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Review of Somnathpur Temple

Somnathpur Temple
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Private Tour: Shivanasamudra Waterfalls and Ancient Somnathpur Full-Day Tour...
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Reviewed 5 August 2014

Its a world heritage site. It must be in the list who comes to visit Mysore. It is a less than an hour drive from Mysore city. Photographer's paradise. Must visit place for students, historians, and in general for history enthusiasts and tourists. Beautiful sculptures, well kept. Can easily spend half a day. Be careful to fill your stomach from.Mysore or Srirangpatna on the way as there is nothing around. One can cover the beautiful water fall of "Shivana Samudram". Roads are not good but huge waterfall. Best at monsoon (July to October)

3  Thank HaimantiPaul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 14 July 2014

The Keshava temple at Somnathpur around 35km from Mysore is an immensely beautiful Hoysala temple.It was built in 1268 AD - took 58 years to build and houses the shrines of Keshava, Janardhana and Krishna – TRIKUTAACHALA(Temple with 3 shrines).

Ordered by the 3rd generation Hoysala king , it was built by one his Army generals Somnatha and hence the name of the place is Somnathapura and the temple - Somnathpur temple.

This is one of the finest representation of Vesara architectural form of Hoysalas with minute detailing all through and Beautiful Ceilings(Depicting different stages of Banana Flower Blooming in different ceiling panels) and Pillars inside the main sanctum sanctorum.
The base of the temple is Star Shaped. The corridors on 3 sides used to house 64 Shrines but are now empty. There are more than 194 statues carved on the outer panel walls.

Guides are available Unfortunately there are no audio guides.

As you enter the temple on your right you have a inscription in old kannada detailing who has built the temple . what were the statues inside and above this inscription you can see small statues of the three deities Krishna, Keshava and Janardhana.

No Puja is done as the three main deities have some minute damages(not really visible unless explained by the guide).

1) OUTER WALLS DETAILS - What not to miss .
Some interesting motifs are the slaying of Bhakasaura, Chamudi slaying Mahishasura and the intestines falling out, Avatars of Vishnu and a Mother swan feeding baby swans, the detailing of toe rings, nails jewellery on statues , the approach of Pandavaas and Kauravas from opposite side on the star shaped base.

As you walk on the Star base in clockwise direction, you can observe the fine details of the following statues. I have put in pictures where possible.
a) Notice the 5 layered base - elephant, Soldiers on horses, flower, soldiers + musician, Gods. . ... On this 5 layered panel, the South side(left) top layer has a distinct Gopuram Shape indicating Dravidian South Style while on the Right side you can notice the top layer on the Rekha Nagara Shikara.. This combination of architecture represents the Hoysala's Vesara architecture. This theme is there on all the sides of the temple and runs along the base.
b) We can see a statue of NARASIMHA where the Asura’s intestines outside have been ripped outside.
c) There are some erotic sculpture on one panel but very few.
d) Notice the ventilation window - from outside it looks star shaped and from inside its in a square shape.
e) Notice VASUDEVA statue SITTING ON 7 HEADED COBRA, GANESHA and SARASWATHI (VEENA BROKEN) a mridangam player at her feet.
f) Check out DHANAVANTRI - Ayurveda medicine God with Aurveda in one hand, Amruth kalas(pot of nectar) in the other hand
g) Statue of Vishnu in MATSYA avatara - face looks like a fish.
h) Avatar of Vishnu in PARASURAMA avatara - holding an axe.
i) Avatar of Vishnu in KURMA avatara - face looks like a tortoise
j) Avatar of Vishnu in VARAHA avatara - face looks like a Boar and holding the planet earth between his hands.
k) INDRA on the famed AIRAAVATA(white elephant).
l) GARUDA - Vishnu vahana - Garuda holing Lakshmi and Vishnu in his left hand while kneeling.
m) Avatar of Vishnu in NARASIMHA avatara - With Lakshmi devi
n) On the basement motif you can see Elephants and at the star corner junctions . The interesting aspect is that 2 elephant bodies have only one head to conserve space in a star shaped edge.
o) VIDYADEVI/SARASWATHI- with veena, palm leaf, stick for wrting,
p) There are statues of Anuchara - servants holding maize and lotus flower in each hand. Very intricate detailing of toe rings. Nails, Jewellery are visible in these statues.
q) A Mother SWAN feeding Baby Swans
r)RATHI(right side) holding flower and MANMATHA(Centre).. with sugarcane - the god and goddess of love
s)Vishnu with LAKSHMI Sitting on lotus flower which is supported by an elephant. Notice the bent portion of the flower due to Lakshmi feet and the elephant supporting it.
t) There is an interesting motif at the base made by the sculptor Chaudayaa . It is the battle of Kurukshetra with kauravasa coming from the left and Pandavasa approaching from the right of the star shaped base.
u) Above the Third pranala(outlet for abhisheka) you can see BHEEMA BAKAURA statue.Bheema taking food and then fighting with bhakasura.
v) Notice the statue of Chamundi - chamudeswari kills the asura using a trishul(a spear which is now broken) -Notice the exposed intestines of Mahishasura - what intricate detailing. There is a Buffalo under her feet and a lion resting on the right !!! This is done by Malyuthamma sculptor
w) NATYALAKSHMI - 8 handed Lakshmi dance pose - hands are all broken state.Musicians at her feet.

a)The Ceiling Panels of Somnathpura temple depict the different stages of Banana flower Blooming - Something Unique which I havent seen anywhere. Amazing how they have done it. On the layered ceiling panel you can see 64 musicians with mridangams in the circular panel in one layer.
b)Inside you have pillars which are round shaped as well as corrugated edges multi sided pillars.
c)The inner sanctorum over the door of each of the Statues you can see a miniature of the same
d) The centre deity Keshava's base it original but the main shrine is replacement by ASI. the other 2 deities are original.
e) If you look closely at the Janardhana statue - you will see that the toe finger of right leg broken .
f) One more interesting aspect of the Janardhana statue if you just look at the Chest from neck to torso - it looks like a cow(check the photo).

On the whole its a really mind boggling work of sculpture and people interested in beautifully sculpted temples will love it.

What is a must - A Good Flashlight/Torch for the inside sanctum sanctorum. Though there are lights there could be frequent power cuts and you would need a good torch appreciate the inner garbha griha. The outer wall areas are well lit by Sunlight.

FOOTWEAR - No Footwear is allowed inside the temple. While some rudimentary carpet is there, it wouldn’t be sufficient if you want to explore the outer walls to your heart’s content. Take a pair of socks to avoid scorched feet.

FOOD - Other than the temple there is nothing much there.While There is no food , hotel facility there is one small shop just outside like a hut and we got idils and vada for Rs 5. I wouldn't vouch for the hygine etc. You can check the photo of the place which I have included. I would say there is no FOOD and hence plan it after breakfast from Mysore so that you can be back by lunch.

TIME FOR VIEWING - If you have an eye for detail, you can spend as much as 2 hours (sometimes even more) but maybe with a guide , you can complete in 45 minutes to an hour clicking photos.

RESTROOM/TOILETS - I don’t remember seeing any.

PHOTOGRAPY - Allowed everywhere even inside the Garbha Griha.

ROUTE - The roads are good - SH33 and SH79 . On SH79 after 6-7 km keep a watch for Somnathpur board. There are not too many signs.

If you found this review Helpful kindly click on the Helpful button . Happy travel to Somnathpur temple.

21  Thank Pan_India_Traveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 June 2014

A must visit for people interested in temple architecture, especially if you can't visit Belur and Halebid.

3  Thank NSircar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2014

Best place to have a look at the Hoysala architecture... A must visit place on the way to Mysore if you travel from Bangalore. Very well maintained. Entrance fee is Rs.5/- and video camera charges Rs.25/-. You can skip this place if planning to visit Belur/Halebidu.

No restaurant near by, plan accordingly.

3  Thank SaravanaVel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 June 2014

I visited this this place in May. It was a wonderful drive to reach the place from Bangalore. The Keshav Temple of Hoysala period is located in a sleepy village Somnathapura. Architecture of the temple on the platform is fabulous. The stone pillars with lathe work was a revelation. The monument is well preserved by Archeological Survey of India.

Thank peddirr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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