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The Somnathpur temple in Karnataka is dedicated to Lord Krishna.

Somnathpur Temple

Somnathpur TempleThe temple of Lord Krishna on the shores of River Kaveri situated in the tiny village of Somnathpur is said to be the last and the grandest of Hoysala monuments. This Kesava Temple was built about 740 years ago in 1268 and displayed all the former riches and splendor of the Hoysala architectural style as evident in their temples at Belur and Halebid (then Dvarasamudra). According to the stone inscription in old Kannada at its entrance, it was built during the reign of Narasimha III by his celebrated army commander, Somnath, after whom the temple and the village was named. However, the king bestowed Somnath with his generous donations to help him set up a grand temple to glorify Hoysala craftsmanship and also sanctioned an annual grant of 3,000 gold coins for the temple's upkeep and maintenance.

The best and legendary sculptors who were hired for the construction of the temple included the famous Mallitamma, Ballayya, Chaudayya, Bharmayya, Kamayya and Nanjayya. It is said that Mallitamma contributed 40 out of the 194 carved images on the outer walls. Strangely, the images are signed unlike the practices of the time but similar to other Hoysala temples at Belur and Halebid. The main shrine is centrally located and is stellar in shape. Out of the beautiful carved idols that once housed the three sanctums of the temple, idol of Kesava is missing today. However, one can still witness the beauty of idols of Janardhana and Venugopala. Since, earliest Hoysala monarchs were Jains and later they terned to Vaisnavism and Shaivism, they had general tolerance of all faiths. The temple at Somnathpur is unique in design, has fabulous stone carvings and are perfect in symmetry.

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