Stakeholders miffed as plea for better connectivity to Somanathpur is ignored

A majority of tourists visiting Mysuru give the historic monument a miss

Updated - September 10, 2023 10:05 pm IST

Published - September 10, 2023 07:34 pm IST - MYSURU

The 13th century Keshava temple at Somanathpura in T. Narsipur taluk of Mysuru district.

The 13th century Keshava temple at Somanathpura in T. Narsipur taluk of Mysuru district. | Photo Credit: M.A. SRIRAM

The repeated plea for improved connectivity from Mysuru and other centres to Somanathpur so as to promote tourism, has gone unheeded much to the chagrin of the local stakeholders.

As a result, the 13th century iconic temple remains something of an outback for a majority of the tourists visiting Mysuru and does not figure in their itinerary.

In fact, the Keshava temple – along with the Chennakeshava temple at Belur and Hoysaleshwara temple at Halebidu – is India’s official nomination for the UNESCO World Heritage tag for this year. The results will be announced during the UNESCO conference at Riyadh in Saudi Arabia which began on September 10 and will go on till September 25.

Though the Keshava temple at Somanathpur is on the cusp of being declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site, very little has been done to improve the connectivity.

There is a general perception that lack of direct and reliable bus service from Mysuru to Somanathpur was one of the factors that was inhibiting the growth of tourist traffic. Though the distance from Mysuru is hardly 35 km, only the discerning tourist with their own vehicles or those who engage a taxi, visit the famous temple which is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.

‘’There is no direct bus service from Mysuru to Somanathpur and though we have made repeated plea for introduction of such a service at least during the weekends, the request has not been conceded so far,’’ said Mr. Devaraj, an accredited guide who is stationed at Somanathpur. The quality of road after taking the deviation from Yeddore toll plaza continues to be bad and needs to be asphalted and four-laned, according to the stakeholders.

Historical relevance

The temple is historically more important than anything that is in Mysuru city and is renowned for its sculptures and yet tourists tend to give it a miss due to the distance factor and lack of connectivity, Mr. Devaraj added. The local guides say there was also a need for cross-promotion of the temple at other places like the Mysuru palace, Mysuru zoo and Chamundi Hills which are frequented by the tourists.

On weekends coupled with holidays when Mysuru palace is visited by nearly 10,000 tourists, hardly a few hundred people visit Somanathpur.

Again, bulk of those visiting Somanathpura tend to be tourists from neighbouring districts who are aware of the temple and its historic value and may have seen it before. But tourists travelling in groups from other States are oblivious of its presence.  During the peak tourism season after Dasara, there is some traction in tourist traffic but footfall is low for the rest of the year. Guides believe regular KSRTC tourist shuttle service from Mysuru could give a boost to the visitor footfalls.

The tourist guides have also urged ASI to resume the practice of issuing tickets at the counter. The practice has been dispensed with since the last few years in favour of online purchase of tickets. As a result many of the visitors return disappointed as they are unable to make online payment due to poor net connectivity or may not be carrying their ID cards like PAN, Aaadhaasr etc.  

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