You can read about how the trip to Somnathpur was planned and how we reached here.
After 2 hours from Bangalore, we journeyed across greenish landscape and reached Somnathpura finally. For a structure maintained by Archeological Survey of India, I was surprised that it was maintained very well. Entry cost is INR 5 for Indians and INR 200 for foreign nationals.
Entry to Somnathpur Temple.
A brief history into the Temple – This temple was constructed by Somnatha, a high officer under the rule of Hoysala Kind Narasimha III (1254 A.D – 1291 A.D.). It follows three celled structure (Trikutachala) consisting of three Garbagrahas with images of Keshava, Venugopala and Janardhana, three Antaralas and a Navarang. Mallithamma, Masanathamma, Chameya, Bhameya are few sculptors whose names have been carved on the images with Mallithamma carving majority of the sculptures.
The entrance porch to the temple was so cool and had spectacular view of the temple.
The shrine is a typical example of one of the finest Hoysala architecture. I always liked the name Hoysalas in history books when I was in school (maybe the name was fancy!!) but now I was simple awestruck at their architecture.
The beauty of the sculptures, the relief inside the temple, the beautiful carvings on the roof are magnificent.
It was as if they couldn’t leave any stone without a pattern. The entire structure was beautifully filled with carvings.
The inside of the temple was dark and cool. There were four to five pillars supporting the temple and each pillar had its own unique design.
One was plain and smoothly polished, the other had circular cuts across its length and one was carved with designs.
The main deity is Chennakeshava (chenna means beautiful, keshava – a name for Krishna) and the deities were inside grilled doors. After so many clicks, we came outside.
A view of exterior wall of Somnathpur Temple
The exterior wall has a plethora of Gods and Goddesses and numerous friezes
One such beautifully sculpted Frieze containing elephants and horses
One must have enough patience and interest in history to observe these bands of sculptures. I felt the sculptures were trying to tell some story, only that I couldn’t comprehend what it was.
Probably it was about a success battle story of Hoysala king or a mythological story. I wish I had taken a guide along to understand about it. I was amazed at how the kings were able to build such magnificent structures on wide-open spaces with perfect symmetry, artistic beauty (around the year 1200 A.D.) without so much advancement as in current-day science. It still amazes me 🙂
After admiring the exterior wall, we moved to the Colonnade of pillars around the temple. They are made of some light yellow colored stones; probably sand stones (not sure though). The pillars are laid out in perfect symmetry and ASI has done a good job of restoring few of the pillars.
By now, we had done several rounds around the temple and numerous clicks. But, I was still reluctant to leave the place. These pictures will tell you why.
Goddess Lakshmi on God Vishnu’s Lap
Since we had Talacaud as next place in our list and we bid farewell to Somnathpur taking in one final view of the Somnathpur Temple
You can continue reading about Talacad trip and photos here.