Thursday, February 21, 2019

Somnathpur Temple

From Talakadu our next destination was Somnathpur Temple and google maps was astonishingly helpful in reaching us there by the best route in the shortest time. This is an ASI protected and maintained monument. A sprawling expansive campus and neatly manicured lawn greets visitors on arrival. Entry tickets for Indian Nationals is Rs.30/person. The grandeur and magnificence of the monument stuns you as you enter through the entrance mandapam of the temple.
Once under the rule of Cholas, Somnathpur was captured by the Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana in AD 1117.Later it was ruled by the Vijayanagara kings and the Wodeyars of Mysore and became one of the foremost agrahara townships during the rule of Narasimha III. An inscription dated 1268 records that Somanatha Dandanayaka, an illustrious Hoysala General established an agrahara in Somnathpur and consecrated the Kesava Temple. The architecture and sculptures are most ornate and a perfect example of Hoysala architecture.The East facing temple has three garbha grihas or sanctums housing idols of Chennakesava, Janardana & Venugopala. The sanctums are securely locked and  pujas or offerings are not permitted.
The exquisitely carved sculptures inside the sanctums, on the inner & outer walls and the intricately carved ceilings & pillars fill you with awe. How assiduously and arduously the artisan must have worked to accomplish such breathtaking sculptures.We also found some calligraphy on stone but were unable to decipher the script and unravel the underlying secrets.The colonnaded pavilions surrounding the temple raised visions of the ancient coliseums of Rome - infact the pavilions actually housed innumerable sub sanctums for worship.Contemporary stone sculptures are no match for the brilliance of this antiquarian art.You simply stand there transfixed in admiration. I am dumbfounded and unable to find the right adjectives to describe. Pictures speak more loftily than words.
It was also sad to see degradation and weathering of the sandstone ravaged due to changing climatic conditions over the centuries. Vandals have contributed their share by perpetrating needless damage (decapitation of several human and animal sculptures) and vulgar calligraphy.



Wednesday, February 20, 2019


From Dhondenling we retraced to the Kollegal road and stopped briefly under the shade of a sprawling tree for a light snack of idli/chutney and comfortably warm decoction coffee. The distance of 65 Kms was covered in roughly in one & a half hours and we drove through Sargur & Sathyagala crossed the Wesley bridge across the Cauvery - a panoramic view of the rocky river bed, clusters of green vegetation with tiny streams of water flowing languidly downstream. We reached Talakadu around 2.30 post noon and we were ferociously hungry and wolfed down the parothas and aloo mutter which we had packed and brought along.
Talakadu is a desert like ghost town which is largely submerged under sand. Once this town was flourishing and had over 30 temples but the curse of Taladu has reduced this place to a sleepy town with only five temples visible and worshiped - Paataleswara,Maruleswara,Arkeswara, Vaidyanatheswara and Mallikarjuna all shiva lingas believed to represent the five faces of Shiva. Apart from this there is also a Vishnu Temple where the presiding deity is Keerthi Narayana. For more information related to history & legends including the curse of Talakadu you can log onto: most significant,largest,most intact and ornate of the group of temples here is the Vaidyanatheswara Temple which represents the finest architecture of the Ganga-Chola-Hoysala periods.The bas reliefs on the outer walls of the temple are an incredible feast for the eyes. Possibly built and consecrated originally during the 10th Century and subsequent improvements & expansion carried out in the 14th Century.

The Curse of Talakadu: A version of the story goes that in 1610 Srirangaraya,a chieftain of the Vijayanagara kingdom passed away after a long illness in Talakadu.The custody of the Temple Jewels passed on to his wife Alamelamma, The Maharaja of Musuru at that time Raja Wodeyar sent his army to Talakadu to retrieve the jewels from the widow.Alamellamma gathered the jewels into the folds of her sari and utterred a curse before plunging to her death into the Cauvery to avoid capture.The curse ran "Talakadu Maralagali,Malangi maduvagali,Mysuru doraige makaalilladhe" translated this means " May Talakadu be submerged in sand,may Malangi become a whirlpool,and may the king of Mysuru remain childless".The amazing coincidence is that Talakadu has been submerged in metres of sand and the descendents of the Mysore Kings have never sired a biological child and to this day have been adopting the practice of adopting a legal heir.
Side Views of the Temple clicked from the surrounding pillared pavillion
You can see a profusion of bas reliefs of various gods and goddesses on the pillars and outer walls

The Vimanam above the sanctum sanctorum - the design is a blend of south-north architecture
Vishnu in Hyagrivar Avataram
Yoga Narasimha

Add caption

Dancing Nataraja in Bas Relief
Bas Reliefs

Bas Reliefs 

Some amazing shaped tree roots seen in the sandy terrain

Pataleeswar Temple
The Keerthi Narayana Temple - an overhead view


Wedding Studio Photo Appa's 90th Birthday Ayushhomam at Coimbatore: 2006 Wedding Photo Photos clicked on Birthday at Coimbatore Special ...