Sunday, July 31, 2011

Destination Hampi - III

Musical Pillars

For reading the previous parts - Hampi I, Hampi II

Next day, we woke up with all the pains of yesterday's cycling. As there was little time to waste, we took another cycle and opened our day from Virupaksha Temple. Next destination was Vittala Temple - you can reach Vittala temple by taking a left from the other end of Hampi Bazaar. A group of monkeys will welcome you on the banks of Tungabhadra river.

They charged me for taking their photos, in the form of a Mirinda bottle. Our problem was about the possibility of riding a cycle along the banks of the river. I checked with some local people, one said yes and another said no - and we took yes as answer.

As it was not possible to ride cycle for next 50 meters, we were force to carry it in hand, a small compromise for making our later journey smoother. Other than some couples here and there, the path was almost empty. Finally we saw a group of foreigners heading towards a small road - towards Achutaraya Temple and Ganika Bazaar. And we reached Ganika Bazaar, a long bazaar with stone rooms on either sides. One of the curious thing related to Ganika Bazaar was, its located in front of Achutaraya Temple!!!

Musical Pillars another view
After spending some time on Ganika Bazaar, we went back to the banks of Tungabhadra river. Slowly a small mandapa became visible in the far end but close to river. After some time we reached Purandaradasa Mantapa - famous Carnatic composer Purandaradasa composed and sang most of his compositions here. I went in, slowly walked towards the river and touched the water. From this point you can see the temples on the other side of the river.

The famous Anjaneya Temple, Mathunga hills and Kishkinda of Ramayana are located on other side of the river. As we were running out of time, we dropped the plan to cross the river and continued our journey towards Vittala temple. King's Balance was the first to came in the way. Here king's of Vijayanagara used to weight himself and donated precious stones and gold to priests. You can see this type of balance, in many temples, where people used to weight themselves in the balance - using various fruits,coconuts, precisous stones, silver and even gold. Later they will submit this equivalent weight to the idol.

Stone Chariot from the front
We continued further and reached the entrance of Vittala Temple. According to Archaeological Survey of India's (ASI) information board in front of the temple, this is one of the largest temple of the period, built under the patronage of Devaraya II. Later substantial portions of the temple were added during Krishnadevaraya's regime. Hundred pillar mandapa (pavilion) to the south west of main temple and the eastern and northern gateways carved with depictions of Vishnu and his other forms are attributed to Krishnadevaraya and his queens.

From ASI counter in front of the temple we bought tickets (10Rs), you can use the same ticket in other places like Archaeological museum, Zanana enclosure etc so keep it with you. After entering the temple the first thing you will see is a chariot made of stone - reproduction of a processional wooden chariot - pulled by two stone elephants and houses a statue of Garuda. Earlier it was pulled by a pair of stone horses - still you can see the tail of those horses in the chariot.

In front of stone chariot you can see the famous musical pillars. The composite pillars of the Sabha Mantapa (congregation hall) are massive, hewn out of single granite blocks, which are designed as clusters of slender pillars. Some of these, when tapped gently produce musical notes. How they build these structure, which produce musical notes? Anyway now you can’t try on these pillars as uncontrolled trials forced ASI to stop the practice.

Stone chariot from the sides
To the northern side of the Sabha Mandapa is Narasimha Mandapa, where the pillar has a sculpture of a Yogavarada Narasimha and various other forms. Apart from this you can see Kalyana Mandapa (Marriage Hall), Utsava Mandapa (Festival Hall), and Devi shrines here. Finally I went inside, just in front of sanctum sanctorium steps are going in to the left and right. You can go through one and come out of the second one. But inside it was very dark harly you can saw anything. After coming out from the other side, i went inside the sanctum sanctorium. Just like other places here too idols were removed.

After seeing the temple, stone chariot, musical pillars etc one would not like to leave the place so soon. But what we can do, sun was moving fast in towards western seas. Finally we decided to go and reached the bazaar in front of the temple complex. Once visited by traders from all over the world, is now an abandoned site. From here more than four kilometers to museum and seven kilometers to Zanana enclosure. The portion was not so easy to ride, under hot July sun we searched for drops of water. The famous Talarigata Gate is on the way, you can see Ragavendra temple, Jain's temple and Bhima's gate in the sides of the roads. Some are easily visible, but for others you have to go inside.

Talarigata Gate
I can't end this stretch of description with out narrating an incident. We asked the path to museum to a person sitting on the side of the road. He told us that, if you continue your journey, you will see a circle which have a statue in the middle. Just follow the direction pointed by the hands of the statue. Ok...after some time we indeed saw the statue - Ambedkar holding a book in one hand and the other hand point towards the sky!!! Anyway road signs are always there to help you to reach various land marks and finally we reached the museum - thirsty, exhausted etc.


Check out the photos -  Hampi

For reading other parts - Hampi IHampi IIHampi IV

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