Somanathapura, a village situated on the left bank of the river Cauvery boasts one of the last and the grandest of Hoysala monuments - Chennakeshava Temple (also called Kesava or Keshava temple) built 742 years ago. There are three temples enshrined within the premises of the star shaped temple standing on a jagali (raised platform) that are dedicated to the Prasanna Chennakeshava, Lord Janardhana and Venugopala, two different incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
The temple was built by Somnath, the Commander of Hoysala King Narasimha III during 1268 A.D. The reigning monarch Narasimha III (1254-91 A.D.) full regal title runs into a sizable paragraph: "Sri Vishnuvaradhana, Pratapa Chakravarti, Hoysala Bhujabala, Sri Vira Narasimha, Maharajadhiraja, Raja Paramesvara, Sanivarasiddhi, Giridurgamalla etc. However, the temples of Somanathapura were not built by the king, but by his popular army commander Somnath. Earlier he founded an agrahara (village) on the banks of the Cauvery River, which he named Somanathapura after himself and then embarked on constructing temples.
The central shrine had the Keshava figure (now missing) and the other two shrines have the idols of Janardhana and Venugopala. The temple is the result of the efflorescence of the Hoysala style architecture where the temple is designed as a mini cosmos with scenes carved on the walls including Gods, Goddesses, dancing girls, musicians, gurus and all kinds of animals including elephants, lions, cows and monkeys.
The outer walls have beautifully carved exquisite figures of gods and goddesses, taken from the Hindu puranas, and meticulously arranged sculptures. The temple, stellar in shape, has three profusely carved pinnacles with a common Navranga. The names of the sculptors are inscribed on their works, which was a common practice during the reign of the Hoysalas. Mallithamma, Masanithamma, Parashurama and Marana were some of the sculptors involved in its construction.
There are also temples of Panchalingeswara and the Lakshminarayana built on the river bank built by Somnath.
Somanathapura Temple Timings06.00 am - 06.30 pm
Somanathapura Temple Entry ChargesFree Entrance
How to Reach SomanathapuraSomanathapura is 10 kms from T.Narsipura, 35 kms from Mysore and 140 kms from Bangalore.
KSRTC Buses & Private Buses ply regularly from Mysore.