Somnathpur Temple Mysore

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After visiting temples of Belur and Halebidu was keen to visit Somnathpur. Since I visited Mysore for Dussehra took a day trip to Somnathpur. It is 34 kms. Take a bus from Central Bus Stand Mysore. Entrance to temple. It was built (around AD 1268) under Somnatha (a general in the army of Narasimha III) of the Hoysala dynasty.

Temple name is Keshava Temple. Temple has 3 garbhagrihas (sanctums). Each has an image of Vishnu as Kesava (centre), Venugopala and Janardana.

Image of Keshava in central sanctum. There are rods so just about managed to click this. The temple is known for its elaborately carved doorways and the beautifully executed ceilings of the Navranga mandapa.

The temple stands on a high stellate platform like the one in Belur, is enclosed by a spacious courtyard surrounded by pillared corridors with sub-shrines. Temple entrance faces east.

Temple has pillared corridors with sub-shrines. U see corridor start to end. Images in sub-shrines were stolen and could be found in museums across the world.

Entrance. Image on left is Dwarpal - doorkeeper named Jaya. We now see temple clockwise. Lady that you see is a tourist from Israel. We had some very interesting conversations.

Dwarpal or doorkeeper named Vijaya on right side of entrance to sanctum. For a very good temple guide call Ramakrishna 91 99456 45237 or 91 87222 34980. Speaks very good English.

As turned from entrance design of wall. Level 1 from bottom is floral design, Level 2 left to right is warriors with horse, king & queen with musicians, soldiers with swords and shields etc. Level 3 are images of Gods. Level 4 is temple with mythological animal Makara i.e. a mixture of 7 animals. Level 5 is men with swords etc. Second last shows hand in Gyan Mudra position.

The basement of the outer wall is decorated with friezes of elephants, scrolls, Puranic scenes with intervening turrets and columns with figures in between, number of Gods and Goddess and their attendants. Note elephant at ground level. Every corner and angular projection of the central wall space of the temples is inhabited by familiar deities. They appear in all their glory, adorned with heavy jewels, towering crowns, bangles on every arm and chunky anklets on their feet.

Close up of elephant. Look at the ornaments.

Close up of wall. Top right second last is Narasimha Avatar of Vishnu.

Top are some esoteric images. Also found in temples of Khajuraho, Sun Temple Konarak and Bhoramdeo Temple in Chhattisgarh.

Basement level. From bottom 1st is elephants, 2nd warriors on horses, 3 is floral design, 4th left second seems like a farmer carrying produce in a bullock cart, 5th is mythological animal Makhara and 6th is Hamsa - Swan. The sides of the raised platform are decorated with richly carved friezes, portraying rows of cavalry, elephants and scenes from the epics. The rows above have sculptures of Gods mainly Vishnu in various forms.

There are beautiful images of deities on the external wall with names of sculptors engraved for e.g. Mallitama. Left of pic is Venugopala ie when Krishna is playing flute. Images in front all 3 are Vishnu. Every Vishnu image has 4 hands, a shank and chakra.

Left is Dancing Saraswati playing with Veena. Centre is dancing Ganesh. Right of Ganesh is lady drummer. Extreme right is Vishnu sitting on a snake. Above is head is 7 headed cobra also known as Sheshnag.

Left Vishnu sitting in meditation posture. Image next to him is Lakshmi.

This pic shows you the design of the basement across columns. Level 1 elephants. Level 2 is warriors on horse. Level 3 is floral design. Level 4 left shows ladies and rest are men. Level 5 is mythological animal Makhara. Level 6 is Swan - Hamsa and symbolises Purity. Above that images of deities.

The highly decorated and beautifully proportioned superstructure above the three sanctums are known for their poise and elegance and make this temple a good example of the Trikutachala order. U see 2 sanctums. Side view.

U see Venugopala in southern sanctum. Krishna playing flute under a tree is Venugopala.

U see Janardana in northern sanctum.

Ceiling inside temple is awesome. Worth seeing. It has been standing for centuries. The interior has a set of 16 ceilings, each one different, each one packed with carvings in numerous variations. There are concentric circles, one linked to the other by stone ribs. Likewise, there are octagonal ceilings. All these are built on the image of a lotus opening up from its bud to outer rings of petals.

In Mysore the Chamarajendra Wodiyar Circle with the palace in the background. Both beautifully lit up for Dussehra.

Back to Somnathpur temple. The temple is built on an elevated star shaped platform. Small temples on either side of entrance as is in Belur. 2 sanctums on either side with main sanctum in center. Corridors on either side. Walls of temple have carved images. Two images on either side of entrance.

Now let us see close up of images. Extreme left first is Brahma with a beard. Extreme right is Dancing Lakshmi - notice drummer at bottom.

This pic shows the images and temple design sculpture above them. Extreme left is a avatar of Vishnu.

This pic shows you the basement, images of Vishnu etc and temple shikhar above.

Third Avatar of Vishnu namely Varaha or Boar. Boar is supposed to protect earth. U see Vishnu holds egg shaped earth in 2 hands. Other two hands are shank and chakra.

Close up of basement. Level 1 elephant symbolises strength. Level 2 is horse symbolises speed. Level 3 is flower symbolises beauty. Level 4 stories from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagwata, dances & musicians. Level 5 is mythological animal Makara i.e. made of 7 animals. Level 6 is Hamsa - Swan that symbolises purity.

Left is Vishnu. Right is Lakshmi. Both holding similar attributes.

Lakshmi Narayana - Lakshmi sitting on Vishnu`s lap.

Close up of elephants and warriors with swords on horses. Image captions given by guide Ramakrishna. Many thanks to him.

Lower level ladies. Above that mythological animal. Some captions details taken from http://ignca.nic.in/kts_about.htm

Centre of pic is a tree. Kauravas on top of tree. Bhima shaking tree so Kauravas come falling down. FYI Kauravas and Pandavas were cousins, the former were 100 brothers, the latter were 5. This story is from the epic Mahabharata.

Images on left and right are Dancing Vishnu. Above them is temple shikhara.

Surya Devata with 4 hands. When in both hands have lotus it means Sun God image. In one hand making an offering, in another making a blessing. Bottom of image two sculpture are his 2 wives Usha and Chhaya.

Superstructure resting on one of the 3 sanctums ka shikhar. Amazing work.

Please read interesting.

South side view of panel.

Narasimha or lion faced avatar of Vishnu. Lakshmi sitting on his lap.

Indira and wife Shashi on Indira`s vehicle the elephant. The vehicle is a white elephant so called Airayavate.

Panel south side amazing. Level 1 elephant, warrior, floral design. Level 4 is shows warriors on camels. Level 5 is images of Gods. Level 6 is shikhar. Level 7 has different type of images i.e. left to right elephant, man woman, meditation, warrior etc.

Dancing Lakshmi. Right is Vishnu. Do visit this temple super. Keep half a day.

Parvati. U see her killing demon symbolised by her foot on animal. She is thus known as Mahishasura Mardini. Temple complex has a well maintained garden.

Temple entrance. Note pillar design.

"Pillar and garden outside temple. Earlier there would be a flame on the pillar. To see pics of Belur Temples Click Here

Pic of me with temple clicked by guide Ramakrishna. Did not know he clicked pics as well. See pics of Halebidu Temples Click Here