Hampi Vijaya Vitthala Temple
Thursday, August 20 2009 @ 04:22 AM GMT
Vijaya Vitthala Temple Complex in Hampi is one of the most advertised and popularised monuments of Karnataka. The temple complex is also house for the world famous Stone Chariot - an icon of the Karnataka Tourism. The temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu also known as Vitthala or Vithoba or Panduranga - the Ishta Devata of Shri Purandara Dasaru. The temple was started in the year 1513AD during the reign of King Krishna Deva Raya probably after his victory over Prataparudra Gajapati, the ruler of Orissa. Hence the prefix "Vijaya" which means victory is attached to the temple name. However, the project being so large and change in guard at Vijayanagara, the temple was not complete until 1565 when the empire fell.
A variant of the original Drividian Temple Architecture, this temple like many other temples in Hampi is using the Vijayanagara Temple Architecture. There is small a main inner sanctum where the deity idol(s) are placed. The temple today does not have the idol that was (to be) worshipped and is defunct in terms or religious activity. Only the chief priest of the temple is permitted inside this sanctum. The smaller sanctum is followed by a bigger outer shrine where the general public is allowed. The monumental decoration of the temple can be seen mainly in this bigger outer house.
The temple stands on a strong stone basement with richly carved designs of the King’s army and dancing girls. The dancing halls and kalyanamantapas in the corners are equally worth noticing.
The carvings on this temple give an insight into the architectural splendour achieved by the artisans of Vijayanagara Empire. The temple consists of 56 musical pillars. When tapped gently, these pillars produce musical sounds. These pillars are popularly known as Musical Pillars or SaReGaMa pillars after the Saptha Swaras of the Indian Classical Music.
If every stone in Hampi has a story to tell, every pillar in the Vitthala Temple has several. Apart from the musical pillars, there are solid square sectioned pillars with occasional octagonal sections at equal intervals. Each rectangular panel across the square section is carved with an image depicting a story from the epics.
The temple is enclosed within high walls with 3 gateways on the east, south and north. The general public has to buy a ticket at the ticket stand near the eastern entrance to get into the temple. The ticket costs vary for Indian nationals, SAARC nationals and other foreign country nationals. The northern and southern gates are locked for logistical reasons, the east entrance is the most prominent one.
You might have seen this while entering the temple from the eastern entrance but as soon as you get out of the temple, you will see a long flat ground with pillars to your left. This is the Vittala Bazaar and the pillars or the platform on which the pillars stand were once shops. A walk along the pillars would give one with an imagination, an experience of walking along the Bazaar during the Vijayanagara rule.