The temples of Hampi

There are ancient temples everywhere in Hampi and its neighbourhood.

The temples are not isolated structures for worship alone, but have ancilliary spaces and various out buildings that served different purposes, such as accomodation for travellers, stables, ponds and tanks, dancing halls etc. There is evidence of linear market stalls alongside large chariotways that lead up to the temples. Stables are planned with quarters for the horsemen at the upper level.

There is a lot to see and absorb and the 3 days and we have managed to see and absorb only two temples with a reasonable amount of detail

The first one is the Vijaya Vitthala temple complex. Located near the banks of the Tungabhadra river, the temple was built in the 16th century by King Devaraya II of the Vijaynagara empire. There were various additions made to the complex by King Krishnadevaraya during his reign and most of the complex, as we see today, has been attributed him.

The temple complex has various pillared halls, shrines and pavilions, all elaborately carved, depicting various mythological characters and incidents and also scenes from life as they knew it.

The stone chariot in the courtyard, which is a quintessential component of every Karnataka tourist publication, is actually a shrine to Garuda. Another unique feature are the musical pillars of the Ranga Mantapa, which play the musical notes of SaReGaMaPa, when tapped gently. Since the roof has caved in this area, we could not access the Mantapa and try this first hand.

There is so much evidence of the thinking that has gone into the design of the strucutre, integration of brackets, roof members, the build of the gopuram- all in stone, brick and lime.

The second temple complex is the Virupaksha Temple, which is also on the banks of the Tungabhadra. One of the main features of the temple is the 500 year old mural on the ceiling of the Ranga Mantapa, reflecting folklore, mythological characters and incidents. Much of the original colours and depictions are intact.

Here are links to more photos –

There are many buildings and smaller temples around the main Virupaksha temple. I could go on endlessly. Maybe, over the next few blogs…..

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