Somanathapura: An illustrated monograph. 2nd ed.

Publication Type:



S Settar


Ruvari, Abhinava Imprint, Bangalore (2011)



The study is aimed at providing what a discriminating reader and visitor to Somanathapura would like to know about it. It begins with an introduction to the Hoysala temples, goes into the history, myths, patrons, artists and then on to the temples of this centre. It also provides a glimpse of ritual entertainers (nagavasa or dancing girls and mokhari or musicians), private kitchen and wardrobe of gods. Besides being the finest surviving Vaishnava trikuta (triple sanctums and towers), the Kesava temple is the last of the most ornate temples built during the Hoysala rule( 1000-1336 AD). It is the only medieval temple in the country which presents all the sculptor-architects involved in its creation. One of them has created a record in the art-history of India by signing his name, spelling it in five different ways, not less than sixty times. A deep-rooted and wide-spread belief of their individuality is questioned by this. As interesting as this is the proud assertion of the founder of this temple centre that he is a sudra by birth, a brahmapadaputra (born from the feet of the Creator) in the sophisticated terminology of a Sanskrit poet. The text is supported by 82 four colour plates and about half a dozen maps, including rare Satellite imageries hitherto inaccessible to scholars


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