Monday, August 31, 2009

Vittala Temple, Hampi

Hampi, is the cradle of Vijaynagar architecture as showcased by various monuments in the region. But,the Vittala Temple is the prime attraction among them. No words of explanation can do justice to the architectural extravaganza of this temple. The construction of the temple was initiated in 1513 AD by the Maharaja Krishnadevaraya. The work was later supported by its successors Achuta and Sadasiva till its destruction in 1565 AD. (Click on all the images for bigger picture)

Sculptures on the tower of gateways

The sprawling temple campus was built inside the high boundary walls with 3 gateway towers on the east, south and north. The eastern entrance is used for entry into the temple complex. Inside this campus there are many halls, pavilions and temples.

Stone chariot

In front of the main temple is the Stone Chariot. This has become a iconic monument in Hampi. Even though it is referred as monolithic, it is in fact built with many giant granite blocks. (Click on all the images for bigger picture)

Temple Maha Mandap

The Vittala Temple stands on a strong ornate stone basement that has been richly carved with designs of horses, elephants, dancing girls, floral motifs and soldiers. The temple can be entered through a series of steps flanged by elephant balustrades that leads to the Maha Mantapa. This contains four open halls within. While the central western hall has collapsed, the south, north and the east ones are still intact.

musical pillars

The main attraction of Maha-Mantapa is its superbly carved giant monolithic pillars. The outermost of the pillars have slender and short pilasters carved out of the giant pillars. They are known as musical pillars as they emit musical tones when tapped. The tapping on it is not permitted for the sake of preservation. (Click on all the images for bigger picture)

Sculpture on the pillar

The eastern hall is known as the musicians hall because of the sculptures of musicians on the pillars. The southern hall pillars are carved with mythical creatures called Yalis. The northern hall is surrounded with a series of pillars with the Narasimha themes. The ceilings of the halls are carved with lotus in the centre. The inner sanctum is devoid of any idol.
(Click on all the images for bigger picture)

Pillared Hall in the temple campus

Even the other halls inside the campus are equally worth noticing. There is a 100-pillared hall at the southwest, the ceremonial marriage hall in the southeast. Even they have been richly carved.

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