Somnathpur "There is a stillness and everlastingness about the past, it changes not and has a touch of eternity," wrote Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru in his "Discovery of India." These words somehow hold true when one arrives at Somnathpur, a tiny village on the banks of the Kaveri, 140 kms, south-west of Bangalore. Here in this everlasting rural stillness, like a milestone to eternity, stood one of the last and the grandest of Hoysala monuments - the Kesava Temple built 740 years ago.
By the year 1268 A.D., the year in which the Kesava temple at Somnathpur was built, the Hoysala rule had completed 260 years. The riches and splendour of the Hoysala court were already evident in their grand temples at Belur and Dvarasamudra (present day, Halebid).
In the dust and turmoil of history, India was witnessing the Golden Age of the mighty Cholas, Pandyas and the Hoysalas. The last named dynasty which ruled Karnataka for nearly 350 years, was founded in 1006 A.D., soon after the collapse of the Ganga Dynasty.
Coming to the temple at Somnathpur, one need not search far for its history. An inscribed stone slab, in old Kannada, at the entrance says it all. The reigning monarch was Narasimha III (1254-91 A.D.) whose full regal title runs into a sizeable paragraph: "Sri Vishnuvaradhana, Pratapa Chakravarti, Hoysala Bhujabala, Sri Vira Narasimha, Maharajadhiraja, Raja Paramesvara, Sanivarasiddhi, Giridurgamalla etc.
The Temple - Prasanna Chenna Keshab temple
The temple, however, was not built by the king but by his celebrated army commander, Somnath. Some year ago he had founded a village on the left bank of the Kaveri River, which he named Somnathpur, after himself. Now in a bid for further immortality, Somnath petitioned the king to grand him the permission and resources for his project of setting up a grand temple to glorify Hoysala craftsmanship.
Soon work began. The best sculptors in the realm were commissioned for the task. There came sculptors whose wizardry with the hammer and chisel was almost legendary. Among them was the famous Mallitamma. Then there were sculptors: Ballayya, Chaudayya, Bharmayya, Kamayya and the Nanjayya. Of the 194 carved images on the outer walls, Mallitamma's contribution was forty. We know this because all the sculptors have signed their works - a practice unusual for its times, but also evident in Hoysala temples at Belur and Halebid.
The king not only bestowed Somnath with his largesse, but also sanctioned an annual grant of 3,000 gold coins for the temple's upkeep and maintenance. All these facts are duly mentioned on the slab and appear as though to have happened yesterday!
Interestingly, the earliest Hoysala monarchs were Jains. It was the great Vishnuvardhana (1108-42) who embraced Vaishnavism under the influence of the celebrated Vaishnava reformer Ramanuja. Later Hoysala rulers even became Saivites. But general tolerance of all faiths was typical of their rule. The Hoysala Dynasty finally came to an end around 1346 A.D. when the Vijayanagar Empire rose to power. Today Somnathpur is like any other Lackadaisical Indian village surrounded by farms of millet and sugarcane. Not as famous as Belur and Halebid, the Hoysala temple at Somnathpur, however, is truly unique in design, perfect in symmetry and the stone carvings are remarkable marvels in stone.
For the inscription on the stone slab, it becomes fairly evident that the magnificent temple was completed and consecrated in 1268 A.D. The shrine stands in the middle of a walled compound, around which runs an open verandah with 64 cells. The temple itself, stellar in shape, has three profusely carved pinnacles with a common Navranga and stands on a raised platform. The three sanctums once housed beautifully carved idols of Kesava, Janardhana and Venugopala. Today the idol of Lord Kesava is missing, but the other two still adorn the sanctums in their original form.
Somnathpur : Somnathpur is 26 km by bus from Srirangapatnam. From Mysore it is 40km away, 121 km from Bangalore and 37 km from Shivasamudram. If you are going there on your own and cannot get a direct bus from Mysore, take one to T Narisipur from the Mysore City Bus Stand. From T Narisipur you will get bus to Somnathpur. Instead of T Narisipur you can go to Bannur and then change buses. Likewise, you can go to Somnathpur via Srirangapatnam.
For staying on, you could enjoy the hospitality of the KSTDCs H Mayura Keshav, Somnathpur, @ 7017, next to the temple, SAB 45 DAB 65.
||121 km South West of Bangalore. 26 km by bus from Srirangapatnam. From Mysore it is 40km away and 37 km from Shivasamudram.
||Nearest Airport is Bangalore.
||121 km South West of Bangalore.
||If you are going there on your own and cannot get a direct bus from Mysore, take one to T Narisipur from the Mysore City Bus Stand. From T Narisipur you will get bus to Somnathpur. Instead of T Narisipur you can go to Bannur and then change buses. Likewise, you can go to Somnathpur via Srirangapatnam.
|When to go:-
||Any time of the year .
||Regional Tourist Office Old Exhibition Building, Irwin Road, Mysore. Tel 0821-2422096.
KSTDC Transport Wing, Yatri Nivas Building, JLB Road, Mysore , Tel: 0821-2423652, 2425349.
KSTDC(bookings and info) Badami House, NR Square, Bangalore Tel: 080-2275869, Fax: 2352626 Email: email@example.com
|Where to stay :-
KSTDCs H Mayura Keshav , Somnathpur, @ 7017, next to the temple, SAB 45 DAB 65.
Lalith Mahal Palace Siddartha Nagar, Mysore - 570 011 Tel: 0821-2470471, 2470475 Tariff Range: Rs. 5,500/- to Rs. 30,000/-+Tax
Regaatis Hotel No. 13-14, Vinoba Road, Mysore - 570 005 Tel: 0821-2428817, 2426426 Fax: 0821-421689 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site: www.ushashriramhotels.com
Tariff Range:Rs.4,500/- to Rs.9,000/-+Tax
The Green Hotel No. 2270, Vinoba Road, Jayalakshmipuram, Mysore - 570 012 Tel: 0821-4255000/ 01/ 02, 2512536 Fax: 0821 - 5126139
Tariff Range: Rs.1,950/- to Rs.6,000/-+Tax
King's Kourt JLB Road, Mysore - 570 005 Tel: 0821-2421142 Fax: 0821-2422384 Email: email@example.com Web site: www.kingskourt.com Tariff Range: Rs.1,800/- to Rs.4,000/-+Tax
Hotel Best Western Ramashree Hardinge Circle,
Mysore - 570 001 Tel: 0821-2522265/ 02/ 05 Fax: 0821-2565781 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site: www.ramanashree.com
Tariff Range: Rs.2,195/- to Rs.4,295/- +Tax
The Viceroy Sri Harsha Road, Mysore - 570 001
Tel: 0821-2424001, 2428001 Fax: 0821-2433391
Email: email@example.com Tariff Range: Rs.11,075/- to Rs. 22095/-
Hotel Palace Plaza No. 2716, Sri Harsha Road,
Mysore - 570 001 Tel: 0821-2417592, 2430034
Fax: 0821-2421070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tariff Range: Rs. 1,200/- to Rs. 15,000/-+12% Tax
Hotel The Paradise No. 104, Vivekananda Road,
Yadavagiri, Mysore - 570 020 Tel: 0821-2410366, 2515655 Fax: 0821-2514400 Email: email@example.com Tariff Range: Rs. 975/- to Rs.2,700/-+12%Tax
Hotel Siddharta No. 73/1,Guest House Road, Nazarbad, Mysore - 570 010 Tel: 0821-2522999, 888
Fax: 0821-2520692 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web site: www.siddhartahotel.com Tariff Range: Rs. 960/- to
Rs.1,460/- +17% Tax
Hotel Prakash Deluxe Opposite Medical College,
1474 - Sayyaji Rao Road, Mysore - 570 021 Tel: 0821-2521676, 2529434 Fax: 0821-2431136 Email: email@example.com Tariff Range: Rs. 390/- to Rs.750/- +Tax
Hotel Bombay Tiffanys No. 313, Sayyaji Rao Road Cross, Opposite Main Bata Showroom, Mysore - 570 001 Tel: 0821-2435255, 2435256 Fax: 0821-2433105 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tariff Range: Rs 390/- to Rs.950/- +Tax
Hotel Luciya International Near Dasprakash,
No. 1771, Old Bank Road, Mysore - 570 001
Tel: 0821-2420261 Fax: 0821-2420404 Email: email@example.com Tariff Range: Rs. 450/- to
Rs. 1200/- +8% Tax
Hotel Darshan Palace Lokaranjan Mahal Road,
Opposite to Regency Theatre, Nazarbad, Mysore - 570 010 Tel: 0821-2520794, 24258777 Fax: 0821-2564083 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site: www.hoteldarshanpalace.com
Tariff Range: Rs. 600/- to Rs.1400/-+Tax
Ganesh Palace Inn L-17, Chandraguptha Road,
Mysore - 570 001 Tel: 0821-2428985, 2421909
Tariff Range: Rs. 250/- to Rs. 850/ +Tax
KSTDC Mayura Hoysala No. 2, Jhansi Laxmi Bai Road, Mysore - 570 005 Tel: 0821-2425349, 2425597, Tariff Range: Rs 650/- to Rs.1,000/-
Hotel SCVDS Sri Harsha Road, Mysore - 570 001
Tel: 0821-2421379, 2425161 Tariff Range: Rs. 450/- to Rs. 750/-
Hotel Govardhan Sri Harsha Road, Mysore - 570 001 Tel: 0821-2434118, 2429422 Email: stayhotelgoverdhan.com Tariff Range: Rs.400/- to Rs.972/-
Hotel Dasharath No. 1159, Ramsons House, Near Zoo Garden, Mysore - 570 010 Tel: 0821-2449121
Fax: 0821-2563602 Email: email@example.com
Tarriff Range: Rs. 240/- to Rs. 750/-
KSTDC Mayura Yatri Nivas No. 2, Jhansi Laxmi Bai Road, Mysore - 570 005 Tel: 0821-2423492
Tariff Range: Rs. 200/- to Rs. 550/-
Hotel Ritz No. 5, B N Road, Mysore - 570 001
Tel: 0821-2422668, 2429082 Fax: 0821-2435777
Tariff Range: Rs.484/- +Tax
Hotel Aashraya Dhanvantri Road, Mysore - 570 001 Tel: 0821-2427088, 2426570
Tariff Range: Rs. 350 above
Hotel Chalukya International Rajkamal Talkies Road, Dhanvantri Road Cross, Devaraja Mohalla,
Mysore - 570 001 Tel: 0821-2427374, 2427197
Tariff Range: Rs. 225/- to Rs. 375/- +Tax
Hotel Indra Bhavan Dhanvantri Road, Mysore - 570 001 Tel: 0821-423933, 423755 Fax: 0821-422290 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Tariff Range: Rs. 170/- to Rs. 450/-+Tax
Shree Krishna Continental No. 73, Nazarbad Main Road, Mysore - 570 010 Tel: 0821-447042, 449044
Tariff Range: Rs. 450/- to Rs. 1100/-
Hotel Kalinga K R Circle, Opposite City Bus Stand,
Mysore - 570 001 Tel: 0821-431310, 070, 091 Fax: 0821-431310 Tariff Range: Rs. 260/- to Rs. 312/-+Tax
Hotel Tara Kempananjamba, Agrahara Road, Mysore - 570 024 Tel: 0821-427938
Tariff Range: Rs. 300/- to Rs. 400/-+Tax
Hotel Gayathri New Gayathri Building, Opposite Railway Station, Dhanvantri Road, Mysore - 570 001
Tel: 0821-425654 Tariff Range: Rs. 312/- to Rs. 500/-+Tax
Hotel Sangeetha No. 1966, Narayana Shastry Road, Near Udupi Sri Krishna Mandir, Mysore - 570 001 Tel: 0821-2424693, 2422424 Tariff Range: Rs. 250/- to Rs. 550/-+Tax
Mysore Dasaprakash Gandhi Square, Mysore - 570 001 Tel: 0821-442444, 444455 Fax: 0821-443456 Email: email@example.com
Tariff Range: Rs. 400/- to Rs. 925/-+Tax
Park Lane Hotel No. 2720, Sri Harsha Road, Mysore - 570 001 Tel: 0821-430400 Fax: 0821-428424 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tariff Range: Rs. 200/-Above +Tax
Green's Boarding, Lodging& Restaurant Harsha Road, Mysore - 570 001 Tel: 0821-422415
Tariff: Rs. 120/- Above +Tax.