Posts Tagged ‘hoysala’

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.


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.