Magnificent shrine dedicated to Lord Vijayanarayan, one of the twenty four incarnations of Vishnu.
Built to commemorate the victory of Hoysalas over the Cholas in the great battle of Talakkad.
Its construction commenced in 1116 A.D. at the instance of king Vishnuvardhana, later on his son and grandson completed the work.
According to historical records, it took about 103 years to complete this profusely sculpted masterpiece of Hoysala architecture.
Huge temple complex enclosed by high walls has a Garbha Griha (sanctum sanctum), a sukhanasi (vestibule), a navaranga mandapa and many smaller shrines, mandapams and other structures.
Star shaped main sanctum is a homogenous architectural unit set on a raised platform in the centre of a spacious paved courtyard surrounded by subsidiary shrines and colonnades.
Virtually every inch of the shrine is intricately carved.
Outer walls are adorned with Jagati or railed platform sculpted with horizontal rows of friezes with carvings of elephants, simhalatas or lions and scrolls of small female figures in ornamental niches and intersected here and there by larger vertical images.
Singularly beautiful are the 38 freestanding bracket figures angled between the upper walls and the over-hanging caves around the outside of the temple and navranga (pillared hall).
Brackets are adorned with voluptuous beauties known as Madanikas in various dancing and ritual postures and depict an amazing variety sculpted forms.
Main sanctum enshrines a beautifully ornamented 6 feet high image of Chenna Keshava in Kannada language.