Every travel has a purpose. As did this one. The purpose being pushing the throttle on a 350 CC brand new you-guessed-it Royal Enfield. Well no, I was not the lucky soul pulling the clutch and shifting the gears. I was still stuck with my Yamaha FZ 16. The only time I use the word “stuck” is when I’m comparing with RE.
Seeking Somanathapura for testing this beast of a machine (by Indian standards) was a no-brainer. 130kms of flat-as-a-runway glistening asphalt is a biker’s definition of “paradise on earth”, unless of course you are talking about “The Himalayan Odyssey Challenge”.
The annoying potholed roads of Bangalore first gave way to the less-than-decent Kanakapura Road and finally to what we have been waiting for – Mysore Road. A wise man once said, “It’s not the destination but the journey that matters”. This holds true for Mysore Road. It’s an entirely different world the moment you get on it. In the third gear, the Yamaha and the Bullet kept abreast with each other at about 50kmph. And in the fourth gear, the Bullet throttles ahead with a new found gusto. While Yamaha revs up to about 65kmph, the Bullet touches about 75kmph. And finally in the fifth gear when the FZ is going steady at 80kmph the bullet leaves everything behind to touch 100kmph without breaking a sweat.
Somanathapura is a quiet town in Mandya district, 35kms from Mysore city and approximately 130kms from Bangalore city. The main and only attraction of this village is the famous Chennakesava Temple. This temple completes the famous trio of Hoysala temples along with Halebidu and Belur. It was built in the year 1268 by a Commander Somanatha in the Hoysala kingdom. A large stone with Kannada inscriptions tells the tale of this village.
Chennakesava temple here is less magnificent compared to its more illustrious cousins in Halebidu and Belur. But it adheres to the blueprint of all Hoysala temples with the star-shaped structure, the richly adorned ceilings, depiction of ancient folklore in exterior walls and the finely polished pillars which is the mainstay of every Hoysala temple ever built. The three sanctum sanctorums each house Lord Kesava, Janardhana and Venugopala. Unfortunately, the main idol of Lord Kesava, which is usually very well adorned, is missing.
Anybody who loves the Hoysala style of architecture or who appreciates the artistic brilliance of our forefathers will love spending time here admiring the artistry.
Getting-there: Bangalore -> Srirangapatnam on Mysore Road. About 3kms before Srirangapatnam, take a left deviation. Ask for directions from the locals from here.
Must-Do: Take a closer look at every stone, for they tell a story of their own.