Monday, September 19, 2011

Medieval Times: Hampi Part 2

Sorry for this delayed post. I have been too busy at work & lack of internet at work also makes it difficult to keep up my blog. And there have been a lot of outings too. So continuing the journey through Hampi, next stop is at the two Ganesha idols called Kadale Ganesha and Savivekalu Ganesha. The names come from the look of the idol. The first Ganesha idol is monolithic. The shape of the ganesha looks like Bengal gram or channa dal. Kadale = Channa in Kannada. The idol is huge and enclosed inside a temple. The stomach of Ganesha has been cut on two sides by the attackers trying to remove it hoping to find gems under the statue. Again as this statue is broken, it is not worshipped.
Kadale Ganapati Temple
King Krishnadev Raya was one of the finest kings to rule Hampi. He loved art and literature. Most of the artifacts, temples were constructed under his rule. The Kadale Ganesha also has a stage with pillars and carvings on them which were constructed by him.
The second ganesha name comes from a mustard seed. Sasive = Mustard in Kannada. It is a smaller ganesha on the outside near the roads.
Kadale Ganapti
The next stop is to the famous Vitthala Temple. The department of archaeology have arranged battery driver carts to take people to the actual location – must be to avoid pollution around theruins. As we reach towards the gopuram of the temple we see two rows of stone stages – mantapa’s. These were the market yards in the medieval times. Merchants from the kingdom and from neighboring kingdoms would setup their markets and trade. Many of the stones have fallen off.
The gopuram of the temple is quite broken at the center..most of the art is also ruined. As we enter the temple it is MAGNIFICIENT! A huge area of stone temples, sanctums and the famous stone chariot. It is treat to the eye and a realization of the fine stone art of the 15th century! 
Vitthala Temple

Outside the Vitthala Temple - Market stalls
The main temple is a musical temple, Sangeet Mantapa. The temple is made up of hundreds of pillars which when played with finger tips produce sounds of different instruments like flute, table, veena etc. In the royal times, the musicians would wear sandalwood rings on their finger & play the music. Even today in complete silence the music can be heard up to 50kms distance! The temple has numerous carvings, mainly different avatars of Vishnu, depicting the mythological stories. The stone carvings are so fine; the guide showed us multiple pieces 2 in1, 3 in 1, 4 in 1 sculptures in parts from different animals. There was a piece which showed an elephant, a horse, and a monkey all in one at different angles!
Musical Temple
I have a picture of a piece that has a Bull and an elephant when seen from left and right respectively.
Left side is a Bull and right side is an Elephant
On the right of the Sangeet mantapa is the Bhajan mantapa used for recitals. Another magnificent sanctum built out of stone & carvings! On the left is the Bhojan mantapa for serving food for everyone. Behind is the mantapa for royal meetings and gatherings. 
The Stone pillar producing music of different instruments
In the center of the whole area is the stone chariot- one of the total three chariots in India. Other two are in Mahabalipuram and Konark. The stone seems to be monolithic but is not. The carvings are made perfectly to hide the creases of the stone blocks. Originally the chariot had 2 stone horses attached too but they were destroyed hence a pair of elephants is placed in front of them now. But the hoofs of the horses are still seen on the chariot front. In the royal times the stones wheels rotated and were moved around. But now they have been sealed to prevent visitors from damaging it. The chariot holds Garuda bird (mount of Lord Vishnu). 

Stone Chariot

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