On the slope of Hemakuta Hill is the Sasivekalu Ganesha about 2.4 metres tall and ironically named as Sasivekalu or mustard seed. The God is seated in a large open mantapa with plain rough square pillars. The right hands hold the ankusa and broken tusk, while the upper left holds a looped pasa or noose. The lower left hand and the trunk are broken. This four handed god is a fine example of the Vijayanagara's artistic skills. This Ganesha is fashioned out of a single boulder in sitting position.
Near the Sasivekalu Ganesha is another monolith called, the Kadalekalu (gram seed) Ganesha. The huge seated God, carved in the round out of a massive boulder, is about 4.5 metres high and is housed in a large shrine with a fine open pillared mantapa in front.The tall slender granite pillars with many mythological themes carved decorated the front hall of this shrine which is singularly classical in its architectural proportions. The temple also forms one of the important vintage points from which a good and picturesque view could be had of the Hampi monuments.
The Hemakuta group of temples is a cluster of ancient temples situated on the Hemakuta hill in Hampi. The Hemakuta hill is located in the southern side of the Hampi village and the hilltop is dotted with a large number of temples. The temples on the Hemakuta Hill are among the oldest cluster of shrines in Hampi.
The Virupaksha Temple rises majestically at the western end of the famous Hampi Bazaar. This temple dedicated to the Hindu god of destruction Shiva. The temple has a 120 feet tall tower on its eastern entrance. Virupaksha temple is believed to be one of the oldest active temples (from 7th century AD) in India Parts of this temple are older than the Vijayanagar kingdom itself. The temple contains the shirines of Lord Shiva, Pampa and Bhuvaneshwari.
Achyutaraya Temple is a large complex built by an officer of the King Achyutaraya, Salakaraju Tirumaladeva. This temple is better known as Achyutaraya temple, in whose period it was built rather than the name of the deity "Tiruvengalanatha" or Lord Venkateshwara.
Unlike the other temple complexes, this temple complex has two enclosures, each marked by an entrance gopura. The main temple is situated within the second enclosure. Opposite to the temple is the shrine for Garuda, the celestial bird and the vehicle of Vishnu. To the south west of the temple is a shrine for Devi. Running around the inner courtyard is the pillared cloister. The Kalyana Mantapa is located in the northwestern corner of the outer enclosure. Like all major temple complexes, this temple complex was also provided with a Kalyana Mantapa where the annual marriage ceremony of the deity was conducted. The slender pillars of this Mantapa bear dexterously carved bas relief including a few erotic. The basement of the Kalyana Mantapa is richly decorated with the relief of elephants.
This image of Lakshmi-Narasimha, popularly called Ugranarasimha, meaning Narasimha of terrifying countenance, is the largest icon in Hampi. This 6.7 m giant monolithic statue of Narasimha which is one of the ten incarnation of lord Vishnu was cut in a single boulder, Originally, the icon bore a smaller image of Lakshmi sitting on his lap.
The entire image is set within a Makara torana, or arch, with a lion-mask above the hoods of Adisesha. This gigantic image was mutilated and the figure of Lakshmi was entirely damaged and vandalized. Narasimha with an articulately chiseled and well delineated mane and large bulging eyes and broad chest still retains His awesome charm.
Krishnadevaraya built this temple in 1513 A.D. to commemorate his victory over Prataparudra Gajapati, the ruler of Orissa. This temple is dedicated to lord Krishna, one of the ten incarnations of lord Vishnu. During the battle he seized an image of child Krishna and brought it to Vijayanagara.
The inner sides of the entrance exhibit beautifully sculptured Apsaras standing on mythical animals and holding scrolls filled with panels showing the ten incarnations of the lord. An inscription describing the conquest and the consecration of this temple is found on a slab in front of this temple. Like all major temple complexes, Krishnapura, a suburb, is developed around this temple.
Badavilinga Temple is a wonderful temple in Hampi dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Hindu deity Shiva is worshiped in the form of a Linga in this temple. The Badavilinga temple is located near the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple
The Zenana enclosure meaning Ladies quarters consists of the Queen's Palace, the Lotus Mahal, the Quarters for maids and a water pavilion. The whole area is enclosed with a high curtain wall and provided with three watchtowers. Of the Quarters palace, only the basement remains. Looking at the size of this tier basement, one can imagine that the palace was of considerable size. The palace was built of wood, the pillars gilded and the whole palace beautifully painted.
This temple is one of the earliest in the capital, built during the Sangam rule. The temple is dedicated to Lord Prasanna Virupaksha or Shiva. This ruined temple is fairly large with a few Mantapas and the pillared cloister. The Sanctum and other parts of the temple are perennially under water.
The maha-mantapa leads to the three-aisled ardha-mantapa, the large cubical pillars of which are also of an early type, with cubical base, octagonal shafts, a thin pionted kumbha and large idol. The Kalyanamantapa is ornate and was built during the l5th century.
A tour to Hampi is incomplete without visiting Lotus Mahal. It is one of the fine architectural designed palaces that are uniquely identified by its lotus look like structure. This glorious building is within the Zenana Enclosure, a segregated area that is used by the royal women of Vijayanagara Dynasty.
The Elephant Stable in Hampi is an impressive structure that was used to provide shelter for the royal elephants of the Vijayanagara Empire. The elephant stable is located in the area that lies just outside the Zenana Enclosure.
This temple for Lord Rama is popularly called "Hazari Rama Temple" or "Hazara Rama Temple" because of the large number of Ramayana panels on the walls. This temple is believed to have been the private place of worship of the Royal family. Originally, the temple consisted of a sanctum, an ardha mantapa and a pillared hall to which an open porch with tall and elegant pillars was added subsequently. The pillar hall is notable for its unique pillars in black-stone.
The story of Ramayana (the Hindu epic) is impressively carved on all around the shrine walls like a comics strips on stone. Incidents in the story like Dasaratha performing a sacrifice to beget sons, the birth of Rama, his exile into the forest, the abduction of Sita and the ultimate fight between Rama and Ravana are all carved in a vivid manner. In these panels, the story of Rama and through it the triumph of good over evil is brought out.
The seat of the erstwhile kings, this is a fortified campus. Royal enclosure is a sprawling area The area between Hazara Rama temple and the Mahanavami dibba is a complex of great many ruins of secular structures. Here are the remnants of Durbar Hall, King Palace, Stepped Tank, Underground Chamber, the mint and the elaborate water works, aqueducts, tanks and drains.
One of the beautiful remains in the Durbar area is tile Stepped Tank built in chlorite schist, used by the royals and for religious purposes. The small but neat tank is about 22 square meters and about 7 meters deep. It has five distinct tiers, each fitted with steps set in a pleasing pattern.
The mason marks on the individual blocks indicating the direction, the row and the location of the steps reveal that the layout of this stepped tank was well thought out in advance and all the different block stones were prepared in accordance with the plan elsewhere and assembled on the site later. This tank was discovered during the recent excavations.
Dasara Platform, also called the Mahanavami dibba, is the most imposing of the ruins in the Royal enclosure. It was built when Krishnadeva Raya came back from his victorious expedition against the King of Orissa. As the name indicates, this was the platform from which the kings reviewed the nine-day festivities of Dasara, which were conducted in a spectacular manner, mirroring the splendor of the Vijayanagara Empire.
This sub-terrain chamber was probably used a treasury of a secret discussion room, located inside the citadel area.
The ceiling of some of the portions is collapsed. You can climb down the steps and walk along the narrow dark corridors to explore the rooms.
Hampi abounds in water channels and water tanks, a telling testimony to the engineering skill, which had been achieved. The building is a large square structure, remarkable for the contrast between its plain exterior and the very ornate interior. The bath is 15m square and 1.8m deep and surrounded by delicately decorated arched corridors and projecting balconies. The carved stucco ornamentation on the ceilings and vaults above each of the arched bays is characteristic of Islamic architecture. It is truly a bath for a queen, discreet in its outer appearance and rich and elaborate in the enclosed inside.
Every tourist place has that one spot which earns it galore and admiration. For Hampi, the small, dainty temple village set in Karnataka, it’s the iconic stone chariot. The chariot is actually a shrine dedicated to Garuda, built inside the Vittala Temple Complex. The massive sculpture of Garuda, Lord Vishnu’s escort once was seated atop the chariot but it is empty at the present date.
The most splendid monument of Hampi is undoubtedly the Vithala Temple Complex . If one wants to witness the competition between man and Vishwakarma (the Architect God of Hindus), this is the place on earth. Any number of words would fail to do justice to this wonderful monument. Legend has it that Lord Vishnu found it too grand to live in and thus returned to his own humble home. The construction of this temple started during the reign of King Krishna Deva Raya in the year 1513 AD. The project was so colossal that the additions continued for almost five decades until the Empire fell down in the year 1565 AD.
Vithala Temple is Hampi's crowning glory, Equally impressive is the large rangamantapa with 56 musical pillars that resound the musical chimes when struck. By far, this is the most amazing monument in Hampi and is portrayed as the icon for Hampi. One will fall short of words if he/she tries to describe the beauty of this wonderful man-made piece of art. It resembles the temple chariots or rathas in which the idols of the temple are taken out on a traditional procession. An image of Garuda (the eagle god, according to the Hindu mythology, is the vehicle of lord Vishnu) was originally enshrined within its sanctum.
To the southwest of Vijayavitthala Temple, one can find the monument popularly known as the King's Balance. where kings were weighed against grain, gold or money which was then distributed to the poor. Also known as Tula Bhara or Tula Purushadana, it consists of two lofty carved granite pillars about 15 feet high supporting a stone beam about 12 feet, provided with three hoops on the underside. One of the pillars has a bas-relief depicting a king and two queens, possibly Krishna Deva Raya and his consorts.
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