Hampi – The Ruins of Vijayanagara (Part 2)

The Monuments of Hampi (Continued…)

THE VITTALA TEMPLE

The Vittala temple is undoubtedly the most extravagant architectural showpiece of Hampi. Vittala is a form of Lord Vishnu after whom the temple is known. Originally built in the 15th century the temple was extended by many successive rulers to the present form. One can see the remains of a township called Vittalapura that existed around the temple complex. The highlight of Vittala Temple is its impressive pillared halls and the stone chariot. The halls are carved with overwhelming array of sculptures on giant granite pillars. The stone chariot is often considered as the symbol of Hampi.

The Main Entrance Gopura of the Vittala Temple Complex
The Main Entrance Gopura of the Vittala Temple Complex
The Stone Chariot and in the background is the Main Entrance Gopura
The Stone Chariot and in the background is the Main Entrance Gopura
The Stone Chariot
The Stone Chariot
One of the Intricately Carved Stone Wheels of the Chariot
One of the Intricately Carved Stone Wheels of the Chariot
One of the Pillared Pavilions inside the Temple Complex
One of the Pillared Pavilions inside the Temple Complex
The decorated stepped pathway to the Temple
The decorated stepped pathway to the Temple
One of the Carved Granite Pillars
One of the Carved Granite Pillars

Another Carved Pillar
Another Carved Pillar
The Carved Pillars which is supposed to produce music when you tap on them
The Carved Pillars which is supposed to produce music when you tap on them

Some of the many carvings
Some of the many carvings
Some of the many carvings
Some of the many carvings
Some of the many carvings
Some of the many carvings
Some of the many carvings
Some of the many carvings
Carved Granite Pillars of the Pavilion
Carved Granite Pillars of the Pavilion
More carvings
More carvings
More carvings
More carvings
More Ruins at the on the left side of the main entrance of Vittala Temple
More Ruins at the on the left side of the main entrance of Vittala Temple
More Ruins at the on the left side of the main entrance of Vittala Temple
More Ruins at the on the left side of the main entrance of Vittala Temple

THE INSCRIBED VISHNU TEMPLE

The temple got its name thanks to the numerous rows of inscriptions carved on its outer walls. Though it’s popularly called the Inscribed Vishnu Temple, this temple was originally a dedicated to Tirumangai Alvar, the last of the 12 Alvar saints. The Alvars were poet-saints espoused bhakti (devotion) to the Lord Vishnu, hence this temple’s proximity to the Vittala (a form of Vishnu) Temple. The inscriptions on the wall says this temple was built by Avubilaraju in 1554 CE.

The Inscribed Vishnu Temple
The Inscribed Vishnu Temple
Inscriptions on the outer wall of the Temple
Inscriptions on the outer wall of the Temple
Inscriptions on the outer wall of the Temple
Inscriptions on the outer wall of the Temple

THE KING’S BALANCE

The Kings’ Balance is an ancient scale located south west of the Vittala Temple. This rare balance is also known as Tula Bhara. The balance was used by the Vijayanagara kings on special occasions like Dasara, Coronation ceremony etc. The king used to weigh himself with gold, silver, gems, precious stones and jewellery and give away those things to the priests of the temples in charity.The monument consists of two beautifully carved granite pillars with a height of 15 feet. The pillars support a heavy stone beam of about 12 feet. There are three hoops on the underside of the stone beam. The hoops were used to hang the balance. One of the pillars has the image of the king and two queens carved on stone.

The King's Balance
The King’s Balance

THE VARAHA TEMPLE

The Varaha Temple is located close to the river side north end of the courtesan’s street. The temple is dedicated to Varaha swamy one of the incarnations of Vishnu.

The Varaha Temple
The Varaha Temple
The image of Varaha carved on the Temple
The image of Varaha carved on the Temple
One of the carved pillars of the temple
One of the carved pillars of the temple
One of the carved pillars of the temple
One of the carved pillars of the temple

THE ACHUTARAYA TEMPLE

This was one of the last grandiose temple projects executed in the capital, before the fall of the empire. The temple complex and the ruined market street in front of it sit in a semi secluded valley created by two hills – the Gandhamadana & Matanga hills . Partially due to its off location from the main tourist track and the hidden nature of the temple’s location makes it less crowded. The temple dedicated to Lord Tiruvengalanatha, a form of Vishnu.

The Main Entrance Gopura of the Achyutaraya Temple
The Main Entrance Gopura of the Achyutaraya Temple
The pillars at the entrance of the temple
The pillars at the entrance of the temple
The pillars at the entrance of the temple
The pillars at the entrance of the temple
More carvings at the temple entrance
More carvings at the temple entrance
The temple tank - but without any water
The temple tank – but without any water

THE RIVERSIDE RUINS & 1008 LINGAS

The riverside gorge just north of the Kodandarama Temple is remarkable for the various clusters of ruins. The important ones are the array of Shiva Lingas carved on the surface of a flat rock. One is an array of 108 Lingas and the other is of 1008 Lingas. Not very far on a vertical rock there is a carving of Lord Vishnu in a reclining position. The other interesting features include a series of pavilions, partially submerged tiny shrines, sequence of motifs carved on the rock surfaces and spotting of sculptured artifacts lay at random all around.

To reach this location you can hire a coracle from near the Kodandarama temple. You can negotiate the price, normally they charge Rs. 50/- per head and if you are alone they may ask for Rs. 300/- for a trip. Since I was alone they finally agreed for Rs.200/- for a trip. The ride will give you a nice view of the gorge on both sides and they will stop you at the place where the carved Lingas are there. The climb may be little tricky as the rocks are bit slippery and there are no steps available. From there you can see the Chandramauleshwara Temple on the other bank of the river which is under renovation and is off limit to visitors.

The Coracle Ride to the Ruins
The Coracle Ride to the Ruins
One of the pavilions on the rocks
One of the pavilions on the rocks
Small shrines across the river
Small shrines across the river
An array of 108 Lingas carved on the flat rock surface
An array of 108 Lingas carved on the flat rock surface
More pavilions and small shrines
More pavilions and small shrines
An array of 1008 Lingas carved on flat rock surface
An array of 1008 Lingas carved on flat rock surface
There are still more to explore
There are still more to explore
Sculpture depicting Lord Vishnu in reclining position
Sculpture depicting Lord Vishnu in reclining position
View of the boulders from Coracle
View of the boulders from Coracle
Another sculpture on a vertical rock
Another sculpture on a vertical rock
More boulders
More boulders
The view of Kodandarama temple from the Coracle
The view of Kodandarama temple from the Coracle
This Ms. Tara from Canada who is enjoying the Coracle ride, who I met at the riverside ruins.
This is Ms. Tara from Canada who is enjoying the Coracle ride, whom I met at the riverside ruins.

And finally these feathery friends who made there nest on this dead coconut tree near my lodge:

34 Hampi Parrots

35 Hampi Parrots

36 Hampi Parrots

I spent 2 days in Hampi, exploring the various monuments. Most of the areas were covered by foot except for the rikshaw which I hired for half a day to visit the Bhima’s Gate, Ganagitti Temple, Pattabhirama Temple and the Archaeological Museum at Kamlapura. It was unfortunate that I could not see the Museum fully due to the absence light owing to a power failure in Kamlapura area that day. Still feel I have not covered all the areas!!! May be next time to spend a week there….

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