Chennakeshava which means a ‘Beautiful Krishna’!


Chennakeshava Temple of Somanathapura is also referred as Keshava or Kesava or Prasanna Chennakeshava Temple. This temple was built in 1268, by Somanatha Dandanayaka, who was general of King Narasimha III during the Hoysala reign. This temple is a model illustration of the Hoysala architecture.


It is Trikuta, meaning a temple with three shrines. The main temple in the center is on a high star-shaped platform which serves as the circumambulation passage with three symmetrical sanctums. The outer walls, the inner walls, the pillars and the ceiling of the temple are intricately carved with theological iconography of Hinduism and display extensive friezes of Hindu texts such as Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavata Purana. The ceiling is domical and intricately decorated. These decorations include multi-petalled lotuses, banana buds, and snake like endless knots symbolising eternity. Outer wall at the main Kesava Temple is carved with various bands on the lower part of it which are - The Elephant Band (marching elephants), Ashvapatti (marching horsemen), Nature scroll, and friezes of Hindu texts. The courtyard wall frames a rectangular veranda and an array of small shrines.


The Chennakeshava Temple is located on the banks of river Kaveri at Somanathapura, Karnataka, India . It is 38 km East from Mysuru city.

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.

Shree Prasanna Chennakesava - Krishna playing a flute .

Shree Prasanna Chennakesava - Krishna playing a flute .

Shree Prasanna Chennakesava - Krishna playing a flute .

Shree Prasanna Chennakesava - Krishna playing a flute .

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.

Chennakesava Temple - Decorative lintel inside the temple.

Chennakesava Temple - Decorative lintel inside the temple.

Trikuta based on the center on a high star-shaped platform

Trikuta based on the center on a high star-shaped platform

Chennakesava Temple - The corridor with small shrines.

Chennakesava Temple - The corridor with small shrines.

Ceiling carvings showing Fresh bud popping down the center of the dome

Ceiling carvings showing Fresh bud popping down the center of the dome

Ceiling carvings showing an opening flower and leaves.

Ceiling carvings showing an opening flower and leaves.

Carved endless knot on ceiling.

Carved endless knot on ceiling.

Ceiling carvings showing an opening flower and leaves.

Ceiling carvings showing an opening flower and leaves.

Chennakesava Temple - Decorative lintel inside the temple.

Chennakesava Temple - Decorative lintel inside the temple.

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.

Chennakesava Temple - The corridor with small shrines.

Chennakesava Temple - The corridor with small shrines.

Ashvapatti or the Horse Band.

Ashvapatti or the Horse Band.

The Elephant Band (marching elephants), Ashvapatti (marching horsemen), Nature scroll.

The Elephant Band (marching elephants), Ashvapatti (marching horsemen), Nature scroll.

The various bands on the lower part of the outer wall

The various bands on the lower part of the outer wall

The various bands on the lower part of the outer wall

The various bands on the lower part of the outer wall

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.

Chennakesava Temple - The corridor with small shrines.

Chennakesava Temple - The corridor with small shrines.

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.

Chaturmukhi Brahma who has a beard.

Chaturmukhi Brahma who has a beard.

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.

Chennakesava Temple - The corridor with small shrines.

Chennakesava Temple - The corridor with small shrines.

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.

Outer walls with miniature deity reliefs, and common life scenes.

Outer walls with miniature deity reliefs, and common life scenes.

The various bands on the lower part of the outer wall.

The various bands on the lower part of the outer wall.

Chennakesava Temple - The corridor with small shrines.

Chennakesava Temple - The corridor with small shrines.

Chennakesava Temple - Stambha before the gate of the temple

Chennakesava Temple - Stambha before the gate of the temple

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.

Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura.