Shobha Karndlaje

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BJP Karnataka

Sri Chennakeshava temple, Somanathapura, Mysore

Sri Chennakeshava temple, Somanathapura, Mysore

Sri Chennakeshava temple, Somanathapura, Mysore

History:

The sculpture of Chennakesava Temple at Somanathapura is considered one of the finest examples of Hoysala art and architecture. Almost all the features of Hoysala sculpture and architecture are incorporated within the temple building. According to historical facts the temple was consecrated in 1268 AD during the reign of King Narasimha III.The sculpture of Chennakesava Temple is predicted to be a specimen of later Hoysala style because of certain architectural elements. For instance this temple has two eaves that run around it. The upper eave appears where the tower meets the shrine wall and the lower eave is to be found about one metre below the upper one. The gap between the two eaves has been filled with the help of the aedicule or decorative miniature towers. Decorative panels comprising Hindu deities and their attendants have been sculpted below the lower eaves. All is all there are almost 200 such panels. What follows below the panels six horizontal uniform ornate friezes. At the juncture where the jagati meets the mandapa wall these friezes begin. The six mouldings have been divided into two sections. One part bears the sculpted images of elephants, horsemen and procession. These have been accompanied by foliage sculpture as well. The upper sections of the friezes have been decorated with episodes from Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata and Puranas. These scenes have been etched out on stone in details. Makara, an imaginary beast and hansas (swans) are recurring motifs of Chennakesava Temple sculpture. While Ramayana is depicted on the south wall, Mahabharata appears on the north side. The final effect of the decorative towers and friezes add to the brilliance of its architecture.It is the lathe turned pillar, which support the ceiling of the temple. The ceiling here is dome shaped and is decorated with intricate designs. Multi-petalled lotuses, banana bud motifs, stepped ponds and ananta knots (symbol for eternity) are part of these designs. Other sculptures of Chennakesava Temple are the images of the royal family riding opulently decorated chariots, camel drawn chariots, soldiers and subjects riding horses, dancers, musicians and hunters heading for hunt with bows, arrows and their dogs. There are sculptures of palaces of kings looked after by armed guards; sculpted images of jewellery like pendants, necklaces, waistbands and rings and women with different hair styles.Several names of artisans have been discovered that establish the fact that the Hoysala Empire hired both local as well as artists from outside the empire to build this temple.Some of the names of these artisans are Ruvari Mallithamma, Masanithamma, Chameya, Rameya, Chaudeya, Nanjeya (locals) and Pallavachari and Cholavachari (Tamil dynasty).There are three shrines at the Chennakesava Temple dedicated to Keshava, Janardhana and Venugopala. Thus it can be deduced that this Hoysala temple was strictly a Vaishnava temple.

Deity and scrulptures:
The sculpture of Chennakesava Temple is predicted to be a specimen of later Hoysala style because of certain architectural elements. For instance this temple has two eaves that run around it. The upper eave appears where the tower meets the shrine wall and the lower eave is to be found about one metre below the upper one. The gap between the two eaves has been filled with the help of the aedicule or decorative miniature towers. Decorative panels comprising Hindu deities and their attendants have been sculpted below the lower eaves. All is all there are almost 200 such panels. What follows below the panels six horizontal uniform ornate friezes. At the juncture where the jagati meets the mandapa wall these friezes begin. The six mouldings have been divided into two sections. One part bears the sculpted images of elephants, horsemen and procession. These have been accompanied by foliage sculpture as well. The upper sections of the friezes have been decorated with episodes from Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata and Puranas. These scenes have been etched out on stone in details. Makara, an imaginary beast and hansas (swans) are recurring motifs of Chennakesava Temple sculpture. While Ramayana is depicted on the south wall, Mahabharata appears on the north side. The final effect of the decorative towers and friezes add to the brilliance of its architecture.

It is the lathe turned pillar, which support the ceiling of the temple. The ceiling here is dome shaped and is decorated with intricate designs. Multi-petalled lotuses, banana bud motifs, stepped ponds and ananta knots (symbol for eternity) are part of these designs. Other sculptures of Chennakesava Temple are the images of the royal family riding opulently decorated chariots, camel drawn chariots, soldiers and subjects riding horses, dancers, musicians and hunters heading for hunt with bows, arrows and their dogs. There are sculptures of palaces of kings looked after by armed guards; sculpted images of jewellery like pendants, necklaces, waistbands and rings and women with different hair styles.Several names of artisans have been discovered that establish the fact that the Hoysala Empire hired both local as well as artists from outside the empire to build this temple.Some of the names of these artisans are Ruvari Mallithamma, Masanithamma, Chameya, Rameya, Chaudeya, Nanjeya (locals) and Pallavachari and Cholavachari (Tamil dynasty).
There are three shrines at the Chennakesava Temple dedicated to Keshava, Janardhana and Venugopala. Thus it can be deduced that this Hoysala temple was strictly a Vaishnava temple.

How to reach:

Route :
1.Bangalore-Ramanagara-Channapatna-Maddur-Malavalli-Somanathapura.
2.Bangalore-Kanakapura-Malavalli-Somanathapura.
3.Mysore-Tirumakudal Narasipura-Somanathapura.
4.Mysore-Bannur-Somanathapura.

Road :
Somanathapura being a major tourist spot in Karnataka it is well connected by road from Mysore and Bangalore.
It is advisable for the tourist to go by their own vehicle as there are many places around to watch after visiting the temple.
Rail :
The nearest rail head is at Mysore. One can reach Mysore from part of the Country, as it is well connected from Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi, and then proceed by road to Somanathapura.

Airport :
Bangalore International Airport is the nearest airport, but once Mysore airport becomes operational it will be the nearest.

Quotes

We are responsible for what weare, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to makeourselves. If what we are now has been the result of our own past actions, itcertainly follows that whatever we wish to be in future can be produced by ourpresent actions; so we have to know how to act.

— Swami Vivekananda

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