Indian town and temple site in southern Karnataka that flourished c. 1100–1800. The most important temple at the site is the Chhennakeshava (or Vijayanarayana) temple, the earliest example of the uniquely ornate style developed under the Hoysala dynasty. The temple was dedicated to Vishnu in 1117 by Bittiga (Vishnuvardhana) (regc. 1106–56) in celebration of his victory over the Cholas and attainment of undisputed Hoysala independence in southern Karnataka. Within the same compound stand the Kappechhennigaraya temple, constructed by Vishnuvardhana’s queen, and many later structures, including a Vijayanagara-period gopura (towered gateway) built in 1397.
The Chhennakeshava temple stands on a wide platform opposite the gopura. The complex, star-shaped plan of the sanctum contrasts with the square, faceted plan of the multi-pillared hall (Skt navaraṅga) that precedes it. An exceptionally elaborate, nine-course moulded socle is mainly geometric above an initial frieze of elephants. The low-roofed navaraṅga, originally open on the front and sides, was closed in with the standard, richly embellished screens and doorways of the later Hoysala style (...