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Keshava Temple, Somanathapur

DISTRICT: Mysore; TALUK: T. Narasipura
LOCALITY: Sornanathapur (Lat.12° 16' N; Long. 760 53' E)

The place, which was earlier under the rule of the Cholas, was conquered by Hoysala Vishnuvardhana in 1117 AD. It became one of the foremost agrahara townships during the rule of Narasimha III. An inscription dated 1268 AD records that Somanatha Dandanayaka, an illustrious general of the Hoysala king Narasimha III, established an agrahara in Somanathapur and named it as Vidyanidhi Prasanna Somanathapura and consecrated the temple of Kesava. The temple is the most ornate and perfect model of the Hoysala style of architecture. The temple facing east has three garbhagrihas on the west, north and south, all connected to a common pillared hall through a separate sukanasi. The western sanctum houses the image of Vishnu as Kesava. The southern has the image of Venugopala and the northern has image of Janardana. The temple stands on a high stellate platform, and is enclosed in a spacious courtyard surrounded by pillared corridors with sub¬shrines. The temple is known for elaborately carved doorways, and beautifully executed ceilings of the navaranga mandapa. The friezes of the basement, beautiful images of deities adorning the exterior wall surfaces with names of the sculptors who carved them like Mallitamma, the highly decorated and beautifully proportioned superstructure resting on the three sanctums, known for their poise and elegance render the Keshava temple a perfect model of the trikutachala order.