Temple: Keshava Temple
The Keshava Temple is located in Somanathapura town in Mysore district, Karnataka.
Keshava Temple, Somanathapura – Overview
The Keshava temple at Somanathapura is another magnificent Hoysala monument, perhaps the last. This is a breathtakingly beautiful Trikuta Temple dedicated to Lord Krishna in three forms – Janardhana, Keshava and Venugopala. Unfortunately, the main Keshava idol is missing, and the Janardhana and Venugopala idols are damaged. Still this temple is worth a visit just to soak in the artistry and sheer talent of the sculptors who created this magnificent monument to the Divine.
Keshava Temple, Somanathapura – History
The Keshava Temple at Somanathapura was constructed by a commander of the Hoysala Army, Somanatha. This general had just established a small town here named after himself – Somanathapura. Obviously enjoying the favor of his overlord, the Hoysala King Narasimha III, he appealed to the king for permission and resources to undertake the project of building the magnificent temple. With the blessing of the king, the construction was started.
The construction of the temple was completed and consecrated in 1268 AD. There is an Old Kannada inscription on a stone slab in the temple which gives all these details.
Keshava Temple, Somanathapura – Architecture
The Keshava temple is built on a raised platform with an outer Pradakshina pathway. The temple has a stellar plan with three shrines and Vimanas. The walls are covered in beautiful friezes of scenes from the epics, figures of elephants and battle scenes depicting cavalry. The section above this is covered with carvings of various deities.
The stellar plan creates several corners and niches that provide different canvases for the sculptor and each row carries a different pattern. The exquisite carvings are like a jeweler’s work. The ceilings also carry beautiful decorations.
There are three shrines in this temple with three Vimanas, so this is a Trikuta Temple.
Keshava Temple, Somanathapura – Facts
This Hoysala temple is stunningly beautiful. Unfortunately, this temple is no longer used as a place of worship because the idols here have been broken and the temple was desecrated by the invading armies of the Muslim Sultanate. But the beautiful temple still charms visitors and reminds people of the magnificent artistic and engineering achievements of the era.
How to Get to Keshava Temple, Somanathapura
Somanathapura is 38 km from Mysore. You can get bus service from Mysore and Srirangapatna to Somanathapura. There is also a Railway Station in Somanathapura. You can visit this temple throughout the year, as there is no particular time.