Today I would like to talk about Sri Chennakeshava Temple in Somanathapura, Karnataka. The temple is one among the thousands of temples built by Hoysala Kings and depicts another exemplary work of Hoysala Architecture. The temple was consecrated on the banks of River Kaveri by the Dhandanakya of Hoysala dynasty called Somanatha in 1258 CE. (town named after its general Somanatha) Somanatha was an officer under the Hoyasala King Narasimha III (1254-1291 A.D.)
The temple is built on a star shaped platform within a closed courtyard with three symmetrical sanctums (garbha grihas), one each for Keshava, Janardhana and Venugopala. Currently only Janardhana and Venugopala statues can be seen and Keshava’s statue is missing. The temple also has a multiple pillar community hall (sabha-mantapa). The temple pillars, ceiling, inner and exterior walls are all carved with legends and spiritual stories from Ramayana, Mahabharata and Srimad Bhagavata. Janardhana-somnathpura-temple
The basement band of the outer wall of main temple is ornamented with carved artwork of marching elephants, horses with armed riders, nature scrolls along with epic scene from Ramayana and Purana.

Above these bands sculptures of all the Vishnu avatar and other god and goddesses like Ganesha, Shiva, Saraswati, Lakshmi can be found. Temple mahadvara is to the east and as you enter the shrine (Navaranga) you can see beautiful lathe turned pillars and the roof consisting of 16 squares, each of it is elegantly carved in different designs.

Somnatupura-temple-mysore-hoysalaImage source

The temple was damaged multiple times by many Muslim invaders and was repaired by the Kings of the Vijayanagar empire and in the 20th century by the Mysore government.

Artwork in Somanathapura temple resembles to the famous and beautiful Hoysala Architectural temples in Belur and Halebidu (which I’ll try to cover in my next post)

Somanathapura is around 130 kilometers form Bangalore and 35 kilometers from Mysore. KSRTC and Private buses run frequent service from Mysore.



Brihadeeswarar Temple is a famous Shiva temple located on the banks of River Cauvery in Thanjavur district Tamil Nadu, India. Thanjavur is known to have been derived from the word “Tanjan” a demon, who is believed to have been killed in this place by lord Vishnu. Temple is more than 1000-year-old and was built in 1010 AD by Chola emperor Raja Raja Chola 1 and was named as “Rajarajeswaram”. The temple popularly known as “Thanjavur Periya Kovil” was named as Brihadeeswarar Temple by the Marathas and Nayakas who invaded Thanjavur at a later stage. Temple is also known as “Peruvudaiyar Kovil” or “Rajarajeswara Temple” and is one of the largest temple in India and showcases the brilliance of Tamil architecture of the Chola’s period.

The architecture of the temple is what makes it unique when compared to the others. The temple tower also known as “Dakshina Meru” is built by interlocking the stones without using any binding material and is 216 feet high which makes it the tallest towers in the world of its kind.


The temple is completely constructed in granite and the octagonal shaped shikara gopuram rests on a single rock weighing 81 tons. The main deity inside the sanctum Brihadeeswar Linga is 3.7 meter in height and is set on a two storied sanctum and the walls are decorated with frescoes, popularly known as Thanjavur paintings.


The big statue of Nandhi at the entrance is made of a single rock and is 16 feet long and 13 feet in height.


It is because of this archeological beauty it is declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Great Living Chola Temple”.

Thanjavur is 190 kms from Madurai and 383 kms from Chennai. Thirucharapalli Airport is the nearest airport, located 65 kms away. Thanjavur city is very well connected by train and buses from all the major cities.


Srinivasa Mangapuram, also known as Sri Kalyana Venkateswara Swamy Temple is a very famous temple in Tirupati, Chittor district. As per legends Lord Venkateswara after his marriage with Godess Padmavathi stayed here for sometime before proceeding to Tirumala, as per Hindu customs newly married couples are not supposed to climb hills, such devotees can have darshan of Lord at this temple and attain moksh.

After celebrating the marriage of Lord Venkateswara Swamy with Goddess Padmavathi, he did not immediately return to the Tirumala hills. But instead he visited the sage Agasthya’s ashram to seek blessings. As it was scientifically wrong for the newlyweds to scale the hill for six months, the lord was unable to immediately return to the Tirumala mountain-temple. Hence the sage Agastya suggested that Swamy Venkateswara along with his wife could stay at his humble ashram. The Lord graciously accepted this request and blessed with the ashram with his presence for the entire six months.

After completion of six months Lord Srinivasa returned back to Tirumala, before returning he blessed the place with two boons:

1. The newlyweds and elderly who are not able to visit Tirumala can get the same benefits by visiting Sri Kalyana Venkateswara Swamy Temple.
2. A devotee who takes part in the Kalyna utsasvam and ties a ‘kaappu’ on their hand, can find their best, most beloved life-partner or find new happiness from their existing relationship.

Kalyana Utsavam to the Lord is performed here every day in the temple. Devotees from all over the country to get the blessing of lord by attending this ritual. At the end of ritual the Priest ties kankana (Yellow thread) to the right hand of the Devotees which is believed to solve all there problems and individuals having trouble getting into wedlock would soon get their life partner.

Srinivasa Mangapuram

Meenakshi Amman Temple or Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple is dedicated to lord Parvati who is known as Meenakshi and Shiva who is known as Sundareswara. The temple is located in the southern bank of river Vaigai and is situated in  the heart of  the city of  Madurai, Tamil Nadu in South India, covering an area of 17 acres, the entire city being  built around it.

The temple complex has 14 gateway towers called gopurams, ranging from 45-50m in height, the tallest tower being the southern tower, 51.9 metres (162 feet) high along with two golden sculptured vimana gopuram.

All fourteen towers have been segregated   based on the stages they are:

  • 4 Rajagopurams – Nine tier gopurams ranging from 152 feet to 162 feet with carving of mythological stories
  • 1 Seven tier – Chittirai gopuram is about 177 feet in height and contains 730 aesthetic sculptures of exquisite refinement
  • 5 Five tier gopurams above Swami Sannidhi
  • 2 Three tier  gopurams above amma sannidhi
  • 2 Golden gopurams

meenakshi amman, madurai temple, gopuram

The main shrine of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar are surrounded by three enclosures and each of these are surrounded by four minor towers the outer tower is larger and higher as compared to the corresponding inner one. Both the Meenakshi and Sundareswarar shrines have gold plated Vimanam (tower over sanctum). The area covered by the shrine of Sundareswarar is exactly one fourth of the area of the temple and that of Meenakshi is one fourth of that of Sundareswara.

Meenakshi temple gold plated VimanamMeenakashi is an avatar of goddess Parvati – the consort of Shiva. The name “Mīnakshi” means fish eyed and is derived from the words “mīna” meaning fish and “akṣi” meaning eyes. The lady goddess Meenakshi is the principal deity of the temple and not Sundareswarar (Shiva). As per legend Madurai is the actual place where the wedding of Shiva and Meenakshi took place. The Meenakshi temple complex is one of the largest and certainly one of the most ancient in the world.

madurai meenakshi devi

The sacred temple tank Porthamarai Kulam (“Pond with the golden lotus”) also know as Adhi Theertham, is (50m) by (37m) in size. According to legend, Shiva promised a stork that no fish or other marine life would grow here and thus no marine animals are found in the tank. The huge Golden Lotus in the pond is said to have bloomed for Indra as a wish from Shiva.

golden lotus meenakshi temple

Temple is also famous for many halls, some of the very famous ones are:

  • Kilikoondu Mandapam (“bird cage corridor”) is the hall surrounding the sanctum of the Meenakshi amma
  • Kambatadi Mandapam (“Hall of temple tree”) is the hall with seated Nandi
  • Puthu Mandapam (“new hall”) is constructed by Tirumala Nayak which contains a large number of sculptures
  • Ashta Shakthi Mandapam (“Hall of eight goddess”) is the first hall in the entrance of Meenakshi shrine tower near to East Tower
  • Viravasantharaya Mandapam is a large hall with a huge corridors to the south of the pillared hall
  • The Mangayarkarasi mandapam is a newly built hall situated opposite to the marriage halls and bears the name of saindy queen
  • Mudali Pillai Mandapam or Iruttu Mandapam (Dark hall) is a wide and long hall built by Muthu Pillai during 1613
  • The Meenakshi Nayakkar Mandapam (“Hall of 100 pillars”) has two rows of pillars carved with images of yali (mythological beast with body of lion and head of an elephant), commonly used as the symbol of Nayak power. It is situated to the north of Sundareswarar flag staff hall.
  • Thousand Pillar Hall was built in 1569 with a excellence of the engineering and artistic skill. The pillars in the hall are carved in the Dravidian style, there are 985 halls instead of 1000 pillars.

The most important festival associated with the temple is the “Meenakshi Thirukalyanam” (The divine marriage of Meenakshi) that is celebrated in April every year.

Tirumala Venkateswara Temple

Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple is one of the famous Hindu temple of South India. Lord Venkateshwara (a form of Lord Vishnu) also known as Balaji, Govinda and Srinivasa is worshiped in this temple. Balaji Temple is located on the seventh peak of Venkatadri hill also known as Venkatachala or Venkata Hill, hence it is also called as the “Temple of Seven Hills”. The Tirumala Hill comprises seven peaks, representing the seven heads of Adisesha (king of serpent) hence the place is known as Seshachalam. The names of the seven peaks are as follows Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrushabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri. The temple lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini, a holy water tank. The main deity of the lord Srinivasa is in the main sanctum (Garbha Gruha) beneath a gold plated dome Ananda Nilaya Divya Vimanam also known as Vimana Gopuram.

gold plated vimana gopuram

  1. UshaKala — worship should start and finish before sunrise
  2. Prathakala — worship should start after sunrise and finish before noon
  3. Madhyanika — worship should start and finish at noon
  4. Aparahana — worship should start when the sun starts to descend
  5. SandhyaKala — worship should start and finish around the sunset
  6. Ardharatri — worship should start after the horizon is completely dark


The temple is the most-visited place of worship in the world and the richest pilgrimage center, after the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The reason for this is devotees offer money and gold to Venkateshwara Hundi (Donation Pot) as a token of their love towards lord and also to relieve the lord from the commitment of paying back the loan taken by him from Kubera. As per legend it is believed as Srinivasa had taken loan from Kubera for his marriage with Padmavathi.

‘Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams’ popularly known as TTD, an independent trust manages Tirumala Tirupati Sri Venkateshwara Temple. You can book Special Entry Darshan, Accommodation and Seva’s online through the trust portal at “TTD Online”.

Temple offers world famous Tirupati Laddu as prasadam to all devotees and the Trust has taken Geographical Indication of Laddu prasaddam, hence, no one can prepare the same Laddu.

Tirumala, Tiru means ‘Holy’ or ‘Sacred’ and mala means hills/mountain. Tirumala hills are located in Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. It is around 600 km (370 mi) from Hyderabad, 138 km (86 mi) from Chennai and 291 km (181 mi) from Bangalore.

durga parameshwari devi

Kateel town in the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka is famous for Goddess Durga Parameshwari temple located on the bank of river Nandini. Goddess Sri Durga parameshwari Devi emerged in the form of ‘Linga’ in the center of river Nandini. To know about the history of the temple visit our Temple of South India Blog

kateel temple

Kateel is about 360 kilometers from Bangalore and about 26 km from Mangalore. Nearest airport is the airport at Bajpe, just 16 kms from Mangalore city and you can also reach the place by train through the Konkan Railways. Kateel is well connected to other places by road by NH 48 and NH 17.

Kateel Temple Address:

Kateel Post, Mangalore,
Dakshina Kannada District.
Pin Code-574 148, Karnataka State, INDIA
Phone: +91 824 2200361 / 2200591
Fax : +91 824 2200561

Kurudumale Ganesha Temple, Mulbagal

Posted: February 18, 2013 by kkhatwar in Karnataka Temples
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Kurudumale Ganesha
Kurudumale near Mulbagal is famous for lord Ganesha and Someshwara Temples. These temples are believed to be have been built by legendary sculptors Jakanachari and his son Dankanachari. To know more about these temples and to view the photos of the temples visit our blog.

Sri Annapoorneshwari Temple, Horanadu

Posted: February 14, 2013 by kkhatwar in Karnataka Temples
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annapoorneshwari temple horanadu
Adhishakthyathmaka Shri Annapoorneshwari Ammanavara Temple popularly known as  Sri Annapoorneshwari Temple is in Sri Kshetra Horanadu, chikamaglur dist., Karnataka. The temple is situated on the banks of river Bhadra, surrounded by the natural vegetation, forest, green lands, and natural beauty of the western Ghats.

Annapoorna Devi is also known as goddess of food. For traveling and more information about the temple visit our blog.

Southern part of India is rich with culture and heritage and is famous for its architectural beauty and beautiful temples. The architecture of South Indian Temples are based on various temple-building schools like the Dravidian, Hoysala, Chola, Pallava, Pandya and the Chalukyan styles and are constructed according to Agama and Shilpa Shastras.

History of the temples built in South India goes as early as 5th century AD. In Karnataka during the Vijayanagar dynasty temples like Aihole, Badami and Pattadakkal were built by Chalukyas. Hampi has been acclaimed for its wonderful temple designs. The state is also famous for other temples, palaces and spectacle. Other famous temples in Karnataka are Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala Manjunatha Swamy Temple, Sri Kollur Mookambika Temple, Murdeshwara Temple, and Chennakesava Temple in Belur.

During the 7th century, the Pallava rulers were said to be the pioneers and have built many temples in Tamil Nadu.  Some of the famous shrines in Tamil Nadu are Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur district built by Cholas during (9th to 13th century) and Madurai Meenakshi temple in Madurai built in Dravidian style, Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple in Kanchipuram, Palani Murugan Temple – Palani, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple – Srirangam, Ramanathaswamy Temple – Rameswaram. In Tamil Nadu alone, there are more than 10,000 temples, so if you are planning for a South Indian Tour, tour to temples in Tamil Nadu is a must.

In Andhra Pradesh we can see a mix of culture of the Cholas, Chalukyas and Gangas along with an influence of Oriyan art as well. Some of the famous temples in AP are Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati, Sri Kalahasti, Srisailam, Simhachalam, Amaravati temples.

Kerala also known as God’s own land is rich with rituals and festivals. Architecture of the temples here and in the costal part of Karnataka is completely different than other parts of southern India as they are primarily made of wooden structures. Some of the famous temples of Kerala are Guruvayur temple, Sabarimala temple, Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvanathapuram.

In this blog I am trying to provide detailed information, legend, and history of the famous temples along with festivals and rituals of the temple.

Kukke Temple

Kukke Subrahmanya Temple is located in the village of Subramanya in the Sullia taluk of Dakshina Kannada District, Karnataka.  The temple is built on the bank of river Dhara.

As per legends, Taraka a powerful demon threatened to conquer the world. Fearing to his powers all the gods went to Lord Shiva for help. Lord Shiva created Kumaraswamy/Karttikeya to combat the demon. Kumaraswamy had battle with demon Taraka, Shoorpadmasura & his followers and killed them all. After the battle, Lord Kumaraswamy came to the top of Kumaraparvatha along with his brothers Lord Ganesha, Veerabahu. It is believed as, he washed his Shakthi Ayudha (battle-axe) in the Dhara River and hence the river is known as Kumaradhara from then onwards. When lord came to Kumaraparvatha, he was received by Lord Indra along with other Gods. Pleased by the success of the war, Indra requested the Lord to marry his daughter Devasena. Lord agreed to Indra’s request and got married to Devasen on the banks of Kumaradhara on Shashti of Margasira Masa (Margasira Masa is the ninth month in a traditional Hindu calendar).

Vasuki the serpent king was performing penance for many years in the Biladwara caves of Kukke Subramanya to avoid attack from Garuda. Vasuki prayed Lord Shanmuka to give a boon of permanently staying with him in this place and the lord blessed Vasuki with the boon. From that time it a believed that the Lord has made his spiritual presence in this shrine along with Vasuki. Hence Vasuki (king of serpents) is worshiped here along Lord Subramanya

Every year a famous car festival is being held here along with special pooja to the lord on Shashti of Margasira Masa also known as ‘Champa Shashti’.


The main deity in the temple is placed in 3 dais, in the upper dais there is the idol of Shree Lord Subrahmanya and then the idol of Vasuki and in the lower dais is the idol of Shesha. The main entrance to the temple lies to the east. The devotees will have to enter courtyard from behind and go before the idol. The sanctuary of Sri Subrahmanya Swamy lies opposite to the main entrance facing Kumara parvatha.

Two important Poojas performed in the temple are Ashlesha Bali Pooja & Sarpa Samskara. Ashlesha Bali Puja is one of the important Kaalasarpa dosha puja performed in the temple it is performed on Aslesha nakshatra every month. Another important pooja is Sarpa Samskara it is performed to get rid of the sarpa dosha (serpent curse) according to belief, a person, either in this birth or in any of his previous births, could be afflicted by the serpent either knowingly or unknowingly. Persons who are afflicted are advised to perform this pooja for their own wellbeing.


Other sacred places in Subramanya are Adi Subrahmanya, Kukke Linga, Samputa NarasimhaDevaru, Kala Bairava Devaru, Umamaheshwara devaru, Hosoligamma, Sri Subrahmanya Mutt, Sringeri Mutt, Kashikatte Ganapathi and Darpana Theertha.

Subramanya is about 325 kilometers from Bangalore (via National Highway NH-48). There is frequent bus facility and direct train facility from Bangalore. Mangalore Airport is the nearest airport which is around 100 kilometers and Dharmasthala is around 50 kilometers away.

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