The most striking feature of the Hoysala architecture is its abundant use of sculpture. In some way the whole temple appears as a massive piece of sculptural art.
The themes vary from religious to secular, eroticism to mythology, aspects of daily life to abstract patterns.
The best way to see the sculptural details close is to walk around the along the elevated circumambulation path.
From your foot level to almost up to the eye level you'll see 4 bands of carvings (called Friezes in architecture ) run around the outer wall of the temple.
The bottommost of the friezes is a sequence of elephants, numbering many hundreds and each unique in posture.
Just above the elephant frieze is the sequence of horses, again large in number and each unique.
Above these two is a scroll band, very typical of Hoysala art. The pattern repeats.
The most important, and also difficult to comprehend part is the top row of the friezes. A large number of event from the Hindu mythology is carved on this top band, much like a comic book on stone!
You'll find popular themes from Ramayana and Mahabaratha amoung many others. The sequence of the events depicted progress in the circumambulation direction.
Above this friezes, and well above your eve level is the boldest series of the sculptures.
Tailpiece: The circumambulation path is paved with granite, that turn damn hot during the day. Probably that's the only thing that hasten you from enjoying the sculptural beauty at your own pace.Remember, footwear is not allowed inside the temple. If you prefer bring a pair of socks. The ideal option of course is to visit Somnathpur during the early part of the day.
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