• Somanathapura keshava temple

Somanathapura Keshava Temple & Village life

I absolutely loved checking out Somanathapura Keshava Temple- which is not something I usually say about temples. This is one of my 8 favorite day trips from Mysore.

I know that the temple is the main attraction here, but even more so, I loved just walking through the small walkways between homes in this village. We did do a temple tour and for the first time I actually enjoyed it.

Normally when I visit a temple I look around confused and leave. Because I was on a tour with goMowgli I actually learned what the temple sculpting meant. First time on a tour, first time learning about a temple, ha!

Somanathapura Keshava Temple

Somanathapura keshava temple

Somanathapura keshava temple

Somanathapura Keshava TempleThis place was incredibly interesting as some of the art told the story of evolution, while actually telling of Vishnu’s reincarnations (although I’m pretty sure a very devout Hindu would not see Vishnu’s reincarnations as evolution, and I don’t mean to offend anyone, but found it interesting how they mirrored one another).

The Hoysala used to run all of South India back in the day and built lots of places just like this. This one is one of the most conserved and is a heritage site.

You can see an the noses have been cut off by Muslim invaders who knew that Hindus couldn’t worship a broken idol. I personally loved the piece where Brahma’s wife has her foot on a stone which is being held up by an elephant trunk.

The columns inside where made by elephants walking in circles.

Somanathapura keshava templenoses missing, columns made by elephants

Somanathapura keshava templedo you see the elephant working very hard to keep that pillar up under her foot?

Somanathapura keshava temple

Somanathapura Keshava TempleTIP: one of the perks of being with goMowgli were cool surprises. Here they pulled out some postcards and took me to this tiny post office to mail them out! I sent three.

We walked through the old streets and I got some amazing photos on the way. I even got invited into a class room and met some cute little kiddos.

Somanathapura keshava temple

Somanathapura keshava temple

Somanathapura keshava temple

Somanathapura Keshava Temple

Somanathapura keshava temple

Somanathapura keshava temple

Somanathapura Keshava Temple

Somanathapura Keshava Temple

Somanathapura Keshava Temple

Somanathapura keshava temple

Somanathapura keshava templephoto edited to hide my parents address ;)

Practical information: this is 35 km from Mysore and is accessible by local bus, or as I went through the tour company goMowgli. This is one of many places I recommend as day trips from Mysore.


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About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Joella in Beijing January 14, 2015 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    The temple looks lovely! I also don’t usually do tours but I agree- it does mean you can miss out on some of the info at temples and done historical sights. I do like the statue with the elephant!

    • Rachel Jones January 14, 2015 at 10:36 pm - Reply

      Yeah it’s nice to mix in a guide every once it a while . If I did it everytime it would be over kill.

  2. Richa January 14, 2015 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    You have an awesome blog!! I am from goa and I absolutely love everything that you have written about it.. Regarding this article, it is as amazing as the others that you have written. This temple has similar architecture to the temples in belur and halebid which are a days trip from bangalore and they were built by the Kings of hoysala (explaining the similar architecture) and the government registered tour guides there are really good giving some great information.. Hope you visit those sometime as well :)

    • Rachel Jones January 14, 2015 at 10:36 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the kind words Richa. I have been to belur and halebid and will be writing about it soon :)

  3. Justine January 14, 2015 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    I am obsessed with temples. I guess that’s a side effect of being an anthropology major in college! But I’m always too cheap to hire a tour guide when I visit places like this. It’s nice that you were able to take a tour to understand this temple’s history. It looks absolutely amazing!!

    • Rachel Jones January 14, 2015 at 10:38 pm - Reply

      I didn’t realize you were anthropology major, that’s really cool. I always loved that class.

  4. Elora January 14, 2015 at 11:53 pm - Reply

    Wow! Man, I’d be so taken with that temple–I love reading about them, looking at pictures–LOVE the architecture and history. I’d be the one the tour is always telling to hurry up because I’m trying to get detail shots. ;) I’d be like, “I’m not the one at fault, you’re going too fast! Look at all these details you missed!” Then of course, the guide would probably reply, “Yes, of course, but the point is to get out before the sun sets, so LET’S GO.” Haha!

    • Rachel Jones January 15, 2015 at 2:16 pm - Reply

      hahah! I was just the same way, trying to get some nice shots

  5. Empty Rucksack January 15, 2015 at 7:03 am - Reply

    Have never understood the postcard addiction among foreign travelers
    thought a few years in India would change you :-P

  6. Renuka January 15, 2015 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    Wow! Loved this post! Especially the last ‘postcard’ picture and the kids. :-)

  7. Tim | UrbanDuniya January 16, 2015 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    Weeeeeee those kids are soooo cute!! And the temple is lovely too – so intricate!

  8. A Nair January 16, 2015 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    As usual a great article. “as some of the art told the story of evolution,” Can you elaborate how did the art presented there describes evolution. It will be interesting to know.

    • Rachel Jones January 19, 2015 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      Well it’s Vishnu’s reincarnations which I won’t name all of, but they mirror evolution from start to finish

  9. Manthan Bhansali February 6, 2015 at 10:07 am - Reply

    Quitting your job to travel is a bold venture. Well I’m planning to do that before I get one ;) I’m glad that the country and it’s never failing charm has lifted your spirits. Journey safe and create memories every day.

  10. Debanjan Basu February 24, 2015 at 9:34 am - Reply

    Rachel, you have beautifully capture the temple of Somanathapura. Mysore is one of my favorite places. I can see that you had an amazing trip, i enjoyed reading all about it. Thanks for sharing.

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