Amongst the chain of famous temples, built under the patronage of the Hoysala kings in the Malnad region of present day Karnataka state (India), the Chennakesava temple at Somanathpur is said to be the last. It’s construction was completed in the year 1268 AD. Relief sculpture on the outer walls of the temple here are predominently Vaishnavan. The temple is of the ‘trikuta’ type, which means it has three ‘garbha grihas’ (Sanctum Sanctorum) above which the thee ‘vimanas’ (domes) are built. All the important aspects of Hoysala architecture appear here in the sculpted images of gods, goddesses, the connected decorations and ornamentation on the outer walls of Chennakesava temple at Somanathpur.
In the above photograph, we can see the plan of construction followed by the Hoysala sculptors, which latter came to be known as the Hoysala-style of temple architecture- the star-shaped ‘jagati’ and above it the progression of layered construction (here in six layers), which normally runs up to approximately one third of the height of the temple.