SOMNATHAPURA

Somnathapura is located in Mysore district of Karnataka. Somnathpur Kesava Temple here, is one of the greatest examples of Hoysala architecture (Hoysala Empire).

The Chennakesava Temple located at Somanathapura is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture. The temple was built by Soma, a Dandanayaka (lit, "commander") in 1268 C.E. under Hoysala king Narasimha III, when the Hoysala Empire was the major power in South India.



The temple is housed inside an impressive high walled enclosure and the entrance to the complex is through a porch with tall lathe-turned pillars. The material used for the temple is soapstone (Green schist). The Keshava temple standouts out as one of the finest the Hoysala architects produced. Its symmetrical architecture, fine sculptures on equally prominent shrines, and panel sculptures form a cloister that speak of good taste. While there are Hoysala temples with better sculpture and others with better architecture, this temples satisfies all requirements. According to the Mysore archaeological reports, it was built by the famous architect and sculptor Ruvari Malithamma who was well known for his expertise in ornamentation.

The temple which is built on a jagati (platform) is a trikuta (triple shrine) and fully satisfies that terminology as all shrines (vimanas) have a superstructure (tower) that is intact. Inside the temple, each vimana has a vestibule that connects it to the main rectangular mantapa (hall). Like the shrines, all three vestibules also have their own tower called the Sukanasi (or nose), though it is shorter and hence looks like a low extension of the main superstructure over the shrine. The outer walls of all three shrines, their towers and Sukanasi are equally well decorated, making it overall a very well balanced design. The temple stands on a jagati (platform) and the three vimanas are located at the back and are connected by a common rectangular closed mantapa. The jagati closely follows the plan of the temple exterior and there is a gallery with lathe-turned pillars all along the enclosure of the temple complex which adds to the effect. There is one flight of steps that leads to the jagati and one that leads from the jagati to the mantapa. The wide jagati invites devotees to follow the ritualistic clockwise circum-ambulation before entering the hall. The full effect of the rectangular hall is seen only when the temple profile is viewed. The hall has sixteen bays. The moldings on the outer wall of the mantapa has well decorated reliefs and friezes, with pierced windows screens above them.

All the three shrines are 16 pointed stellate (star-shaped) in design and their towers follow the same pattern. Hence the whole structure looks like a rhythmic progression of well decorated projections and recesses (called architectural articulation). The number of points make the towers look circular in shape.

Temples in Somnathpura

Chennakesava Temple is located in Somanathapura town in Mysore district. Keshava Temple is located in Somanathapura town in Mysore district, Karnataka. Mudukuthore Mallikarjuna Temple is one of the Panchalinga Darshana Temples in and around Talakad.