Somnathpur Town near Mysore
Getting to SomnathpurYou would be more interested in the scenery as you drive along NH 209 on the Kanakapura Road, turning off at Malavalli on the Bannur Road, taking a turn just before the town to arrive at this temple town. However, what redeems Somnathpur and gives it a special status is the presence of the famous Chennakesava Temple also known as Keshava temple. This famous temple is a prime example of Hoysala temple architecture, constructed by Somanatha under the aegis of King Narasimha III in the thirteenth century. Somanatha was an army commander under the King and acquired the village on the banks of the Cauvery, naming it after himself.
Tourist Attractions of Somnathpur
- The Chinnakeshava temple or Somnathpur Temple as it is popularly known is a glorious example of the pinnacle of Hoysala architecture, a typical South Indian style developed during the rule of the Hoysalas. The style can be found in Halebidy, Belur and other places throughout Karnataka. The Somnathpur temple rests on a raised platform and is star shaped. All walls of the temple have intricate carvings of exceptional beauty and of particular interest are the pillars. The main entrance is to east of the courtyard, leading to the main shrine at the center surrounded by smaller shrines. The main motif is elephants depicted in various poses, decorated with bells. The idols of Lord Janardhana, Venogopala and Kesava are housed in the temple. The pillars are turned on a lathe and support a huge, intricately decorated mandapa comprising of lotuses, banana buds and knotted vines. There are three shrines in the temple complex. One is dedicated to Keshava but the idol is missing. Another houses an idol of Janardhana and the third houses an idol of Venogopala, all incarnations of the supreme Lord Vishnu. Sculptures tell a story about the affluence of that age in the form of richly decorated women, horses, camels, dancers, musicians, hunters and chariots.
- Chinnakeshvara temple is not the only attraction of Somnathpur. From here to Mudukuthore is a short distance, where you will find the famed Mallikarjuna temple. According to the legends Arjuna stayed here and installed a Shiv Ling making an offering of jasmine or mallika flowers from which actually the shrine takes its name. It is one of the most holy of pilgrimage places where panchlinga darshana is allowed once in 12 years.
- About 26 km from Somnathpur is situated Talakad, a village where you will find the famous Vaidhyanatheshwara temple, another of the five panchalinga temples in the south, a place of pilgrimage for devout Hindus.
- When you are in Somnathpura do not forget to visit Shivanasamundaram known for the Gaganachukku and Bharachukku waterfalls. Shivanasamudra is an island on the Cauvery River that branches into two at this location. On the western branch you will find these two beautiful waterfalls. Gaganachukki waterfalls powers Asia’s first hydroelectric power station set up in 1905. Bharachukki is the more beautiful of the two and you can take a boat ride to the falls.
So for those who are love with temple architectures a drive to this temple town of Somnathpur will indeed a happy retreat from their busy life giving them a chance to gaze and marvel at the beautiful temple architectures.