Hampi - Vittala Temple (Ballari - Karnataka)

As I said that Virupaksha Temple was 1 of the 2 most important sites in Hampi. The 2nd is Vittala Temple. Though its not sure when the temple was built or when it was consecrated or under which king, it was definitely standing during the reign of Devaraya II (1422-46). The temple must have been either during or before his period. 

Since the last few decades, reaching this temple, with your own mode of transport has been barred, because the building is that weak!!! Today the parking lot is 1.3km from the main temple, close to the Gejjala Mandapa. A battery operated vehicle goes from here to the main gate for Rs.20 for a 2 way ride. If you're fit and if the sun is merciful, its easily walk-able. A major portion of this 1.3km is the Bazaar.
The present shape of the Gopuram is unforgettable. The central portion has caved in and it looks a bit like bull's horns! Once in, the first thing, bang in front of your eyes, is the one thing that Hampi is known for - the stone chariot! Its an epitome of Vijayanagara Sculpture & Architecture!!! Unlike common assumption, this is NOT a monolith sculpture! 


Presently, the chariot has a flat granite roof. It originally had a brick Shikara atop the flat roof which has fallen over time! Otherwise its mostly intact. The wheels were actually movable! However today the ASI, has fixed it to the ground just to protect it from further vandalism (I mean, if it know it can rotate, can you curb your temptation to not try it out?)!!! Originally there were 2 horses in front of it, to show as if they're pulling the chariot, of whose only the hind legs and tail are visible today. They're replaced by two elephants similar to the one standing near Soldiers' BarracksInside the chariot is a relief of Garuda (Hawk faced demi-god, who is the Vahana (carrier) of Lord Vishnu). Around the Chariot are multiple pillars, relief sculptures etc very similar to a real wooden chariot (check out the one at Srirangam)! 
What totally took me by awe was what was in the hidden spots of the chariot - frescoes!!! Whichever places were not really susceptible to rain and shine, the frescoes still survived to some extent, esp the reds and yellows. Now, can you imagine how this entire chariot covered in multitudes of mineral colors would have looked like??!!!!! 
I was too mesmerized, and stood there for so long inspite of the scorching sun and then finally walked over to the Maha Mandapa. The grandiose of the Pushpa Podhigai (floral bud detail on the pillar corbels) here is just mindblowing.
This has another magical thing in it - the musical pillars. Tapping on these pillars produces different musical notes - its all granite but the thickness of the pillars causes the variation in sound. Today climbing atop this Mandapa is not allowed, coz inconsiderate tapping of musical pillars have caused a couple to crumble! This mandapa too has the Kodungai (terracotta roof simulation). 


A frieze on the base of the mandapa shows men from foreign countries (figured out by the outfit they're wearing) who visited Vijayanagara for horse trade!!! Similar to Belur & Halabidu, here too, at some places there are loops (formed by snakes!) on the granite roof. The interlooping loops must have given away!!! The centre of this mandapa has a lotus dome and at its centre were those inverted parrots pecking into the pollen, very similar to SriVaikundam, also a Vijayanagara architecture!
The sanctum sanctorum is open and has 2 empty slots like most other temples in Hampi. This too is defunct after the Deccan Muslim Confederacy. So wearing slippers into this temple is allowed as well. There are a couple of mandapas on the side one of which also has one musical pillar.


The Kalyana mandapa is one sculptural marvel. Here too is a pillar with all the 10 reincarnations of Vishnu depicted. The relief sculptures are so many including Ramayana, Krishna Leela etc. The central pillars have full sized Yaali and one of it was is depicted to be ridden by Krishna Deva Raya himself!!!
Behind this is the King's Balance. Traditionally King would donate gold worth his own weight to the temple or for the people. That balance was hung here. Further ahead from here was the Old Bridge of which only the pillars exist today which was once used to cross the River Tungabadhra!

My complete (all posts of) Hampi Travelogue: Zenana Enclosure, Hazara Rama Temple, Royal Enclosure, Achyuta Raya & Varaha Temples, Virupaksha Temple, Vittala Temple, Monolith Sculptures, Riverside ruins, Malyavanta Hills & other temples, Anegundi Pre-Historic Rock Art, Discoveries & Musings 


To Get There:
From Bangalore: 343km via NH48 & NH50
From Hyderabad: 373km via NH44
From Goa: 316km via NH67
From Pattadakkal (another UNESCO site): 135km via NH50
From Orange County Resort: 9km
Map of all important sites: hampi.in

These sites are covered in The Vittala Trail organized as a guided tour by Orange County Resort.
Each trail costs Rs.1000/- per head as a group.
If you want it exclusive just for you it costs Rs.4000/- for 2 trails (+ Rs.1000/- incl vehicle).
If you want a guide for yourself for the whole day it costs Rs.8000/-

Otherwise, KSTDC certified guides (they carry an ID card mentioning the same) can be hired at the Tourism Office or Ticket Office located in the premises of Virupaksha Temple, Sasivekalu Ganesha and Vittala Temple. The prices are Rs.1200 for 2-3hrs and Rs.1700 for 5-6hrs for upto 3 persons. For a larger group, the price would be higher. Also they are highly adaptable to your requirements / interest area etc and they could also meet you at your hotel and begin from there!
Ph no: of Prakash, one of the certified guides: +91 94820 61626

Dedicated to Venkat

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

34 comments:

  1. Vittala temple is stunning, I'm not sure which is more beautiful this or Virupaksha temple! I'd really love to visit and photograph these temples. What is the market like you walk through to get to Hampi? They must have lot's of interesting artifacts for sale. I heard it gets hot there, I guess they are selling hats for the unprepared!

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  2. The carvings in the stone buildings and pillars is beautiful. But, that stone chariot is amazing! What a spectacular display for artistry and history.

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  3. What an incredible structure! Those musical pillars are absolutely stunning, I can't imagine how someone long ago thought to build such a beautiful piece of culture that was not only functional as a pillar but also a work of art and producing music when tapped! It's a pity no one can tap on it any longer but I'm all for long term preservation of such culture more than anything!

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  4. I love a good temple and this one almost seems in prestine condition! those details are amazing, what a marvellous find!

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  5. I love templesso much. And these info anout Hampi is so informtive and make me wanna go there! Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Another wonderful sight at Hampi. Resembles the chariot at Konark, doesn't it? So great that you took detailed pictures of the frescos and carvings. I can never have enough of those. Musical pillars...this I have to see.

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  7. Beautiful temple with fantastic hIstory. Should be great fun for hikers and history lovers. I liked how you shared every possible detail about the temple.

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  8. Such incredible architecture!!!! I love the details and the carvings. My favourite would have to be the chariot - it's interesting how it's well preserved!

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  9. This is actually one of a few different posts I've read on Hampi recently and while I'm not sure it it just me paying more attention now, it seems as though people are beginning to take an interest in the place. Certainly, judging by your photos, it really is a spectacularly beautiful place, not to mention a rich history to think about. Above all however, you did a great job capturing it with your photos. Thoroughly enjoyable post

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  10. wow what an incredible temple! The detail is just amazing! Would love to visit - it is going on the bucket list!

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  11. The architecture in India truly boggles the mind. I can see why you call the mandala a sculptural marvel. And the chariot is amazing! I cannot believe that you can still see the colors from the frescoes! How beautiful!

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  12. The architecture of the temple and the carvings in the stone are so realistic and incredible. The chariot definitely caught my attention, is so beautiful decorated, it's so hard to believe it's made all out of stone. The musical pillars are also mind-blowing! I'd love to hear their sounds.

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  13. What a beautiful temple. It makes me wonder how people were able to carve such intricate details back in the days! The musical pillars sound amazing but too bad it's caused a few to crumble.

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  14. I love temple's & this is the type of place i would love to visit. They look beautiful especially the detials in tje pillars.

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  15. Indian architecture is remarkably intricate - the carved patterns are stunning. It's amazing how they tell such stories of time gone by. This place looks in pretty good shape for (at least) 600 years old.

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  16. I can only imagine the hard work that was poured into this when the people around that time were building this beautiful temple. I can't help but stare at each of the photos because of the details. It's really stunning.

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  17. Virupaksha Temple looks amazing. You have captured the phenomenal architecture. This is very labor-intensive. I wonder how long these were made.

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  18. It felt like going out of a time machine straight to the ancient temple. The architecture of the temple looks amazing.

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  19. Pushpa Podhigai is spectacular! I hope I can see this in the future. That stone chariot is amazing in the photo. I am sure it is awesome in real life.

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  20. The architecture is simply incredible and I'm sure..groundbreaking. Seeing this makes me so proud to be Indian :)

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  21. The architecture looks wonderful. I wonder what musical pillars might sound like in its day. Vittala temple certainly seems like one of the must visit places in Hampi. No doubt you were spellbound in sun.

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  22. Wow, Incredibly beautiful temple! I would love to visit this place in the future.

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  23. The architecture seems amazing!! I love to go in historic places :-) This temple is absolutely stunning!!

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  24. Hampi is such a treat to the eyes for travelers across the globe. You have provided bang on information about the place. Thanks

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  25. The details in the columns are exquisite. Such beautiful masterpieces. There is so much to explore in India!

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  26. I am actually loving the way you are writing in series with such an elaborate details and photos about Hampi.

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  27. This is a little similar to the previous temple you covered~ interestingly, I was brought by a friend to visit some Rudraksha trees which produce a fruit called the Vishnu Tears. Here I read about the 10 reincarnation of Vishnu... talk about coincidence~

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  28. I just got done traveling around Southeast Asia and have seen my fill of temples, but this still looks so interesting and unique to me. In particular, I like Gopuram the best for its unique architectural design. It's definitely very easy to spot once you've seen it. Thanks for sharing about this!

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  29. Most people visit the Vittala temple for its iconic chariot and the sculptures, but it's also one of the great places in Hampi to visit at the time of sunset. The stones look gorgeous when those setting rays touch them!

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  30. Impressive temples, so intricate and exquisite!

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  31. Indian architecture is always so amazing, Bhushavali! This temple is stunning!

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  32. Absolutely stunning!! Have bookmarked your posts on Hampi. When we plan for Hampi trip, will refer your posts for sure. Thanks for sharing the information.

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