Friday, July 5, 2013

Hampi, a Groups of Monuments-Karnataka State

Tour date: 30th September 2012

Why do I willing to drove all the way to Hampi? For those who have not read my earlier entry may click, "World Heritage Site of India" in October 2012 to understand my sensible reasons. And yes, I am quite a unique person, adamant that I could achieve so many thing in life in a very short given time. It was a huge ambition when I was working and staying in India in 2011-2012 to visit all the heritage sites, but looking back I should be satisfying with achieving 8 out of 15 places. 
Stone Chariot in Vittala Temple promotes my desire to visit Hampi

The Ornate Stone Chariot at the courtyard of incomplete Vittala Temple has an image of Garuda.

I used 1 of the weekend attached with a public holiday so that I can still attending office matters on mobile. It was about 1,300km to and from Group of Monuments in Hampi to the project site. It was a right decision and I was and am still very happy with those planned itinerary.

Overview the Virupaksha Temple
I shall touch a little bit information of the monuments in this entry just to gives an idea of the background history of the ruins monuments, mainly due to a battle of powers between the Hindu Kings and the Muslim Kings which ended the ruin temple been left abandon. I was told by our Tour Guide that the Hindu's will not worship the damaged God image, while explaining about a huge 3 metres high Ganesh god statue being chopped down the nose, the arms, the stomach etc by the Muslim conqueror in an attempt to discover the treasure thought of hidden beneath. It was an amazing sculptured works of a Ganesh monolith as shared below.

Virupaksha Temple, is located at the western end of  Bazaar is the Virupaksha temple, built in 1442 with a 50 m high gopuram, and a smaller one added in 1510. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva his form as Pampapati or Virupaksha. This is the only temple that is still in use till present day.

Virupaksha Temple

The Elephant Stablesis a grand building, with 11 domed chambers that once housed the state’s elephants. Only local tradition maintains that the architects adapted the domes used in the desert to cool palaces to keep their pachyderms cool and fighting fit. Now scholars believe it may have been living quarters and the rings in the wall were probably used to string up the punkahs. The central tower is in ruins but it was probably a stepped tower in the Hindu tradition. As it stands, the building is entirely Islamic in character: it faces west and the arches mark it as Western.

The Lotus Mahal in below photo is one of the prettiest buildings in the complex. It’s an amazing synthesis of Hindu and Islamic styles in the great Indo-Saracenic tradition. The pillars and arches are Islamic in nature, the base, the roof and the beautiful stucco ornamentation on this charming little pavilion are Hindu. The building is on a raised platform but the corners are doubly recessed which may account for its name. It had an early form of air conditioning from the modern world, i.e a water-cooled air was driven through tubes to cool Krishnadevaraya’s queen in the summer.

Lovely couple with the Lotus Mahal

The Queens Bath, is a simple structure with a  plain facade and glorious interior. A narrow moat surrounds this building. Inside is a small tank or swimming bath. Around it is an arched corridor with many projecting balconies overlooking the tank. There’s some pretty stucco work on the walls.  It is open to the sky and surrounded by corridors with 24 different domes.

The queen's bath

Water tank adjacent to Queen's bath
The remains of royal palaces

Vittala Temple is a main attraction of Hampi where it seated on a footpath from the eastern end of Hampi Bazaar. The 16th century temple is a World Heritage monument. The temple was constructed in the reign of Vijayanagar’s  greatest king, Krishnadevaraya, but was never finished. The outer pillars are called the musical pillars because they reverberate when tapped. There are several sets of these pillars, and each set of pillars produces sound of a different instrument.  There are 8 pillars in each set, one for each of the sapta swaras.  

Our group in the courtyard of incomplete temple

The temple was never finished. King and queens added to it but it was never consecrated because,  Vithala, the earthy god of villages and peasants took one look at it during construction and decided that it was far too elegant for him. He stayed put in his temple at Pandharpur and the temple was left incomplete. I hope you take note of the important matter in the story, the Hindu God is a human being like any of us. That was the reason why in India, there are more than 30 crores God in presents and being worshipped because the god (human) are continuously born. The God is not monolithic in their ideology. I hope I did not write any sensitive opinions in the sentence, if I do, please forgive me.

Musical pillars

The Statue of Narasimha, is the statues arms which have been lopped off and his legs cut off. Narasimha, 4th avataar of Lord Vishnu dominates the village road, a monument to righteous justice. Originally, Narasimha’s consort Shri Lakshmi must have been portrayed sitting on his thigh but the only remnant of her is the arm she had around his waist. An inscription on a stone slab in front of the enclosure records that Krishnadevaraya ordered it hewed out of a single boulder. Although it is 22 feet high, and has been desecrated, it is still possible to see how detailed it is. On the base of the pedestal is a representation of the sun and the moon, an indication that the sculptor believed that it would last forever.

To be continued....

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