Vittala Temple – The showstopper of Hampi

If Hampi hosts a fashion show where the monuments are walking the historic runway, Vittala temple has to be the showstopper ! The architectural beauty of this temple is something to be seen. Of course, when I started the day, I did not know that I would be wowed so 🙂 . Let me share my experience in this 4th series on Hampi.

We started the day – driving towards Vittala Temple and passing through Talarigatta Gate

1) Talarigatta Gate

While the Talarigatta Gate is largely damaged, it apparently was one of the main entry points into the center of the capital city from the riverside. It was probably the tollgate into Hampi in its hey days.

Talarigatta gate

We parked the car in the shade, bought the tickets to the electric vehicle ride to the temple. Standing in the queue we looked around and spotted the Gejjala Mantapa

2) Gejjala Mantapa

Surrounded by coconut plantation, the exactly purpose of this structure is not known. Its proximity to the Vittala Temple suggests religious significance, maybe a platform to keep idols of the gods during festivals.

 

The structure being relatively small does not attract a lot of tourists (or maybe they ignore this in their zest to get to Vittala temple). I did find some tourists taking a break in the shade of this pavilion though.

The electric cart finally arrived and I saw the mystic of this fabulous temple unfold.

3) Kudure Gombe Mantapa and Pushkarni

This monument is on the way up to Vittala temple. It gets its name from the horse sculptures (Kudure means horse) that are carved on its front pillars.

Kudure Gombe Mantapa on the main road leading to the temple and diagonally opposite the Pushkarni

The fact that this is on the main road leading to the temple and diagonally opposite the temple tank (Pushkarni) , it probably had significant role in the annual chariot festival or the boat festival held in the temple tank. A great spot to catch some breath or escape the heat of the sun as these tourists found out !

Entrance to Pushkarni @ Vittala temple. Don’t miss the sculptured pillars

4) Vittala temple

This Vishnu temple was originally built in the 15th century AD. The road leading to this temple, known as Vittala Bazaar, was once a thriving market place and famous for horse trading. Depiction of this can be seen on the decorated base of the Maha Mantapa.

Remnants of the Vittala Bazaar

The ruins of the pillared pavilion can be seen on both sides of the road

We enter the premises through the massive entrance tower, next to which the ticket counter is located.

Entrance to Vittala temple

I was immediately awe-struck. The first thing that drew my attention is the most famous artifact in Hampi, the Stone Chariot or the “Stone Car” as one tourist inquired.

The most famous monument at Hampi – The stone chariot

a) The Stone Chariot

Located in the center of the courtyard, this iconic structure is in fact a shrine in the form of a chariot. It is dedicated to Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu.

Moi at the Stone chariot

It is believed that all the sculptures in this temple, at one point, were painted with mineral colors. Remnants of these can be seen on the carvings of the chariot, especially the undercarriage.

Color seen in the undercarriage of the chariot

The chariot is placed on a carved platform and on the wheels have intricately carved floral motifs. Earlier the wheels of the chariot could be moved. It has now been fixed to arrest further wear and tear due to movement.

Iconic stone chariot @ Vittala temple

b) Maha Mantapa

This is the main hall of the Vittala Temple and is a structure of immense beauty. The steps of the Maha Mantapa are decorated with elephant balustrade.

Maha Mantapa

It stands on an ornate platform which also has bas relief of foreign horse trades.

Decorated base platform of the Maha Mantapa showing horse traders

Maha mantapa is divided into four halls with stairs leading to these four different directions. One part of the halls has collapsed and was under renovation when we visited.

This most talked about part of the hall is called “Musicians Hall” and the main attraction are these pillars known as Musical pillars. When gently tapped, these pillars emit tones as depicted by the figure underneath each pillar.

The famous musical pillars of the Maha Mantapa at Vittala temple

Can you not imagine the grandiose of this place when there would be dancers performing to the music from these pillars ? Curiosity of visitors has damaged many of these and tapping on it is now banned for preservation.

You can see beautiful carving all around like these

Giant lion Yalis fighting relatively dwarfed elephants

 

Pillars of Maha Mantapa with musicians carved on them, this one of a drummer

c) The 100 pillared hall (Kalyana Mantapa)

This 16th century hall was probably used for ceremonial marriage and events. It has stone carvings of Vishnu and his various Avatars.

The charming 100 pillared hall

Within the complex, we can see pillared cloisters all around the enclosure wall

Pillared cloisters around the enclosure wall of Vittala temple

I loved the contrast this tree makes to the ruined temple domes. Portrays life in ruins !

A temple structure in the Vittala complex @ Hampi. The stark tree adds to the mystic

From the temple we also get a great view of the Anjenadri Hill at Anegundi village, which is the birthplace of Hamuman.

View of Anjenadri Hill and its white shrine, the birthplace of Hanuman

We were also shown a 4 in 1 sculpture that can be mother and baby monkey, frog, snake and lion. Can you spot them ?

4 in 1 sculpture depicting mother and baby monkey, frog, snake and a lion

Al in all, we had a great time exploring Vittala temple and monuments related to it. Would you agree with me that this is the showstopper ? Which is your favorite monument ? Would love to hear from you.

Link to other Hampi article in the series (in case you missed these)

Route 1 – Exploring Sacred Center

Route 2 – Exploring the riverside at Hampi

Route 3 – Exploring the Royal Center

Post 5 – Exploring Anegundi – mother kingdom of Hampi

Things you may want to know before the travel (Travel tips)

  • Getting here and other tips from my first blog
  • Vittala temple can be reached by walk along the riverbank from Hampi Bazaar or by vehicle / bus
  • The temple opens from 8.30 in the morning to 5.30 in the evening. Try and be here by 8 am for a peaceful visit and great photography ops
  • A guided tour may not take you to lesser sites like Gejjala Mantapa, Kudure Gombe Mantapa or Pushkarni. Shortlist places based on your interest for the available time and confirm your itinerary and stopover locations before you start
  • Admission fee for Indian citizens is Rs 10 and USD 5 for foreign nationals. This ticket can be used the same day for Zenena Enclosure. Admission is free for children less than fifteen
  • Video camera ticket is Rs25 while use of the still camera is free
A daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, IT professional and now – a travel blogger. I just love traveling, exploring new places and this inspired me to share travel experiences and memories with others.

admin

A daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, IT professional and now - a travel blogger. I just love traveling, exploring new places and this inspired me to share travel experiences and memories with others.

44 Responses

  1. Thippeswamy says:

    nice explanation about Vittal Temple , stone chariot, and thalavara gatte monuments.
    the monuments photos are very nicely captured

  2. Sapnas says:

    You are absolutely right, Vittala temple is beautiful. You reminded me of my trip to Hampi.s

  3. Amit Misra says:

    ‘Like’ is too small a word for this post.

  4. I’ve heard, seen, learnt so much about Hampi! Your posts on te place along with the beautiful photographs have accelerated my wish to visit Hampi… Maybe during this winter..I’ll again come and read your posts before planning the itinerary… 🙂

    • admin says:

      Thanks so much Maniparna 🙂 . I will be more than happy to help with any of your queries when you plan your trip. Get in touch with me then. Its a beautiful place and I can assure you that you will fall in love with Hampi

  5. Kristyna says:

    It looks like very nice trip! Im happy you enjoyed it :).

  6. Untraveled Routes says:

    Stone Chariot is incredible!!

  7. Alexandra A. says:

    I’ve never been to Hampi, but it looks amazing! Like traveling back in time! Great story and pics!

  8. I am adding this place to my Bucket list thanks to you 🙂 Love your photos and the whole post, very informative and inspirational for me 🙂

  9. Catherine says:

    Oh wow , lovely pictures of Hampi

  10. cindyrina says:

    Gosh! this place is amazing. Your photos and details explanation is perfect for my virtual trip to Hampi.

  11. Chandrika says:

    Such beautiful photos! I still haven’t managed to visit Hampi, so loved reading your descriptions of the architecture 🙂

  12. Poorna says:

    What a lovely set of photos!

  13. Jen says:

    Definitely on my list of places to visit. Loved that you made detailed tips about going there. Very helpful

  14. This place looks absolutely amazing! Very well written! Learning about the history behind monuments really changes the perception so much! It becomes more than a pretty place to go look at!

  15. Elena says:

    You did a great job describing everything you saw there. All the temples looked awesome, but my attention was drawn by the Musicians Hall. The idea of making music from tapping into its pillars is so creative!

  16. Jerny says:

    stone civilization is kind of majestic, ain’t it? All these structures were built years and years ago and yet, after all the crisis and mother nature trolls, they stood still!

    • admin says:

      Absolutely Jerny. Invasions have also taken their toll but some architecture really makes you wonder about the know how folks had even during those times !

  17. Karie says:

    Wow gotta love the architecture of the temples. I definitely need to visit Hampi and these temples soon. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Ambuj says:

    I had heard so much about the Vittala temple! Now i know what makes it so special! You have captured the beauty of the temple so well that it makes me want to visit it! I have been enchanted about the Dravida style of temple architecture and this post makes me even more curious! Thanks for sharing.

  19. neha says:

    This post is really teasing me. Although I went to Hampi but couldn’t pay a visit to this temple since my baby was uncomfortable because of the heat. I will definitely visit here again and also Badami this time.

  20. April says:

    Thank you for sharing this comprehensive post. Temples are always intriguing for me.
    Will definitely visit in the future. 🙂

  21. Thanks for this very detailed post. I loved my visit to Hampi and you have just reminded me what a magical place it it.

  22. I am interested in seeing ancient ruins like this. I am fascinated and wondered how the early people build such structures with intricate details and symbolisms etched on every corner.. The way you explained the details of every building and ruin is informative and I appreciated it a lot 🙂

    • admin says:

      Thanks Blaine ! I am equally intrigued by these intricate carving and technology employed to make these monuments. Glad you liked the details

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