Mantralaya – Hampi (2 days) – June 2012 – Day II
After lunch we set off towards the famed Vitthala Temple. Since it was post-lunch we were all feeling a little drowsy. That, of course, went off when we reached the temple complex. To preserve the existing structures, you need to take an battery-operated cab ride. We had fun on this ride, as we piled up on the last seat facing the back of the cab! 🙂
The sky was over-cast, and light drizzle of rain peppered our trip to the temple complex. But the sight on an ancient market destroyed by invaders made our moods a bit mellow. A living city, destroyed in one stroke.
The temple complex was constructed under the regime of King Krishnadevaraya II, and is dedicated to Lord Vitthala, the Krishna aspect/avatar of Lord Vishnu. It consists of a large central temple dedicated to Lord Vitthala, a Kalyana Mantapa (marriage hall), utsav Mantapa (festival hall), a Narasimha Mantapa where a pillar has the sculpture of Lord Narasimha, and the most beautiful structure of all: an ornate stone chariot built on the lines of a horse chariot.
The main temple is mostly destroyed, and what remains is the sabha mantapa or congregation hall. This has survived quite well, but it is cordoned off. This was especially sad. The reason given was that it needs to be preserved for future generations. SOmeone asked the security guard there, is it had ever been open, and if people had spoiled it. The answer was no, it had never been open to public. But what if people flocked to see it? They might spoil what remains.
The pillars of this hall were made from single granite block, and were shaped into slender multiple pillars joined as one. A musical instrument if sculpted at the base of the pillar, and when struck, the pillar would give the sound corresponding to the sculpted instrument. But this is part of the section cordoned off, so we didn’t get a chance to see it.
But we did get to see other beauties such as this one (pics below). The single image doesn’t make sense. But cover one side, and the other becomes and elephant. Cover the elephant, and you have a bull with its head raised!
Another was a monkey puzzle. A single corner was sculpted in such a manner that you could see 4 different images. They are: a monkey jumping, money feeding her baby, monkey lifting her baby, frog jumping down, and a cobra protecting a lingam. Amazing stuff! One can only imaging a sculptor making this to show off his riddle-making skills to the public!
Finally we come back to the front of the temple, to the Stone Chariot. In earlier times, horses were sculpted to show drawing the chariot. But since they were destroyed, elephants taken from another sculpture were placed here. The chariot is a shire to Lord Garuda, the celestial vessel of Lord Vishnu. This chariot could be moved from place to place at the time of processions, as the wheels are movable. But they have spoilt with time, and now the chariot has been locked into place to prevent further damage.
After a lovely photo session with the chariot, we made our way back to the battery-operated cabs.
Finally we made our way to the Hampi museum. this was a bit of a damp squib, as there was no electricity at the time, and the museum had no generators/back-ups/inverters in place to light up the place. The only thing we could enjoy was a huge life-like mural (?) of the ruins of Hampi.
From here, we went back to our hotel. Since we’d already check out in the morning, the hotel gave us 4-5 rooms where we could freshen up before the trip back to Bangalore. Before that we decided to see the Tungabhadra Dam. After a long walk up, we could enjoy the (mostly empty) dam, and a lovely sunset view.
On the way down, we went across to the gardens since it was famed to have a musical fountain on par with the Mysore Brindavan Garden fountains. The tickets cost Rs. 10 per person, and we slowly walked across to the musical fountain.
The show was supposed to start at 7pm, but it actually started about 7.10, and featured Hindi, Telugu and Kannada songs. It finally ended with a patriotic sound-track. While it is similar to the Mysore fountains, it would be unfair to say this one is on par. One can just call it similar, and leave it at that! 🙂
We finally made our way back to the hotel, and after a nice rest on the rooms provided, we had our dinner and set off for Bangalore.
This ended a very beautiful trip, filled with wonderful memories!