Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sri Keshava Temple, Somnathpur

Karnataka is probably the only state in India where a number of exquisitely sculpted rock cut monuments of the historical period are present. Karnataka is rightly called the abode of stone architecture by historians. One temple that has stood testimony to the above claims is the

Sri Keshava Temple at Somnathpur. It has also stood the testing times of Nature and Natural Calamities for nearly 8 centuries.
The first sight of the Splendor of Hoysala Architecture.

The Lamp Tower

The main of the three Sanctuaries

Somnathpur is a small village located near the Karnataka-Kerala border. The village is situated on the banks of river Cauvery and a drive of around 140 kms south-west of Bangalore takes one to this village which is frequented by all the patrons of Architecture and sculptures.
I was surprised to see the historical facts relating to the Somnathpur temple inscribed on a stone slab at the entrance of the temple. Written in Old Kannada script (which is the local language), it informs that the King who ruled during the time the Temple was built was Narasimha III (1254-91 A.D.). The brainchild for the construction of this temple was the Commander of the Army, Sri Somnath. The Sri Keshava temple at Somnathpur is regarded for its precision in symmetry with exquisite stone carvings.

The Somnathpur temple stands in the middle of a walled compound. The star shaped temple has carved pinnacles. The star-shaped sanctum – sanctorum and low elevation today stand as testimony to the style of Hoysala architecture.

The surface of the outer walls of the Temple is covered with beautifully sculpted plaques of stone depicting various Gods and Goddesses in different postures. Most of these plaques have been inspired from Ancient Hindu scriptures. Another striking feature of the temple is that it has 16 different ceilings - each ceiling depicting various stages of a blooming plantain.

This is an Idol of Lord Krishna surrounded by attendants, playing the flute beneath a tree.
The Lord’s dress and crown are richly ornamented with highly sensitive carvings. This typical ornate and intricate style of sculptures makes the Hoysala Architecture styles one of the easiest styles to recognize in Indian art.

This is one of those exquisite carvings that i came across during my visit. On the left is the Idol of Lord Ganesh in Dancing postures. Lord Vishnu seated on the sacred serpent Sri Aadhi Shesha. Between the panels is a female drummer. Another aspect of these Temple is that the sculptures are signed (Square Panels at the foot of the idols) under each main panels by the respective sculptors who worked on that particular panel. One name that occupied almost all the signatures in the temple was that of the great sculptor of that times Mallitamba.

Sri Lakshmi Narasimha

The Meditating Vishnu

The above 2 idols were the ones that took my breath away. I was so fascinated by the beauty and delicacy of the carvings that these 2 idols need a mention. The one on the Top is that of Goddess Lakshmi seated on the Lap of Narasimha( One of the Incarnations of Lord Vishnu).

The other idol is that of Lord Vishnu in Meditation. this particular idol reminded me of
Sri Buddha who happens to be one of the Incarnations of Lord Vishnu himself.

Truly, I realised that i am really blessed by the great Gods to be Born on this Earth that has a lot on offer. It's such a beautiful World that a mere 100 years of Life is not enough even to read about the places on this earth forget about visiting.


  1. wow amazing detail - beautiful Art*


  2. This place is just breath-taking in its detail.

    You're right about it being an amazing world that's impossible to fully take in during a lifetime--thanks for helping us to fit a few more bits of it in!


  3. Posted this link in

  4. Very good details and amazing information..never seen like this Hindu Temples India

  5. Those carvings are indeed beautiful and exquisite. Amazing history.

  6. The carvings are stunning, and so is the photography! Beautiful.

  7. Wow, exquisite sculpture. I love to visit India!

  8. Amazing that they could build like this before. Great work.

  9. You must love history lesson right? by the way I like the photo, may be should start shooting building photo too. I like to shoot beautiful and meaningful scenery. If I like the scenery then I capture it to make it as my wallpaper ;-)

  10. Love this site. great pictures and i love the history. Keep it up

  11. Hi, I love this kind of places, not only beacause they have a lot of spiritual energy but also beacause the amazing art they have.

  12. it shows the art of india.........
    need bpo jobs without a single rupee!!!!!!!! a genuine job from home.

    Work from home

  13. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, fortune, power, luxury, beauty, fertility, and auspiciousness. She holds the promise of material fulfillment and contentment. She is described as restless, whimsical yet maternal, with her arms raised to bless and to grant her blessings.

    Goddess Laxmi, Ganesha and Laxmi, Ganesha saraswati and laxmi, Laxmiji Photo, Laxmi Pooja, Laxmi Wallpaper

  14. Wow, wonderful post. Centuries ago my ancestors migrated from South India to Java (Indonesia) and then finally reach Bali after many generations. Thank's for posted this meditating Vishnu form. The same form also found in East Java installed to commemorate the departure of great King Airlangga of ancient Kadiri kingdom. The Lord depicted as meditating on the back of Garuda, His upper hands hold Sankha-Chakra and His lower hands in this dhyana-mudra gesture. Sri and Bhu were showed both in His side. For so long I want to know the same meditating form of Lord Vishnu (other than Lord Badrinarayan Svami) in India, because Lord Vishnu was uncommon to depicted in this form.

  15. amazing story..thanks for sharing

  16. wow nice blog....amazing art..As we know that India is a place full of amazing art & famous monuments...

  17. I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!

  18. Comprehensive article and very useful for the fellow travelers.. I loved Somnathpur, one of the must visit if you are anywhere close to Mysore...



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