Belur was the early capital of the Hoysala Empire. Belur along with Halebidu about 16 km away are one of the major tourist destination in Karnataka. Belur is located in Hassan district. According to inscriptions discovered here, it was also referred to as Velur or Velapuri. It was the early capital of the Hoysala kings in 11th-century and remained a second capital through the 14th-century.
Chennakesava is a form of the Hindu god Vishnu. The temple is dedicated to Vishnu and has been an active Hindu temple since its founding. It is reverentially described in medieval Hindu texts, and remains an important pilgrimage site in Vaishnavism. The temple is remarkable for its architecture, sculptures, reliefs, friezes as well its iconography, inscriptions and history. The temple artwork depicts scenes of secular life in the 12th century, dancers and musicians, as well as a pictorial narration of Hindu texts such as the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas through numerous friezes. It is a Vaishnava temple that reverentially includes many themes from Shavaism and Shaktism, as well as images of a Jina from Jainism and the Buddha from Buddhism. The Chennakeshava temple is a testimony to the artistic, cultural and theological perspectives in 12th century South India and the Hoysala Empire rule.