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Saumyakesava Temple, Nagamangala

DISTRICT: Mandya; TALUK: Nagamangala
LOCALITY: Nagamangala (Lat. 120 49' N; Long. 760 44' E)
APPROACH: AIRPORT: Bengaluru; RAILWAY STATION: Pandavapura; BUS STATION: Nagamangala

Nagamangala, situated in ancient Gangavadi, a prolific Vaishnava centre, received patronage from the time of Hoysala Vishnuvardhana (1116 AD). His wife Bommala Devi made grants to the famous Shankaranarayana temple and renovated it. During the time of the Hoysala King, Vira Ballala II, Nagamangala was developed into an agrahara called 'Vira Ballala Chaturvedi Bhattaratnakara'.

The Saumyakeshava temple is a large structure in soapstone and granite, built in 12th century AD and renovated by successful rulers reveal glimpses of Hoysala, Vijayanagara and post-Vijayanagara features. It’s imposing mahadvara, prakara and patalankana seems to have been added in the Vijayanagara period.  On plan, this trikutachala temple has a garbhagiha, an antarala, a navaranga, a large pillared mahamandapa. The navaranga has two shrines at north and south. At east, the mahamandapa opens into a jagati. The temple raised on a jagati with the conventional mouldings is stellate in the region of sanctum and indented in the region of mahamandapa. The conventional mouldings of adhisthana, single pilastered turreted wall, an austere sikhara without the typical Hoysala carving retains its majesty. In the sanctum the image of god Kesava, six feet high, stands on a Garuda pedestal. It is well-sculptured and serene in expression, so it is called Saumyakeshava. The pillars and Ceilings of the navaranga are treated with varied and attractive designs. The tall seven storeyed lime and brick gopura over the eastern entrance, the stucco figures of gods and goddesses and other sub-shrines add grace to the entire temple complex.