Keshava Temple Detail



Set on a star-shaped plinth, the triple-sanctuaried Keshava Temple is the most complete and best preserved Hindu temple of the Hoysala period. The plinth is adorned with relief carvings of beasts of burden portrayed in two bands: elephants parade along the base and horses trot in a row above. Remarkably, no two animals are alike. Decorative layered rows of relief designs are also cut into the chlorite walls of the temple, embellishing each façade, nook and cranny of the irregular, crenelated walls. Again, there is a support of elephants, then horses, followed by scenes from the great Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. More layers of animals--mythical makaras, and geese--make a natural, textured band. Above, carved in deep relief panels, are Hindu gods and goddesses, each framed beneath a canopy of foliage. The deities are illustrated in a variety of incarnations and postures.

Somnathpur, Southern Karnataka


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