Hampi – Vittala Temple

Vittala Temple is the cynosure of all the attractions in Hampi. It depicts the most grand architecture that dates back to early 15th and 16th century and no wonder the ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The temple is dedicated to Lord Vittala, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. The temple complex consists of halls, shrines and structures that were used in the olden days as marriage hall, the central sanctum, a rang mantapa, and the kitchen.

The road leading to the temple was once a market where horses were traded. These ruins can be seen as you approach the temple. Small golf carts ply tourists from the main road to the entrance of the temple. Inside the temple, one can see carvings that show Chinese men depicting traders who came to find business in the city.

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Hampi Bazaar

The temple has been built per the Dravidian style of architecture and the entrance shows that beautifully.

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The entrance to Vittala Temple

You will notice carvings of a man, woman and a child in ashtanga namaskara pose showing that the complex was a place of worship in those days. However, today there are no idols and only the name remains.

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Carved on stone

An impressive pillared hall adorns the complex and there are carving on the granite pillars inside this hall. The pillars in the halls are musical by the design. They support the roof of the main temple and the way they are constructed, seven minor pillars surround a main pillar. These pillars when struck produce sound. In olden days, when this Rang Mantapa was used as a dance hall, these pillar were used as musical instruments. The structure has varying degree of  radii along the length making it ring when struck.

The British were so curious about this phenomena that they had cut two pillars to check if there was anything inside the pillars that was produced the sound. These pillars turned out to be hollow. Even today we can see those pillars cut by the British.

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The Rang Mantapa

Stone Chariot at the center of the complex is grandiose and considered to be the most stunning architecture of the Vijayanagara kingdom. It appears monolithic but it is not. There are parts of the chariot that were done separately and mounted. The wheels were also fixed to avoid any damage to the structure.

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The Stone Chariot

The more time you spend in the Vittala Temple, the more involved you feel in the history and all that happened around. How the place was kept cool in scorching heat, the carving and what they mean to Indian mythology and I was also mesmerized by the trees in the complex. All around, it seems there is some story waiting to be told.

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The ruins and the tree

Exploring the ruins of Hampi without a guide would be superficial. These men have studied archaeology and their profession demands sharing the knowledge they posses. Details that are minute yet significant. Details that you would not find in any book. They take you around one by one explaining history and how it evolved.

When in Hampi, start your day by a visit to this temple and then you can have as much time as you want to explore this architectural marvel and yes, do not forget to pack in your walking shoes.


I recently visited Hampi and this post is a part of series. The small city in North Karnataka has a lot of historical significance and is too grand and beautiful to be described in just a travelogue. Read the rest of the posts here. Happy Travelling!

 

24 Responses

  1. Amazing temple. Love the stone chariot pic. Thank you for sharing such beautiful pictures and information!
    Archana Kapoor recently posted…Intimate Encounters: The Alligator at Myrtle BeachMy Profile

  2. What a lovely pictures India has so many beautiful places…..

  3. magiceye says:

    Nice pictures and narration

  4. Hampi is always a place of interest for tourists. Nicely narrated.

  5. Indrani says:

    Such wonderful pics, good quality!
    I am reminded of my trip reading yours. 🙂 I have been there twice and yearn to go back once more.

  6. Aseem says:

    Each of your pics is so beautiful :). The architecture looks amazing.

  7. Lata Sunil says:

    The picts and narration are lovely. It was a good trip through your eyes.

  8. Beautiful pictures, Parul and I love how being in places like this can take one back in time. I always marvel at the beauty of heritage sites that were built completely by hand!

  9. Venkat says:

    Very interesting post. I like the temple sculpture much. The images provided by you are fascinating, especially the chariot. During temple festivals, the idols are carried on various vahanas and chariots. I remember my childhood days in Chennai where there are so many temples that I used to visit. Thanks for posting this article.

  10. richa singh says:

    I love Hampi! I visited it a few years back with friends and fell in love with that place 🙂

  11. Beloo Mehra says:

    Looks like such a magical place. For the last few years we have been exploring many old temples in South India – Tamil Nadu mostly, but also several in Karnatka. Some dating back to more than thousand years ago. Each of these temples is full of living stories, living energy, such great force. Thank you Parul for giving a glimpse of this grand Hampi temple. Hopefully will be able to experience the magic of this place sometime in the near future!
    Beloo Mehra recently posted…India, Indology and Deep Colonialism (by Subhodeep Mukhopadhyay -Part 3)My Profile

  12. nabanita says:

    Still not been there…It must be a place filled with history..Your pictures say so much….Maybe someday when M has grow up we can all go there…

  13. rajlakshmi says:

    I have heard so much about the architecture and history of Hampi. Too bad I didn’t visit it. Loved reading about your experience. The ancient architects had built them with so much planning and intricate designs.
    rajlakshmi recently posted…Of Paintings & HandstandsMy Profile

  14. Ramya says:

    Thanks for sharing this Parul, I was fascinated by this place by reading many travelogues and wanted to visit it from long time. Couldn’t visit the place yet but after reading this post my mind goes there again 🙂

  15. Alana says:

    Beautiful, and the musical pillars fascinated me enough to feature them (with credit to you) in my Music Monday feature this Monday. Thank you!

  16. Alok Singhal says:

    Fascinating information about the temple – especially, the design to produce musicals.

    I liked the ashtanga namaskara pose as well, wonder how that led us to believe it was a place of worship!

  17. Suzy says:

    Looks beautiful especially the stone chariot. India has so many beautiful places to visit. Thanks for sharing.
    Suzy recently posted…GuitarsMy Profile

  1. June 24, 2016

    […] this year, when we travelled to Hampi, this lady was the ticket checker at the Vittala Temple. She diligently focused on her duty but did not forget to smile at tourists. I did not talk to her […]

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