The Keshava temple
, near the city of Mysore
in the Indian state
, is the last major temple of the Hoysala
dynasty. Somnathpur is around 38 kilometers from Mysore, Karnataka
state. The Keshava temple is the best-preserved most complete monument of Hoysala
architecture. The temple is believed to have been built (around AD 1268) under Somnatha, a general in the army of Narasimha III
The entire temple was built on a broad platform to enable devotees to perform a pradakshina
of the temple and to view the wonderful carvings on the outer wall surface. The platform on which the temple stands is guarded by seated lions. The actual temple base rises straight out of the platform and is composed of a series of bands that wind around the star form of the building. The shrines sit at the center of a courtyard bounded by a rectangular perimeter of cloisters
and subsidiary shrines
. An entrance pavilion is set into the east side of the courtyard.
In Hindu cosmology the universe is carried on the shoulders of powerful celestial guardian elephants. In these temples there are several elephants holding up the temple, which is symbolically a miniature universe. Each elephant is different in stance and poise and is beautifully bejeweled and decorated with chains and bells.
Every corner and angular projection of the central wall space of the temples is inhabited by familiar deities. They appear in all their glory, adorned with heavy jewels, towering crowns,... Read More