Somanathapura is a small village on the banks of the river Cauvery in Karnataka, India, which is famous for the Chennakesava Temple (also known as Kesava/Keshava Temple). It is approx 40 km from Mysore and 130 km from Bangalore. It was built by Soma, a commander in 1268 CE under Hoysala Empire King Narasimha III. This gem of a building is the last, and best-preserved, of the major Hoysala temples. This temple is famous for its elaborate and intricate sculpturing.
The temple is enclosed in a walled courtyard that has a gate and a porch.
The temple entrance faces east, and is framed by lathe-turned columns.
It is built on an elevated star shaped platform.
The entire fabric of the temple is covered with sculptures; hardly a square inch of space has escaped the carver’s hand.
The sides of the raised platform are decorated with richly carved friezes, portraying rows of cavalry, elephants and scenes from the epics. The rows above have sculptures of Gods mainly Vishnu in various forms. The shrine has three shrines and three sanctums. The temple has three intricately carved pinnacles and a common Navranga. The northern sanctum has the idol of Lord Janardhana and the southern sanctum has the idol of Lord Venugopala. The main hall has exquisitely turned pillars and ceiling panels. The image of Lord Keshava that once adorned the main hall is missing today.
This Hoysala temple is stunningly beautiful. Unfortunately, this temple is no longer used as a place of worship because the idols here have been broken and the temple was desecrated by the invading armies. But the beautiful temple still charms visitors and reminds people of the magnificent artistic and engineering achievements of the era.
This temple is as beautiful as the world-renowned Belur and Halebid temples and is worth visiting.
Entry Ticket: Rs. 5 for Indians (Rs. 100 for foreigners)
Timings: 8.30 am to 5.30 pm
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