Situated in the unobtrusive village of Somnathpur, 35km from Mysore, the exquisitely carved, star-shaped Kesava temple with triple towers is a perfect example of Hoysala architecture. The friezes on its outer walls with their intricately carved rows of caparisoned elephants, charging horsemen, and mythological birds and beasts will leave you spellbound. Beautifully sculpted images of gods, goddesses, and scenes from the epics, as well as the remarkably ornate ceilings in the pillared hall will take your breath away.
The temples in Somnathpur are not as widely known as the ones in Belur and Halebid, though they all are from the same period. Somnathpur is more representative of the age, since it did not suffer destruction as much as Belur and Halebid did and hence offers a better view of the period’s architecture. Often it is referred to as the poor cousin of Belur and Halebid. Somnathpur’s temples adhere to the typical Hoysala style of architecture, where the temple is designed as a mini cosmos with scenes carved on the walls including Gods, Goddesses, dancing girls, musicians, gurus and all kinds of animals including elephants, lions, cows and monkeys.