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Chennakeshava Temple in Somanathapura
The Chennakeshava Temple, one of the finest master pieces of Hoysala Architecture is located at Somanathapura.
This temple was constructed in 1268 by Soma, a Dandanayaka (commanding officer) under Hoysala king Narasimha III, during the Hoysala Empire was ruling South India.
The Superb Architecture
The Channakeshava temple at Somanathapura is housed within an amazing high wall and the doorway to the complex is via a porch with tall lathe-turned pillars. Chloritic schist or soapstone is used for this temple.
The major factors that make the Channakeshava temple standout amidst the big number of Hoysala monuments are its symmetrical architecture, excellent sculptures on equally outstanding shrines, and a temple which is surrounded by panels forming a cloister. While you will find Hoysala temples with better sculpture and some others with better architecture, this temples satisfies all requirements. It had been built by the well-known architect/sculptor Ruvari Malithamma who was well-known to his expertise in ornamentation.
The temple that is built on the jagati (platform) is known as a trikuta (triple shrined) and completely satisfies the terminology as all vimanas (shrines) have a very good superstructure (tower). Within the temple, all vimana has a vestibule that connects it to the most important rectangular mantapa (hall). Like the shrines, all three vestibules even have their very own tower which is known as the sukanasi (or nose), though this is shorter and for this reason appears like a low extension of main superstructure over the shrine. The external walls of all three shrines, their towers and nose are uniformly attractively decorated, which makes it on the whole a extremely well balanced design. The temple stands on the jagati (platform) and also the three vimanas can be found on the back and are connected by a shared rectangular closed mantapa. The jagati closely follows the plan of temple and you can find a gallery which has lathe-turned pillars all over the sides of temple complex that adds to the effect. However , there is one flight of steps which leads to jagati and one which leads from the jagati into the mantapa. The wide jagati invites people to follow the ritualistic clockwise circumambulation prior to entering the temple hall. The complete effect of rectangular hall is witnessed only during the temple profile is seen. The hall has sixteen bays. The exterior wall of hall is also nicely decorated by relief friezes, as well as pierced windows screens on top of them.
All of the three shrines have a very good sixteen pointed star-shaped design and their towers also follow exactly the same design. For this reason the entire structure appears like a rhythmic progression of the attractively decorated projections as well as recesses. The number of points produces the towers appear like circular.
Deity and sculptures
The ceiling of hall is supported by lathe curved pillars. Between pillars, the ceiling is arched as well as intricately decorated. These decorations comprise multi-petalled lotuses, banana bud motifs depending on stepped ponds as well as ananta (snake) knots indicating eternity. Among the three shrines, one is dedicated to Keshava, however the idol is missing from the sanctum. Another two shrines accommodate idols of Janardhana and Venugopala (the three idols are different incarnation of Lord Vishnu). That is exactly a Vaishnava temple and you can find no representation of any types of Hindu God Shiva.
Many sculptures are usually of depictions of the prosperity of that period including members of royal family driving well decorated chariots, soldiers as well as commoners driving horses, camel drawn vehicles, dancers, musicians, hunters armed with bows & arrows and along with their dogs, and going for the hunt. You can find sculptures of palaces of the kings protected by armed guards, jewellery including pendants, bracelets, waistbands and necklaces as well as female with unique hair styles too.
The names of the many architects and sculptors are found from which it is clear of the fact that designers used to be both local as well as from outside the province. The well-known Ruvari Mallithamma, Masanithamma, Chameya, Rameya, Chaudeya as well as Nanjeya are accounted as locals whereas Pallavachari and Cholavachari are considered artists belonging to Tamil region.
Distances from Somanathapura
Mysore: 40 km
Bangalore: 160 km
How to get there:
Nearest Airport: Bangalore International Airport
Nearest Railway Station: Maddur
Road: Somanathapura is well connected by road network.
One can reach Somanathpura from Mysore via T. Narasipura and Bannur
Somanathapura can be reached from Bangalore via Ramanagara, Channapattana, Maddur and Bannur.
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