BENGALURU: The temple triad of Karnataka, which beckons a large number of tourists every year, completed 900 years of construction on March 10, but there were hardly any celebrations to mark the historic occasion.
The Chennakeshava temple, which is known for its Shilabalika carvings, in Belur, 220 km from Benglauru, Hoysaleshwara temple in Halebidu and Keerthi Narayana temple in Talakadu, were constructed in 1117 AD to mark the victory of Gangaraja, a general in Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana’s army, over the invading Chola army a year earlier.
Heritage and tourism buffs are lamenting over the failure of the state government to utilize the opportunity to hard sell Belur, Halebid and Talakadu, the most popular tourist destinations of Karnataka. Belur was the Hoysala capital, while Halebidu, also in Hassan district, is 16km away. Talakadu is in Mysuru district and 200km from Belur. The Chennakeshava temple in Belur has been proposed for the World Heritage tag.
Arun Raj T, superintending archaeologist, ASI, Bengaluru circle, confirmed that the three temples are 900 years old. Belur temple was recommended for the Unesco world heritage site tag for its 12th century architecture four years ago, he said.
R Gopal, director, state archaeology department, said Darpana Sundari (Lady with a mirror) carved on the walls of Belur temple and the carvings on the pillars are unique. “The architectural and heritage value of Keerthi Narayana Temple of Talakadu and Hoysaleshwara temple of Halebidu are also equally important. After the victory over Cholas in Talakadu, Vishnuvardhana came to known as Talakadugonda which means one who gained Talakadu, as well,” he added.
Uma alias Muddamma, president, Belur Town Municipal Council, said they are yet to figure out what events can be conducted to celebrate 900 years of Chennakeshwara temple. “On an average, more than 10,000 people visit the temple during weekends. We need funds to develop road infrastructure in the area in addition to amenities for visitors. We have submitted a memorandum to chief minister Siddaramaiah seeking funds for the development of the town and are awaiting his reply,” he added.