Saturday, September 17, 2011

A temple of art and architecture @ Somnathpur (Karnataka)

Chennakesava temple at Somnathpur was  our  next stop after Talakad.  A 30km ride on  the T,narsipura –kollegal  road, past the lotus laden water ponds,  paddy, millet,sugarcane, marigold and tuberose fields saw us at Somnathpur.

This  is a beautiful creation of the Hoysala dynasty besides Belur and halebidu, built in the mid 13th century.You buy a 5rs ticket to enter the temple but after entering the temple and seeing the well maintained temple I feel the ticket should be graded to higher amount. Spotlessly clean and cared with great devotion.

Walking through the pathway, sandwiched between emerald green lawns, you enter the temple  which stands in the middle of  an enclosure  around which runs an open verandah with 64 cells.

The serene temple stands on a star shaped foundation  which is characteristic of  Hoysala architecture and has 3 exquisitely carved temple towers called trikutachala . The three towers once housed beautifully carved idols of Lord Kesava, Janardhana and Venugopala till Malik Kafur and other mughals destroyed them.

This is not a temple in the sense that there are no poojas done to the idols here since they were destroyed by the mughal invaders. It is simply a temple exhibiting the delicate craftsmanship and high precision engineering of the mighty dynasty called hoysalas which ruled the present day Karnataka between AD1100 and AD1320.  This dynasty was noted for its peace and a leisurely life along with its encouragement to talent of arts, which is reflected all around the temple.(hoy is kill and sala is head of the dynasty since he tackled the tiger single handed and killed, this heroic deed took the form of yadava dynasty as hoysala dynasty) 

One need not search for the history of the temple because everything is beautifully recorded here along with all those sculptors name .When I went around the star shaped platform admiring all those beautiful carvings I noticed an employee of ASI cleaning the dust from the crevices.  This beautiful temple is now under the safecare of ASI.  

When I had been here as a school student, all I was interested was in merry making with my friends, only during my recent visit in the May gone by did the beauty of this place sink in.

How many times have I gone WOW over all those celebrated structures of the world( with due respects to those creators), little did I realize that we have an archictectural marvel with high precision and symmetry all done when  precision tools and machines were unheard but just hammer and chisel.The sculptures and the craftsmanship speaks volumes about the hand dexterity, patience, concentration of our ancient craftsmen. 

As I walked out of the temple  and sat on the bench watching at the boys playing cricket outside the temple compound, I also  was wondering why many of the Indian temples and monuments were not celebrated on par with many well known monuments around the world.

 I left Somnathpur, a tiny leisurely village on the banks of the Kaveri,  140kms, southwest of Bangalore and 30 kms from Mysore which has that rural stillness. The stillness here speaks and speaks  about our glorious past in the form of the Chennakesava temple and it has the touch of eternity. So what if this poetry in stone is not celebrated atleast I can write a post about it and next time you are around Mysore don't forget to listen to this stillness called Somnathpur.

Click on the pics below for better view, the last few pics are in bad lighting

                                               click  on the above image to read the temple history

                                                       Don't miss the star shaped foundation and the pillar by the side

                                                      The ceilings inside the temple carved like a plaintain flower, translates the concentration, dedication and patience that must have gone into it.
                                                       Lord Vishnu
                                                                  Notice the broken flute of Lord Venugopala


  1. ungaluku drivera velaiku senthiralaamnu irukenga :D atleast antha saakulayaachum intha mathiri edathukelaam poitu varalam :)

  2. beautiful temple .. thank for sharing with us all


  3. nice post with photos

  4. ya good post and photos yar..cheers and wishes

  5. @ Gils - gilsgaru emandi joke chestunnaru :)

    @ Bikram - my pleasure to share :)

    @ Krishna - welcome to my space :)

    @ Ramesh - ThankQ :)

  6. I have also visited them, they are really beautiful. We have so much beauty in India, I just want to see as much as possible, if not read about them and see some of them YouTube.

  7. very beautifully written up.. adorned with gorgeous photographs.. I was overwhelmed with the intricate sculptures at the temple...truly an admirable work by Hoysalas...

  8. Such a beautiful temple which i ever seen. i felt wondering by seeing those sculptures. Really it was amazing..!!
    By seeing broken sculptures i was worried too. I noticed that in each and every sculptures nose / hand is broken.