu version of such paintings. All dull earth-tones, except the Hindu adherents moving about in their bright colors.

Apparently, the significance of the color orange is shared by Hindus and Buddhists. Krishna is usually portrayed in orange or yellow, and in Buddhism orange is considered the color of illumination.

DAILY PHOTO: Chennakeshava Temple at Belur

Taken November 23, 2013 at Belur.

Taken November 23, 2013 at Belur.

Chennakeshava temple at Belur is a Hoysala era temple to Vishnu–the deity of the Hindu trilogy responsible for processes of sustenance and evolution (as opposed to creation or destruction, which are the bailiwicks of Brahma and Shiva, respectively.)

This temple and its sister temple at Halebidu, Hoysaleshwara temple, are probably the most ornate structures I’ve seen anywhere in the world. They are covered with soapstone carvings arranged in several tiers. For example, the bottom layer is a series of elephants, each one unique. There is a layer that tells tales from the Mahabharata in pictures.

Soapstone is soft and easily worked when quarried, but it becomes hard enough to survive everything but looters as it’s exposed to the elements. You’ll note the “windows” carved in the rock to allow in light and breezes.

Close up

Close up