Somnathapura near Mysore houses the Kesava temple -
the last great temple built by the Hoysala dynasty.
The village of Somanathapura is named after a minister
by name Soma in the court of the Hoysala king Narasimha III (13th century CE), who founded
The Kesava temple is a fantastic piece of art. It
consists of three identical shrines built on a raised platform - with a common entrance
chamber in an enclosed courtyard.
The main shrine is dedicated to Kesava; however there
is no image of worship now. The other shrines are dedicated to Janardhana and Venugopala.
These shrines are only about 30 feet in height. Yet
they are covered profusely with ornate sculpture of the highest order, as seen in the
Hoysala temples of Belur and Halebidu, with themes from the Indian epics, nature and so
An open corridor runs around the circumambulatory path
and it has sixty four cells, meant for housing images of divinities (as in the
kailasanatha temple at Kanchipuram). These cells are now bereft of images.