State : Karnataka
The most splendid of temples at Vijayanagar is the Vitthala temple,
near the Tungabhadra river.
is considered to be the most ornate of the Vijayanagar temples.
Hampi, now in ruins is the site of the ancient city of Vijayanagar,
capital of the Vijayanagar empire (founded under the spiritual guidance
of Vidyaranya of Sringeri in early 14th century) ) which brought
about a renaissance of indigenous art and culture, as it defended
the region against the plundering armies from elsewhere.
Much of Vijayanagar is now in ruins, as when the rulers were defeated
at the hands of the invaders at the battle of Talikota in the 16th
century, most of the marvelous structures and edifices were systematically
destroyed. Vitthala - Vishnu is enshrined in this temple. The mahamandapam
of this temple, in front of the sanctum - enclosed in the inner
courtyard is of great beauty. It's base is chiseled with friezes
of the swan, the horse and the warrior. At intervals, there are
projections with bas reliefs portraying the deification of the ten
avataras of Vishnu.
The steps on the east of the mahamandapam are flanked by an elephant
balustrade. The facades are lined with forty pillars, each over
10 feet in height. Each group of pillars has a central pillar with
slender shafts around. The center of the Mahamandapam has sixteen
pillars decorated with Narasimha and Yali, forming a rectangular
court. The ceiling of the Mahamandapam is also covered with sculptural
work.The stone chariot in this temple is of great
fame. Its stone wheels, each shaped in the form of a lotus, are
capable of revolving. It represents the sprakling creativity of
the artistes of the fifteenth century. Temple chariots are often
mobile reproductions of a temple. The stone chariot here is in turn
a static version of the mobile temple chariot.
Best time to visit
September to February.
How to Reach
The nearest rail point is Hospet from where one travels
another 12 kilometers by road to reach Hampi.
Regular bus services from Bangalore to Hospet.
The nearest Airport is Bellary (974 km); other convenient
airports are Belgaum (190 km) and Bangalore (353 km).