May 29, 2012

Somanathpur- Architectural Brilliance of Hoysalas...!!

It was a long wonderful ride past shady trees and blooming gulmohars on Kanakapura road into the dusty little village of Somanathpur to witness its architectural wonder. The village has gained importance amongst the heritage sites in India with Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) undertaking the Chennakeshava temple situated there. The place seemed quite serene with a couple of tea shops outside and minimal tourists.



 Belur and Haleibid near Chikmagalur (read my post here) is famous and glorifies Hoysala architecture to its heights. Comparitively Somnathpur has been less prominent on the tourist map but still displays the architectural brilliance of Hoysalas. The temple was built in the 13th century during the Hoysala rule by one of their commanders, Somanath. The place also gets its name from him.


 The temple is seated on a star shaped platform with 3 inner sanctums and a outer courtyard. The interior has numerous lathed pillars and astonishing architecture on its sides and roof. The three inner sanctums have an idol each, namely Janardhana, Venugopala and Keshava. Each of them are different forms of Lord Krishna. The outer walls are en-carved all over with intricate architecture and marvelous sculptures. Each carving depicts in detail, age old stories and scenes from the epics. I also noticed that many of the sculptures and carvings have been chipped off in quite a few places during the invasions of earlier centuries. Surrounding the outer courtyard on three sides are three long corridors with numrous pillars and small inner sanctums.



















Though the architecture has great resemblences to the ones in Belur and Haleibid, Somnathpur seemed to me like a lost world with a lot of serenity and solitude. It is probably beacuse tourists are less here. Walking around the courtyard barefoot in hot sun was not a very exciting idea. So after hip hoping around the courtyard I sat down near the entrance under a shade. I kept gazing at the mesmerising temple for a long time and sank into oblivion. I was woken up when a couple of children ran into the complex. After spending a couple of solitude hours at the temple I rode back to Bengaluru.





Presently the temple is taken care by the ASI and they are also further excavating the place and restoring the existing works. The temple is not functional and no rituals are performed here. It is protected as a heritage site by the ASI and is open from 9.00am to 5.00pm everyday. If one wants to know in detail the stories behind the carvings it is better to hire guides who are easily available at th entrance.

Signing Note- Transport yourrself back to the ages of Hoysalas and get lost amidst their magnificent architectures...!!

Distance- 140 Kms
Route- Bengaluru- Kanakapura- Malvalli- Bannur- Somnathpur




34 comments:

  1. Somnathpur! Great collection of pictures!

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  2. Yes the architecture is brilliant & awesome. Must include this place on my travel itinerary in future.

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    Replies
    1. It definitely is a must visit. Head there soon.

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  3. So many beautiful places to see and so few leaves! Lovely pictures.

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  4. Interesting Write up with beautiful monochrome pictures...

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  5. Simply relived the beauty of this place through your monochrome pictures .

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  6. great photography,thanks for giving us inside of this wonderfull place.

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  7. Nice Pics! I had a bad photography day while I was here. I have to blame it on the scorching sun, since I could not check my clicks properly and adjust the settings accordingly.

    I like the idea of the black and white photography too.

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  8. Thanks Kishan. The sun was beating down on me when i was there.

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  9. This is a magnificent temple with beautiful carvings.

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    Replies
    1. It indeed is a beautiful display of architectural extravaganza.

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  10. Beautiful place and nice photos!!

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  11. Fantastic photography in monochrome.
    I haven't visited temples of these kind except one in Goa which I belive was constructed by Hoysala kings.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Chitra. There are numerous such Hoysala temples in Karnataka.

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  12. The architecture is absolutely fantastic! Excellent photos, Niran!

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  13. beautiful photos in b&w

    thanks for sharing

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  14. Glad you ventured to Somnathpur!!! Its Belur n Halebidu put together in a nutshell... Isn't it???

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  15. This place looks amazing! Thanks for sharing, maybe I'll manage to make my way there someday...

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    Replies
    1. Its got some stunning architecture.. Head there soon. Thanks for dropping by.

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  16. Beautiful photographs. I have heard about Chennakeswara temple and remains in my wish list. Thank you for the intro.

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  17. Thank you. Head there soon. Its a beautiful temple.

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