About 140 kms from Bangalore on the NH-275 towards Mysore, lies the beautiful temple of Chennakesava built in 1268 CE by Somanatha, a commander under the Hoysala Empire King Narasimha III. This temple is said to be one of the finest and most complete examples of Hoysala architecture and is also one of the best preserved Hoysala temples. It is an extension of the temples that you would find in Belur and Halebeedu (blog coming up on this trip too). The temple stands on a raised star-shaped platform much like other Hoysala temples. It comprises of three shrines and three intricately carved peaks with a common Mandapa. The three sanctums once housed beautifully carved idols of Keshava, Janardhana and Venugopala of which the idol of Lord Kesava is missing but the other two are still worshipped by devotees.
The most characteristic feature of this temple is its 16 different ceilings, each depicting a different stage of a blooming plantain (banana flower). The outer walls of the temple depict scenes from the puranas as well as the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
How to get there
Somnathpura is a slight deviation from the Bangalore – Mysore route through NH-275. You will need to take a left just around Maddur and follow the signs posted to reach Somnathpura. The roads are well signed and hence you wont miss it. This route is a comfortable day trip from Bangalore or a pit stop before you move onto Mysore from Bangalore.
Somnathpura in pictures
The pictures posted here are not of the highest quality but enough to give you a glimpse of what a marvelous piece of architecture awaits you in Somnathpura.