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Somanathapura Keshava Temple: West Garbhagriha – Keshava

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Keshava – Idol in the west garbhagriha
The image shows the sculpture depicting Keshava, a form of Krishna, standing inside the west garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), one of the three garbhagrihas of the Somanathapura Keshava Temple in Karnataka, India

Keshava is another name for Krishna. In Sanskrit, kesha means hair, and Keshava means the one who has long uncut hair.

The original statue went missing most likely after the attack by Malik Kafur, a general under Allaudin Khilji of Delhi Sultanate, in 1311 CE. The currently installed statue is a replica built by using the Keshava relief carved on the lintel of the doorway as a reference. As you can see, the quality of the craftsmanship of the Keshava statue is inferior compared to Venugopala and Janardhana, the sculptures on the other two garbhagrihas. It is also smaller compared to their size.

Keshava is chaturbhuja (i.e., one who has four arms). He holds shanka (conch) and padma (lotus) with his right hands and chakra (disc-like weapon) and gadā (mace) with his left hands. These are the signature objects that are part of Vishnu’s iconography.

Related Images
Janardhana – Idol in the north garbhagriha
Venugopala – Idol in the south garbhagriha

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Somanathapura Keshava Temple
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