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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If dreams were made out of stone, it would be Hampi

Hampi - UNESCO World heritage site

Hampi the 14th century capital city of the Vijayanagar Empire lies in the Deccan heartland, in the state of Karnataka. The ruins spread over an area of more than 26 sq. kms protected by the tempestuous river Thungabhadra in the North and by rocky granite on the other three sides. A terrain such as this was excellent for a capital city that needed to be vigilant. It may not have been military shrewdness alone that made the god-conscious Vijayanagar kings settle for this fierce landscape and build on it one of the great imperial cities of medieval times.


Hampi is also referred to a Virupakshapura, Vidyanagara and Vijayanagar. In course of time, this capital city developed into a sprawling metropolis with the establishment of suburbs of Krishnapura, Nagalapura, Tirumalapura and others. Lord Virupaksha became the patron deity of Vijayanagar rulers and they used the word " VIRUPAKSHA " as their insignia.

History
The city was founded in 1336 by two brothers Harihara (also called Hakka) and Bukka who had been taken as prisoners of war by the Delhi Sultan, Mohammed-bin-Tuglak in 1326-1327, when the Chalukyan kingdom of Kampili near Hampi was overthrown. Harihara and Bukka seem to have been model prisoners, because when his southern provinces began to get rebellious, the sultan sent back the brothers to restore order. Restore order they did, and so successfully that they were soon able to set up an independent kingdom. The Vijayanagar Empire grew in strength and splendor and resisted all onslaughts till 1565 when the then Vijayanagar commander Rama Raya was defeated by a confederation of Muslim kings and the capital city was ransacked.

The Vijayanagar rulers were in power from 1336 till the battle of Rakkasa -Tangadi in 1565. After the disastrous battle, the rulers shifted their capital from Hampi, which never recovered its past glory and is in a ruined state till today. The disaster of the 1565 defeat can still be seen in the ruins of the imperial-city. Workmen seem to have fled, abandoning their tools by the side of the river. The broken kingdom came under the Moghul rule in 1689 and was
later annexed by the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1780.





The Location













 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Some important monuments in Hampi


VITTALA TEMPLE

Beyond the King's Balance,the path leads to the Internationally famous Vittala Temple. General saying is that "in Hampi every stone has its own story", whereas in this temple every pillar has its own musical sound and it attracts every one andtempts them to touch and tap for the sound.

Though Vitoba is a god of Maratha country,Vijayanagara Emperor regarded Vitoba as a form of Krishna. The Idol of Vitoba is not in the temple. Though the construction of the temple began in 1513 AD by Krishnadevaraya, it was continued by his successors Achuta and Sadasiva till its destruction in 1565 AD.

The temple stands, within high walls with 3 gateways on the east, south and north. The Temple stands on a strong stone basement with richly carved designs of kings horses, elephants, dancing girls and soldiers on the stone basement around the temple. The Dancing halls and Kalyanamantapas in the corners are equally worth noticing. In front of the temple is a hall with numerous pillars, which are eye, catching. In most of the big pillars, small pillars have been carved in such a way that they produce Saptaswara. Vittala Temple is decorated in side and out side and from top to bottom.































































 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Stone Chariot

In the Vittala temple complex, in front of the main temple is the Stone Chariot. Though this little stone structure is not carved in a single block of stone, beautiful masonry work between joints is worth appreciation even now.























 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Virupaksha Temple


The Virupaksha temple is located at the south of the Ganesha images, at the foot of the hill called Hemakuta Hill. The temple, often called Pampapathi temple, is the most sacred of the temples of this place. Historically speaking, this temple has an uninterrupted history from about the 7th century. What was once a small shrine, in course of time, developed into a large complex under the Vijayanagara rulers. At present, the main temple consists of a Sanctum, three ante chambers, a pillared hall and a Mukha Mantapa also called Ranga Mantapa or an open pillared hall. A pillared cloister, entrance gateways, courtyards, attendant shrines and other manttapas surround the temple. In 1510 A.D. Krishnadevaraya added the above-mentioned Ranga Mantapa.























 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Lakshmi-Narasimha Statue


This image of Lakshmi-Narasimha, popularly called Ugranarasimha, meaning Narasimha of terrifying countenance, is hewn out of a rock in-situ. According to an inscription found here, it was executed in 1528 A.D. during the rule of Krishnadevaraya. This gigantic image, 6.7 meters in height, was mutilated and the figure of Lakshmi sitting on his lap was entirely damaged and vandalized in 1565 A.D. Narasimha with an articulately chiseled and well delineated mane and large bulging eyes and broad chest still retains His awesome charm. He is seated on the coils of the snake Adisesha, who rises behind him with seven hoods, which serve as a canopy. The entire image is set within a Makara torana, or arch, with a lion-mask above the hoods of Adisesha.











 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Shivalinga

To the left of Narasimha image is a monolithic Shivalinga called Badavi Linga. This Shivalinga is fully intact and measures about 3 meters in height. The base of the Shivalinga is always under water.

These two images of Narasimha and Badavi Linga are a good example of the skills of the Vijayanagara artisans. The shortcoming of the granite rock, which is hard and brittle and which is not suitable for delicate carvings, is overcome by the massiveness of the idols. What was lost in delicacy was achieved through sheer size and vibrancy of the Idols.





 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
HAZARA RAMA TEMPLE

This temple for Lord Rama is popularly called "Hazara Rama Temple" because of the large number of Ramayana panels on the walls.

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. A high wall encloses the entire complex with the main entrances set on the east. To the south is a small doorway, which leads to the Durbar Area. The pillar hall is notable for its unique pillars in black-stone. They are set on a raised stone platform in the middle of the hall. The tall and elegant pillars of the open porch are also worth a second look. The other structures in this temple complex are a shrine for Devi and Utsava Mantapa. As the name indicates, this temple is famous for its many Ramayana panels. This is the only temple in Hampi where the exterior walls have boldly chiseled bas-reliefs. These bas-reliefs are narrative in nature. The Ramayana epic is carved in detail. 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.
This temple now unused is situated in the royal enclosure of the city and was probably the king's private shrine. The enclosure walls of the temple are exceptional in a way that they are both carved on the outside as well as inside. The outer friezes depict horses, elephants, dancing girls and infantry in procession; the inner panels show scenes from the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. The enclosure wall also has panels on the exterior side. The boldly carved panels are in five horizontal rows, one above the other, representing a procession of elephants with riders and attendants, prancing horses with riders and rider less horses led by grooms, wrestlers and soldiers in procession witnessed by a few seated royal figures. These panels represent symbolically the power of the rulers and the might of their fighting forces paraded annually at the time of the Dusshera festival.

















 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
STATUES OF LORD GANESHA


The first of the Ganesha statues is called "Sasive Kalu Ganesha" (Mustard Seed Ganesha). It is in an open Mantapa or Pavilion. The 2.5 meters tall, four armed image holds "Ankusha" or Goad and "Pasha" or Noose in the upper hands. The lower right hand holds a Tusk, while the lower left, which is damaged, once held a sweet ball or "Modaka". The belly is tied with a snake. This Ganesha is fashioned out of a boulder in sitting position.

The second of the Ganesha statues is almost twice the height of the Sasive Kalu Ganesha and is called "Kadale Kalu Ganesha" (Gramseed Ganesha). This idol is now damaged but is provided with a Sanctum and an open pillared mantapa. The tall, slender, basically square type of pillars are of pleasing proportions and have miniature relief carved on their four faces.





 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Elephant Stables

Located outside the Zenana enclosure, on the East, is an oblong structure of considerable size, called the Elephant stables. Among the many civil structures of the place, this building is a fine example of Indo-Islamic style of architecture. It has a greater Islamic character about it. The building consists of eleven large rooms with very high ceilings. Large domes crown ten of these. These domes are of brick and mortar, and are of different shapes drum-shaped, ribbed and octagonal. The superstructure of the central upper pavilion is lost. It probably had a Hindu Sikhara in consonance with the Indo-Islamic architecture. The rooms were used as Elephant stables. The elephants were tied to the chairs hanging from the center of the ceiling as can be made out from the iron hooks embedded in some of the ceilings.





 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
STEPPED TANK

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.

A bigger tank measuring roughly 73 meters by 27 meters is at the entrance into the Durbar area, and located to the Northwest of the Queen's bath. The common people probably used this tank









 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
UNDERGROUND TEMPLE

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 temple for Parvathi, Shivas consort is simple. But the Kalyanamantapa is ornate and was built during the l5th century.






 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The Lotus Mahal

The Lotus Mahal is a two storeyed structure. The ground floor, built on a designed basement consists of an open pavilion made up of 24 pillars. The arches are recessed and decorated with fine stuccowork. The upper floor has many windows and arched openings. All windows were once fitted with wooden shutters and silk curtains. An interesting aspect of this monument is the staircase leading to the upper floor. While the entire structure is delicately built with fine stuccowork, this staircase is severely plain without any ornamentation.

There are three watchtowers in this enclosure. One to the North is square on plan, while the one located in the south is octagonal. A flight of steps leads to the top of these towers. Though these are described as watchtowers, they were nevertheless used by the women-folk to get an excellent view of the surrounding places. This can be inferred from the fact that the lower row of windows in the octagonal tower is half covered. These watch towers are another example of Indo-Islamic architecture.









 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
QUEEN'S BATH

Hampi abounds in water channels and water tanks, a telling testimony to the engineering skill, which had been achieved. The most elaborate of the bathhouses is the Queen's bath situated in the citadel area, south of the Hazaara Rama temple. 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.


 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
KING'S BALANCE

Few steps from the Jain Temple leads to the curious monument, which is called King's Balance or Tula Purushadana. Here the kings of Vijayanagara on certain occasions like solar or lunar eclipse, New years day and Coronation day used to perform religious ceremony, having themselves weighed against their own weight in gold and precious stones and distribute them to the Brahmans. It is on two lofty 15 feet granite pillars a stone beam (nearly 12 feet) has been kept, carved with three stone rings, which resemble a large pair of scales. On this ornamentally carved pillar, sculptures of king and his two wives can be seen.


 

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Just awesome....those are such great pics....
We have so many priceless treasures in our country, its impossible to rank them by value. Its sad but all have not even been uncovered yet, and even if they have been, all of them have not been studied yet thoroughly. I read somewhere only 5-10% of the exisiting Sanskirt documents have been translated in English so far. Its really pathetic.
Anyway, Thanks so much Luckystreak.
I saw parts of these relics when I visited the National Museum in New Delhi recently. Damn, I wish I had visited the real sites.
And just cause you went through the trouble of posting all the information as well, I'm gonna take the time to read all of it. Thanks so much again.
 

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My father visited Hampi as a child, apparently the massive stone wheels on the chariot used to rotate on their axels. The city was once mentioned by Portuguese traders as being stupendosly rich - the main street up to the temple sold precious gems by the handfull for virtually nothing.
 
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