Chennakesava temple, built in 1268 by the Hoysala king Narasimha III, is the famous attraction in Somanathpur. Over 500 artists worked for 68 years to bring this massive masterpiece to life.

The temple is easy to reach with the help of Google Maps.

There is so much history behind this architecture marvel. So, we are breaking the article into three parts. In this part, we will cover the exterior view of the temple. In a future part article, we will cover in detail about key statues and interior of the temple, along with a 360 degree video of the temple.

Minty Tip: Hire the guide named Devaraj. He has very deep understanding of the place. Pay Rs 300 to him (he doesn’t negotiate, we tried).

The temple has a huge open area which is well maintained with greenery.

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At the first shot at the Chennakesava temple, it looked tiny. But, as and when we started exploring every minute detail in the temple, it simply blew our mind. The attention to detail, execution precision, strategic planning and the vision of the temple simply amazed us.

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Once you enter the temple, you will see the picture below.

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View from the backside of the temple. You will be able to see 13th century Kannada language inscriptions on some statues — bringing out various details like the land owner, who built the temple, name of the sculptors (like ramaiah, mosanathamma, mallithamma, chowdaiah) etc.

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The aerial view of the temple resembles a star shape that has 26 star-shaped corners. The beauty of this architecture is – from any of the corner, if you look up all the way to the top of the temple, you will see that all corners of all layers in the top portion of the temple are in a straight line. See picture below.

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The place is known by various names among people – Somnathpur, Somanathapura, and Somnathpura. But, actually, the place is called “Somanathpur”.

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Panaroma view of temple intetior:

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Panaroma view of the temple.

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Panaroma view of entrance of the temple.

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Must Know Details:

Entrance fee for Indians: Rs 15

Entrance fee for foreginers: Rs 200

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