Somanathapura: A temple frozen in time
“Hurry, you’ve got only 15 minutes. We’ll be closing by 5:30PM sharp.”, the security folks at the entrance of Chennakeshava temple were in a real hurry. Though it was very close to closing time quite a few visitors were just entering like us. The hastiness of rushing through disappeared magically as we stepped inside the temple premises. It felt as if everyone inside travelled back in time as we soaked in the architecture.
The temple gopuras were basking in the golden rays of the Sun. The temple premises was relatively cooler than outside and the cold stone floor was soothing to our barefoot. After a short round around the place and taking few photos, I settled in a corner. The next 10-15 minutes were spent watching people around me. There was one group discussing about different avatars, sculptures on the outer walls of the temple – debating about the mythological links behind each of them. A couple of young ladies on another side were busy taking selfies and photos of each other. An old man sat on top of the steps near the main entrance to the temple waiting for rest of his family. He was felt least interested with the architecture and was content with paying visit & praying to Lord Vishnu. On the far corner was a lone man, a foreign visitor. He stood with his mouth wide open, amazed at the wonderful architecture around him. He seemed to be confused with what to do – whether to take few photos or keep looking at the statues.
My people-watching game came to an abrupt halt because of the loud whistles by the security folks. We were escorted out of the temple as they prepared to lock down. Though it was a short time I spent there, it was a refreshing one (but certainly this small temple demands much more of our time). It took me 8 years to visit this small temple town again, but couldn’t spend more time this time as well. As the Sun continued his descent in the west, I walked back slowly towards the car making a promise to spend more time during my next visit.