Hampi is an ancient village with great historical and archeological significance. While Karnataka has a treasure trove of heritage sites, Hampi stands out and counts itself as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. The village is a peaceful place that is surrounded by Anjaneya, Malyavanta and Matanga hills. The powerful Vijayanagara Empire chose Hampi as its capital, and the old stones betray the grandeur of 13th-century riches. One of the most iconic landmarks in the region is Shri Vijaya Vittala Temple. It was completed in the 15th century as a mammoth sign of fidelity for Lord Vishnu - the Preserver, Supreme Being and God of Protection. Lord Vittala is one of Vishnu’s incarnations. This grand structure is a striking example of Dravidian architectural style, featuring elaborate carvings, beautifully sculpted ornate pillars, a stone chariot and several shrines. Here’s our comprehensive guide to Vijaya Vittala Temple, Hampi, which includes all the useful information that will help you plan your trip to the temple.
Imagine a quadrangle measuring 500 feet (152 metres) by 310 feet (94 metres) and at its center is a temple with numerous entrances, sculptured ceiling and exquisite pillars. The grandiosity of the Vittala temple in Hampi is unsurpassed. The temple complex of Vijaya Vittala etches itself into memory with its stone carved in Dravidian script and elaborate figures. The mandapa (pavilion or outer hall) has 56 stone pillars, but each stand alone in beauty and meaning. The rangamandapa (main hall) is even more impressive with its pilasters, pillars, and niches. The central enclosure of 16 pillars are breathtaking. Some pillars support the ceiling, while others are mostly decorative.
More interesting than their appearance is the fact that the stone pillars produce musical notes. Tapping on the pillars produce sounds, specifically the notes Sa, Re, Ga, Ma from the Sargam in Indian classical music. How the pillars produce musical notes is a mystery unique to the temple. The carvers used resonant stone which is hollow in the middle. Each pillar is carved from a single stone. The difference in length and width, and addition of weights in some may be the reason for the variety of notes produced. One can play tunes using sandalwood sticks. It’s tempting to strike the stone pillars with the hands for an impromptu musical jam, but this is not encouraged. After all, the stone carvings made by artisans of the Vijayanagara empire are irreplaceable.
A stone chariot, or ratha that is located within the complex is often mistaken for a miniature temple. The imposing but delicately decorated stone masterpiece is borne aloft by four stone wheels and elaborated in the Vijayanagara tradition. The image of Garuda reminds tourists that the chariot is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Garuda, his vahana (mount). Garuda is a the bird-like vahana with human features. The grandiose design of the Stone Chariot is a reflection of the wealth and influence of Hampi in its heyday, before the Vijayanagara Empire was left in ruins by conquering sultanate forces.
Best time to visit
The Vijaya Vittala Temple can be found near Tungabhadra River in north-eastern Hampi. You have to spend for transportation to reach the area, but there is no entry fee to gain access within. You should consider the heat and humidity in the south of India, and take into account that the best time to visit is between November and February. The temple complex is rather large, and if you want to see all the magnificent details on the pillars wall, and ceiling you must allot at least two hours for exploration. There are numerous halls to discover and 56 musical pillars to listen to.
How to get there
By bus or car
All you have to do is locate Vittala, Bazaar, which you can readily reach from any point in Hampi. From there, it should be easy to find the temple. After all, it is the largest historical and ancient architectural attraction in Hampi. Taking the bus as it is an economical way to move around Hampi. The village is connected with a good series of road network to and from Karnataka. Traveling by car is an option as well.
The Hospet Junction Railway station is about 10 km (6.2 mi) away from Hampi. This is the nearest rail station to consider if you want to take the train and see the landscape unfold as you pass by.
Bellary is in the vicinity of Hampi. Bellary Airport receives flights, but does not cater to commercially flown aircraft. Jindal Vijaynagar Airport is known to accommodate commercial aircraft. Bellary is the nearest town to Hampi, with airport at a distance of 61 km (38 mi).
Vijaya Vittala Temple, Hampi information
Vijaya Vitthala Temple
Address: Hampi, Karnataka 583239, India
Opening hours: 8.30am - 5pm (daily)
Department of Tourism: Visit Karnataka
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