Somanthapura – Heritage Destinations in Karnataka
You must have traveled Halebid, haven’t you? Of course, you have. You have traveled Belur, haven’t you? Yes, you have. But have you visited the ‘poor cousin’ of these two places? Don’t you know of what I am speaking? I am speaking of Somanthapura. Once, a place under the rule of the mighty Hoysala kingdom, Somanthapura comes with some absolute marvel of Hoysala temple architecture and that’s why it is one of the best heritage destinations in Karnataka.
Even in this age, when Karnataka is evolving as one of the most significant Information Technology hubs in the world, it is still being regarded highly as a great historical tourist destination. Not many places in India have been able to retain the rich historical and regal flavor that we once had. Not many places have been able to preserve the cultural and traditional heritage of what we boasted so highly. Karnataka is one place in the south India that really marks for its rich historical and cultural heritage. If you are someone who wants to know India a bit better, you have got to visit Karnataka.
Here you will find the prints of the great Hoysala dynasty who ruled during the 13th century. Somanthapura is a tiny village on the Kaveri riverbanks, on the southwest of the state of Karnataka. This village was discovered by popular army commander Somnath. Since he founded the place, he named it after his name. This has all been inscribed in Kannada script.
Somanthapura boasts of one of the most important monuments that convey the excellence of the Hoysala temple architecture. Even if you haven’t heard about Somanthapura, you must have heard of the Kesava temple, built in the year 1268AD. This temple was built just when the Hoysala kingdom was reaching its peak glory. Though it is not so famous as the Belur and the Halebid, but the temples of the Somanthapura better represent the brilliance of the temple architecture. That’s why it is called the poor cousin of Belur and Halebid.
The outside of the temples have star-shaped folded walls, with lots of exquisite figurines of gods and goddesses on it. It also has scenes depicted on it from the Hindu Puranas. The inside of the temples are even more beautifully carved and printed with figures of animals, birds, dancing girls and so forth. The temple is stellar shaped and have three copiously decorated pinnacles, coupled with one common Navaranga on a plinth.
Inside the inner sanctum, you would have previously found the idols of Janardhana, Keshava and Venugopala. Unfortunately the idol of Kesava is missing, but you can get a look at the rest two.
Somanthapura is not that much of a famous place, but it is one of the best heritage destinations in Karnataka. And remember, it is already a great tourist destination for the international tourists