(Last Updated on : 02/03/2015)
The temples of Bellary district are best known for their brilliant styles and forms. Bellary District in east Karnataka is shrouded in antiquarian history and the district finds its mention in the epic Ramayana and the chronicles of the legendary Satavahana dynasty. This district is bounded by Raichur district, Dharwad district, Chitradurga and Davangere districts. Achyutaraya Temple, Kalleswara Temple, Ugra Narasimha Temple, Balakrishna Temple, Kodanda Rama Temple and Vaishnava Temple are some of the important temples of Bellary district.
Kalleswara Temple, one of the worth mentioning temples of Bellary district is located at Hulikeri near Koodli. The temple is about 80 ft in length and breadth. The idols of Kalleshwara, Lord Vishnu and Veerabhadra are enshrined within the temple. Vighnantaka Vinayaka temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesh. This temple of Bellary district enshrines the man-headed idol of Lord Vinayaka, instead of the elephant-headed one. There is a separate sanctum enshrining Lord Muruga. The architectural style of the Mahadwar, Prakar and Mukh-Mandap of the temple is that of the Vijayanagar era that is worth a glimpse; there are 24 columns about 12 ft high, in the Mukh-Mandap.
The Balakrishna Temple is one of the oldest temples of Bellary district that was built by the great Vijayanagar King Krishnadevaraya in 1513 to commemorate his victory over Prataparudra Gajapati, the ruler of Orissa. The image of the child Krishna was consecrated in this temple.
The whole architecture of the temple features a sanctum, an antechamber, an ardha mantapa, a passage, a pillared hall with three entrances and an open pillared mantapa, and shrines for the other deities. The temples of Bellary district depict the engineering skills of that era. The inner sides of the entrance exhibit appealing carvings of Apsaras standing on fabled animals and the ten incarnations of the Lord Vishnu. However, the priceless image of Balakrishna has been handed over to the Government Museum at Chennai.
Located at the foot of the Matanga Hill, Achyutaraya Temple is one of the largest temples of Bellary district. An officer of the King Achyutaraya, Salakaraju Tirumaladeva, built this temple complex. The temple features two enclosures, each manifested by an entrance gopura. The main deity, 'Tiruvengalanatha' or Lord Venkateswara is located at the second attachment of the temple. The shrine of Garuda stands opposite to the temple. Goddess Devi, Parvati, is enshrined in the southwest. The main attraction of this temple is its ornately carved Kalyana Mantapa that is located in the northwestern corner of the outer enclosure. Its basement is exquisitely decorated with the relief of elephants and the carvings on slim pillars feature lovely figures. The annual marriage ceremony of the deity is conducted here.
Kodanda Rama Temple is one of the magnificent temples of Bellary district, dotted around the historical city of Hampi. This temple faces the holy bathing ghat, Chakrathirtha. The rectangular sanctum sanctorum enshrines the 15 ft high idols of Shri Ram, Sita, and Lakshman in standing posture. Close by, there are temples dedicated to Lord Sudarshana and Yantrodharaka Anjaneya. Other than the mentioned ones, Garaga Sri Shanthinatha Temple, Raghunath Temple and Vighnantaka Vinayaka Temple are also revered temples of Bellary district in Karnataka.