Tuesday, August 19, 2014

SOMANATHPURA

Saturday 16th August 2014
Visiting Somanathpura was long awaited and Saturday morning set off from Birthi Mane by car with Nalini Somayaji and Rishikanth Somayaji at 8.30am and reached Ramanagara, Loka Ruchi for breakfast, as usually we do it whenever we travel towards Mysore. After having kotte idli, dosa and coffee continued our journey.
LOKA RUCHI, RAMANAGARA
Traveling along Bangalore-Mysore road, we took diversion at Maddur, reaching Malavalli, a distance of 25km, and  right turn to Bennur, a distance of 20km and again left turn , a short distance to reach Somanathpura temple. 



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.
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 temple was finished and consecrated in 1268 AD. There is an Old Kannada inscription on a stone slab in the temple which gives all these details.
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.
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.
Wednesday, 20th August 2014

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