Belur is located on the banks of the river Yagachi. It was once known as Dwarasamudra, the capital of the Hoysala Empire between the 11th and 13th centuries. Today it is known for the exquisite Chennakesava temple, built in the 12th century, the only living temple of this region. It is one of the finest examples of Hoysala art & architecture. Made of a local soapstone, easy for detailed carving, the stone hardens and turns into vibrant black with time and oxidization. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes with no portion left blank. Elephants, episodes from the epics, sensuous dancers. They are all there – awe-inspiring because of their intricate workmanship.