Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kesava Temple - Somnathpur ( Off Mysore)

Somnathpur, a small village around 40 km from Mysore is known for one of the finest examples of the Hoysala architecture “ The Kesava temple”. This was built in the 2nd half of the 13th century by Somanath, a commander in the army of the Hoysala king NarshimaIII. Somnatpur is probably 3rd in the pecking order in brilliance in Hoysala architecture after Belur and Halabedu. The artists fortunately have had a free run with a “No Holds Barred” theme . The temple is on a raised star shaped platform with a large circumbulatory path around the temple. The outer walls has intricate carvings which is characteristic of Hoysala architecture and the circumbulatory path doubling as a viewing platform for this spectacular rock concert. If Somnathpur needs a tag line it would probably go like this “Symmetry in Symphony” We were fortunate that we were the only ones in the temple and did not have to jostle for space. A word of caution though. Plan to visit early in the day to avoid blisters and burns in the foot as the platform gets extremely hot as the day progresses as no footwear is allowed inside the temple complex. It would be ideal to stay in Mysore for an early visit. Its approximately 40 km from Mysore and 130 km form Bangalore.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rock Concert - Nandieswara Temple - Nandi Hills


The Bhoganandeeswara Temple

Nandi Hills is 60 km from Bangalore past the Bangalore International Airport. This is a popular weekend destination for many, provided one is prepared to lug food and other goodies for a taste of clean country air and pristine landscape. At the foot hills is the Bhoganandeeswara Temple.

This is a beautiful piece of architecture with an eclectic mix of styles from the Cholas, the Vijaynagar empire to the Hoysalas. In spite of the temple having evolved over centuries, it is defenitely one of the finest temples in Karnataka today

The temple was built by Ratnavalli a queen from the Bana Dynasty. The Banas were vassals of the Cholas and Pandyas. However the Banas only claim to fame was Vallavarayan Vanthiyathevan, the hero of Kalki's magnum opus "Ponniyan Selvan" who was of Bana(Vanar) descent.

The sanctum has a large lingam and a sculpture of the chola king sitting in a meditative position can be seen in the artha mantapam. The ceiling is adorned with rich scultures.
To the left of the Nadiswar temple is the sanctum of Arunachaleswarar. Sandwiched between the 2 is a sanctum of Umamaheswara with a Kalyana mantapa in the front. This is built in soft soap stone; characteristic of the Hoysala architecture has lot intricate carvings

By the side of this complex is another Kalyana Mantapa with a huge stepped tank.

While this is declared a protected monument by the Archiological survey of India, it could do with better upkeep . All said and done this is a MUST VISIT temple.