Friday, January 4, 2013

Photoblog of Trip to Mysore and Somnathpur - February 2012

We visited Bangaluru (earlier Bangalore) for attending a family function in February 2012. I had requested my host family that having come to Bangaluru, I would like to visit Mysore especially to see Keshava temple carvings in Somnathapur. I had heard a lot about the intricate temple carvings through some travel related articles and this time I did not wish to miss this opportunity. My host family not only agreed to accompany us, he made it a part of a family gathering by hosting the visit.

After the end of our engagements in Bangaluru, we started our journey at about 4.00 p.m.  by a hired Qualis for Mysore. After a 45 minutes coffee break on the Bangaluru-Mysore highway, we reached Mysore around 7.30 p.m. We checked in   a pre-booked guest house which was more like a home stay. The guest house belonged to a company where my host was working. The guest house was posh and located at a peaceful area not far away from the city centre. There was a cook attached to the guest house who prepared breakfast and meals as per our requirements. 

Day-1 : Somnathpur- Srirangpatnam-Mysore Palace-Brindavan Garden

After a heavy breakfast in the guest house, we started our journey for Somnathpur at around 10.00 a.m. The road journey (30 kms) was not as bad as  anticipated by us on the basis of the experiences of earlier travellers on this road. The star shaped temple is dedicated to Prasanna Chennakeshava ( Happy and handsome Keshava) an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The stone inscriptions at the entrance of the temple give the history of the temple. The temple was constructed in 1268 by Somanatha Dandanayaka, a commander in the army of Hoysala king Narsimha-III. Hence the name Somnathpur is given for the village.

The temple is enclosed from all the sides by a high wall. The temple is based on a high platform. The lower panels of the platform have sculpted processions of elephants followed by sculpted horsemen above it and then the band of foliage in the next. The upper moldings have carvings depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. I have seen almost similar type of architectures of platforms in Belur and Halebidu temples. The ceiling of the main hall is supported by lathe turned pillars probably of granite stones. Ceiling is intricately decorated with carvings. There are three temples within the enclosure of the main hall. The  main idol of Keshava is missing while other two idols of Janardan and Venugopal are still intact. Architecturally, everything about the temple appears symmetrical – be the shape of vimanas (domes), panel horizontal carvings on the base and vertical carvings on the temple domes. Another interesting point about the temple carving is that no place has been left out in the temple structures without carvings.

We spend about one hour in the temple complex. Despite being in the midst of the winter, the day was quite warm and the sun was very strong. I would advise to those interested in doing photography in the temple complex to consider visiting the temple say before 9.00 a.m. or after 4.00 p.m. to get the lighter sunrays for photography.

After Somnathpur, our next place to visit was Srirangapatnam. I have visited this place a couple of times in 70s and 90s. This is a live temple requiring us to e stand in the queue for ‘darshan’ of Srirangapatna. After lunch at Dasaprakasha, we proceeded to Mysore Palace which I had seen in my earlier visits. The camera, mobiles are not allowed inside the palace. However, one can take pictures from outside the palace.

It was almost 3.30 p.m. when we ended our round of the palace including the museum. We returned to the guest house for some rest. After tea/coffee in the evening, we commenced our journey to Brindavan Garden. We all had seen the Garden many years back but none of us has ever seen the garden and fountains under floodlight. So we had planned to visit the Garden only after sunset. It took almost one hour to reach Brindavan Garden gate. There were large number of cars and buses already parked giving an estimation of the number of people already inside the Garden. After buying entry tickets, we entered the Garden. A series of fountains were already flooded with lights which looked beautiful. Our main interest was to reach the last fountain which was a musical fountain playing on the tunes of Hindi and Kannad film songs. The musical fountain show ended with ‘Sare jahan se achhaa Hindustan hamaara’ song which, I would say, was the highlight of the musical fountain show. We returned to our guest house at around 9.30 p.m. and after dinner followed by some chit chat, we retired for the day. 

Day-2 : Chamundi Hills-Jagan Mohan Palace-Bangaluru

After breakfast, we commenced our journey to Chamundi Hills for visiting the Chamundeshwari temple (13 kms). There was no rush at the temple and our ‘darshan’ was smooth. Compared with my earlier visits, the surroundings of the temple has been kept very clean. The views of Mysore city and race course from the road to Chamundi Hills look very good. On our way back, we visited Jagan Mohan Place art gallery and spent an hour or so to see the paintings and other historical items kept on two floors of the palace. We returned to the guest house for lunch and after taking rest for a couple of hours, we commenced our return journey to Bangaluru thus ending a short and satisfying visit to Mysore and Somnathpur.

Some of the pictures taken during the journey are posted below with captions.
The pictures start with places visited in Mysore and then to Somnathpur temple. 


Love birds at one of the restaurants near Ramnagar on Bangalore- Mysore Highway.

Our guest house in Mysore where we were put up the first floor

On way to Srirangapatna

The main gopuram of Sri Ranganathaswami temple, Srirangapatana near Mysore

Idols of some of the Vishnu avatars on the top of the main entrance to Sri Ranganathaswamy temple

Vishnu Dashavatars - Narasimha Avatar

K R Circle, Mysore

Mysore Palace complex (Mobile upload)

Mysore Palace seen from the gate (Mobile upload)

Brindavan Garden in the night.

Musical fountains just before the end of the song 'saare jahan se achchha hindustaan hamara'.


Lighted fountains in Brindavan Garden.

A giant Nandi on the way to Chamundeshwari temple

View of the Mysore Race Course from the road to Chamundeshwari temple.

Statue of Mahisasura - Chamundi Hills

Gopuram of Chamundeshwari Temple.

A tree with wide spread over branches in the Jagan Mohan Palace complex.

Jaganmohan Palace, Mysore. Behind the Palace is the Art Gallery.

Coloured wood carvings of Mango tree on one of the main door top of Jagan Mohan Palace

Art Gallery of Jagan Mohan Palace.

Appears to be Buddha's sculpture kept outside the Keshava temple complex, Somnathapur.

The east facing main gate of Keshava temple, Somnathapur. The temple was built by Hoysala dynasty general Somnatha during the reign of King Narshimha-III in 1268 AD.

Stone plaque in Kannada language inside the main gate pavilion of Keshava temple.

Keshava temple view from the main gate.

Front view of the temple as seen from the entrance.

Left side view of the temple as seen from the entrance.

Right side view of the temple as seen from the entrance

The right side dome of the subsidiary temple of Kehsava temple.

The back side view of the central dome of Keshava temple. In the entire temple, hardly any space is left without carvings.

A close up of a top of the dome.

One of the two dwarpals of the Keshava temple.

The intricately carved ceiling inside Keshava temple.
The sanctum  sanctorum of the Main Keshava temple
The idol of Keshava inside the main temple

Vishnu with Laxmi

Carved ceiling of  sanctum sanctorum of Keshava temple

Panel carvings on the base and pillar carvings above the base at the outer wall of Keshava temple.

Image of Vishnu on the left

Image of Vishnu at the outer wall of the temple

Image of a lady carrying fruit in the outer wall of the temple

The carvings on the panels of the outer wall surface of Keshava temple. Generally, the lowest panels will have elephants as symbol of taking on weight of the temple

Outer wall surface carvings of Keshava temple. The continuation of these carvings in the next picture.

The continuation of the outer wall surface carvings from the previous picture.

The close up of the carvings of the outer walls of Keshava temple. On the top is the erotic carvings.


Carvings on the outer walls of the Keshava temple

One of several celestial elephants holding up the temple platform. Each such elephant is in different stance.

The walkway path close to the temple boundary has sanctums for subsidiary temples but at present they are empty

The other side of the walkway path with sanctums of subsidiary temples

Image of Vishnu in relaxing pose with the images of a drummer on the left and a woman carrying fruits on the right on the outwall surface of the temple.

Dancing Ganesh on the outer wall of the temple

Carvings of the musicians with musical instruments on the upper panel of outer wall of the temple

Picture of the main entrance pavilion from the Keshava temple




3 comments:

Swathi Manikireddy said...

I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to let you know that I have for sure loved reading the blog. Pics are awesome. Thanks for sharing ur trip experience. see more info about Rural Tourism in India and try to visit rural places in India. I hope you will write a new post again in near future.

anjali gupta said...

Mysore is an inspired mosaic of ornate palaces, gardens, boulevards and markets. Tourists must visit the Mysore City Palace, especially during the night to see its twinkling lights. For tourists accommodation, check out these hotels in Mysore.

Abhilasha Kukreti said...

these pictures are so compelling and mindblowing. Mysore indeed a great place and heritage of India. it is a home to palaces displaying fantastic architecture, wildlife sanctuary, gardens, temples and much more...you need a good amount of time to witness the beauty and explore best places to visit in mysore .