The Vittala Temple in Hampi is grandest of all monuments in Hampi and represents the epitome of the Vijaynagara style of architecture. Built in the 15th century by King Devaraya II, it is dedicated to Lord Vittala or Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temple is famous for its iconic stone chariot and the unique musical pillars. Because of its amazing architecture, visitors to Hampi see this place after having seen all other attractions. In my case, as well, the visit to the Vittala temple capped of a memorable tour of this fascinating temple town.

Temple pond at the Vittala Temple, Hampi
This is the temple pond (Pushkarini) on the approach road to the Vittala temple.
Eastern gateway at the Vittala Temple, Hampi
The eastern entrance gateway (gopuram). The base of the gateway is made of granite, while the tower is made of bricks.
Stone chariot at the Vittala Temple, Hampi
The beautifully sculpted stone chariot in the center of the temple precincts. It faces the Main Hall (Maha Mantapa) where the idol of Lord Vittala used to be kept.
Stone chariot facing the Maha Mantapa at the Vittala Temple, Hampi
The view of the chariot from the other side.The presiding deity of Vittala Temple is Lord Vittala, who is the same as Krishna. His wife was called Rukmini. Every year a "marriage ceremony" was performed between Vittala and Rukmini and the idols were kept in the chariot afterwards, in a manner reminiscent of the Rathayatra festival of Puri. The idols were destroyed during the Mughal attacks that led to the downfall of the Vijaynagara Empire in 1565 AD.
Stone chariot at the Vittala Temple, Hampi
The iconic stone chariot of Hampi. Originally, it was pulled by horses, which were destroyed by the Islamic invasions. The Archaeological Survey of India added the elephant statues later (lots of elephants statues in Hampi, but no other horses). There used to be a shrine inside the stone chariot where an idol of Garuda used to be kept.
Musical pillars of the Maha Mantapa, at the Vittala Temple, Hampi
The pillared columns of the Maha Mantapa or Main Hall. These are the famous musical pillars of Hampi, also knowna as the Saregama pillars. Each pillar produces the sound of a different musical instrument when tapped gently. Our guide did a nice demo for us. When all of the 56 pillars would have been played simultaneously, it would have produced quite an orchestra! In earlier times, this hall was used for various dance programmes.
Entrance to the Maha Mantapa, at the Vittala Temple, Hampi
The entrance to the Main Hall is flanked by Yalis standing on Makaras or elephants. The Yali and Makara are both hybrid animals, and they are regarded as the protectors of the cosmic directions. Very similar entrances are also present in many Mayan temples in Mesoamerica
Another entrance to the Maha Mantapa, at the Vittala Temple, Hampi
Another entrance to the Main Hall on the southern side protected by Yalis.
Granite pillats carved with Yali and makara themes, at the Vittala Temple, Hampi
Massive granite pillars carved with Yali / Makara themes. The Yali resembles a lion or elephant, with bulging eyes, and tail of a serpent. For more information on the symbolism of the Yali, read my article: The Yali Symbol on an Indus seal and its connection to Kartikeya-Murugan.
Musical pillars of the Maha Mantapa, at the Vittala Temple, Hampi
Another view of the musical columns of the Main Hall. At the base you can see a miniature of the temple. The reliefs at the bottom show horses, elephants etc. being traded at the Hampi bazaar. The road leading to the temple was once the location of a thriving horse market. The facial features and dress of the traders indicate that they were Chinese, Arabian,Portuguese, English etc.
At the Vittala Temple, Hampi
Your online tour guide taking a rest. Thanks for coming on this journey with me!

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Bibhu Dev Misra

Independent researcher and writer on ancient mysteries, cultural connections, cosmic wisdom, religion and science. Graduate of IIT and IIM with two decades of work experience in different fields

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