Friday, December 25, 2009

This is the epitome of the marvel of the craftsmanship of Vijayanagara architecture. This is the place where art historians can spend days understanding the design and its depth. This is the place where modern technology itself awes the creation of sounds in a stone. The Vitthala temple is in every way, a wonder.

Vitthala is the Krishna aspect of Lord Vishnu. This temple is one of the largest temples of that period, built under the patronage of Devaraya II (1422-46 AD). Substantial portions of the DSC00871present structure were added during Krishnadevaraya’s (1509-1529 AD.) reign. The hundred pillared mantapa (pavilion) to the southwest of the main temple, and the Eastern and Northern gateways carved with depictions of Vishnu and his other forms, are attributed to Krishnadevaraya and his queens.

Just outside the temple, there is the Vitthala Bazaar, measuring 945 mts. in length and 40 mts. in width similar to the Krishna Bazaar and even here precious stones were sold. This should have a prominent place for business, as people from other DSC00875villages and countries should have been visiting this famous tourist destination. This Bazaar leads to a sacred tank called Lokapavani. Even today, this is one of the most crowded monuments.

We can feel the importance of the temple by looking at its main entrance or the Gopura. As in most of the temples of the Vijayanagara era, the lower half of the gopura is made of stone and the upper half of brick. We should really appreciate the craftsmen carving beautiful sculptures on the brick. The picture here shows an example.

The best time to visit this DSC00912temple is between 4 and 5.30 PM where heat is less and we can spend at least 1 hour in the complex. As soon as we enter the temple complex, we will understand why is the Vitthala temple the best. The complex is big with some open  space before we get to the monuments. The entire complex seems to be like a sequence of pillars everywhere.  There are 7 monuments inside out of which three are big and contains lots of pillars. To the left, there is the Narasimha Mantapa, where a pillar has the sculpture of a Yogavarada Narasimha and other various forms. The inside of this Mantapa is  filled wDSC00906ith pillars on which stories of Krishna are sculpted beautifully. There is a platform on which the pillars are the sculpted with long carvings of lions, the mark of Vijayanagara architecture.

The main temple is built on an sculptured ornate plinth. The composite pillars of the   Sabha mantapa (congregation hall) are massive, hewn out of single granite blocks, which are designed as clusters of slender pillars. Here is the wonder that everyone talks about. Some of these, when tapped gently produce musical notes. The pillars are sliDSCF0422m and hollow from inside. How the pillars are made so, we never know. The congregation hall is on maintenance, so tourists are not allowed to enter inside. As any of the authorized guides and they will tap the pillars and they will show this feature. We can go around the temple again and again to see this wonderful creation.  You also see this picture of a person playing the mridangam (a drum). We can hear the musical notes even when we tap on the drum. Behind the congregation hall, is the main temple and the sanctum. All around the complex, a pillared balcony runs around. We can have a good view of the balcony from the side entrance of the temple. The Mukha Mantapa of the temple has large square pillars on which various stories of the life and times oDSC00930f Lord Krishna are depicted nicely. The inner sanctum has two stone pedestals, which probably seated the main deity and the Devi. Even if there is no idol of the main deity “Vitthala” in the inner sanctum, there is a bust sculpted on the top of the outer ceiling of the inner sanctum. The guides make a point to show it. There are two outer walls to the main temple and there is a gap between the two. This is probably for the devotees to do the Pradakshina (rounds of the sanctum). There is a long inscription at the entrance of the maDSC00890in temple, probably about the consecration of the temple. The Devi shrine is simple without any sculptures.

Just in front of the congregation hall, is the icon of Vijayanagara and is perhaps the  most stunning achievement, typical of the Vijayanagara period, the Stone Chariot. This is the image that one see on any brochure about Hampi. This reproduction of a processional wooden chariot houses the image of Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. The whole chariot is carved with ornate designs. There is a stone ladder in front of it to reach tDSC00898he small enclosure where the image of Garuda is located. Two elephants are on either side of the chariot suggesting they pulling it. The wheels of the chariot are large and with designs all around them.

There is a large Rangamantapa to the right of the chariot and this is also as good as the congregation hall. The platform is beautifully carved along with the ceiling. This temple complex is one of the best i have visited till date and speaks about the grandeur of the empire and the skill of the craftsmen. I have visited other temples constructed by different dynasties, but the Vijaya Vitthala Temple will always take a special place in my heart.

We then move on to reach the river Tungabhadra where other temples are waiting to be told their story.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

As we move on the road from the KSTDC Hotel, we reach the Bhima’s Gate.

The Bhima’s Gate was probably one of the entrances of the kingdom as the DSC01316area on the other end of the gate is barren with little habitation. This entrance is big with fortified walls of at least 20 feet. The wall or the entrance itself is plain except for two small carvings of a story of Mahabharata due to which this is named so.

Here on the wall, DSC01319 we see two similar carvings where Draupadi is tying her hair while Bhima is killing Kichaka. This sequence tells about the story where Draupadi vows that she will tie her hair only when Kichaka, who tries to molest her is killed. There is an idol of Bhima also in here.

We then move on to the Ganagitti Jain Temple.

This Jain temple complex,dedicated to Kunthunatha, the 17th DSC01324Thirthankara of the Jaina faith, was built by Iruga, Commander-in-chief of Harihara II, and consecrated in 1386 AD..

The huge lamp column at the North facing entrance has an inscription to this effect. It is also referred to as the Kunthunatha Jain temple. It is a typical example of early Vijayanagara architecture and is known for its simplicity of form and design, DSC01331 with influences from the Late Chalukya period.

The temple in elevation has a terraced super structure over the sanctum, and a porch to the North and East.

As mentioned in a previous post, the Jain temples are very simple in their architecture and it goes the same with this one. There two halls before the inner sanctum and we can find the stone pedestal on which the idol once stood. Nearby on on of the platforms, we can find foot marks which signifies the marks of the Thirthankara.

We then move on on the same road after travelling 2 kilometres, there is a sDSC01341ign board to the Vijaya Vittala temple. We take the left road and move ahead to the Talarighatta Gate.

The Talarighatta Gate was one of the main entrance points into the urban centre of the capital from the riverside. The main road to Talarighatta (the coracle ferry point near the suspension bridge, which was stopped in middle as per UNESCO regulations) from Kamalapura pass through this arched structure.

This largely damaged structure still maintains its original intent, a gateway on the main road. A tiny shrine of Hanuman is located just in front of the gate.

It is possibleDSC01342 to reach the top of this gateway. From there the traces of the extended fortifications are visible. Talarighatta means Toll Gate, probably its original intension. In those days, there would be guards that that stand on top and the side pavilions and collect toll from people who wish to enter the area.

We pass through the gate and move towards the Gejjala Mantapa.

The Gejjala Mantapa is a small pavilion but a very beautiful one with its exquisite design. It was used once as a Rangamantapa (dancing hall) for conducting various music and dance festivals. Each of the pillars is excellently carved and shows us the craftsmanship of the age. Even the ceiling is designed with different shapes and bells. DSC01348

We then move on to the Kuduregombe Mantapa.

The Kuduregombe Mantapa is different than any other pavilion that we see in the Hampi area. As mentioned before, the entrance of any temple is guarded by elephants, lions and crocodiles.  This temple is an exception where the entrance is  guarded by horses and riders on top of them. This temple gets the name due to the horses (Kuduregombe means horse riders in Kannada). We exactly do not know to which deity this temple is dedicDSC01349ated to. The sanctum is empty but with a pedestal and the ceiling broken and sunlit during the day. This is a nice place to relax for some time escaping from the scorching heat of the sun. The presence of horses in place of elephants indicates that this temple was probably built by or for the traders of the Vijaya Vitthala Bazaar to worship, especially for those who were probably not allowed in the larger temples due to their caste or occupational restrictions.

We move on to the most beautiful of all the temples and monuments of Hampi, the Vijaya Vitthala temple.

There are three sites to visit in Kamalapur and all three are important. Kamalapur is a small village with insufficient facilities for food. So it is better eat in Hampi and then move over there. The first place that one can visit is the Kamalapura Museum. This is one big museum where there are lots of thiDSC01237ngs to see. This is the only place where one can see a life like image of Sri Krishnadevaraya.

One needs to allocate at least a hour and a half for the museum. As we enter the museum, there is a lawn on the right and left sides and the building is in the front. Sculptures found in the area are arranged in the lawn on the left. In the middle of the lawn, there is a small pavilion (sculptures arranged to form a pavilion) in which there is a small statue of Lord Ganesha.  There are many beautiful sculptures in the lawn. You can see some of them in the pictures below.

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The one that you see here is a plate on which food was served. In those days, there were no separate utensils of serving food. One of the portions of the floor was made like a container to serve food. The various items would be placed on each of the smaller enclosures. There is a place in Hampi that i could not find, called “Bhojanasala” where there are a numerous of these plates are carved on rock and that place was used to serve food for public. There are DSC01258various sculptures that are broken in pieces and are found lying around.

Domingo Paes, who visited the kingdom during the reign of Sri Krishnaderaya has written in his narrative a lot about the kingdom, the culture, the festivals and of course the king himself. The following is an excerpt from his notes which describes Krishnadevaraya as seen by Domingo Paes himself.

“The King is of medium height, and of fair complexion and good figure, rather fat than thin; he has on his face signs of small-pox. He is most feared and perfect king that could possibly be cheerful of disposition and very merry; he is one that seeks to honour foreigners, and receives them kindly asking them all about their affairs whatever their condition may be. He is a great ruler and a man of justice, but subject to sudden fits of DSC01272rage, and this is his title - Crisnarao (Krishnaraya) Macacao (probably Maharaj), King of Kings, Lord of the greater Lords of India, Lord of three seas and of the land…”

Inside  the museum one can find very beautiful sculptures, weapons, coins and utensils of the era. There are photographs of the important places in Hampi taken before and after excavation. We should really appreciate the work of the ArcheDSC01273ological Survey of India (ASI) for giving us this priceless heritage. There is also a board which shows us the transformation of Kannada and Telugu languages over the years.

Probably the most interesting section is right in the middle of the museum where there is a miniature depiction of the whole Hampi area. Every hill, temple and pavilion is marked on it.  The museum is a must visit to any one who visits Hampi.

As we move on, one need to travel at least 2 kilometres to reach the next destination, the Pattabhirama Temple.

This temple, situated in the Varadarajammanapattana a suburb of the aDSC01280ncient city of Vijayanagara is supposed to have built by Timmaraja in 1540 AD. during the rule of Achyutharaya. The temple complex has a large courtyard enclosed by a high Prakara. The main temple has a Garbhagriha, an Antarala, Ardhamantapa and an Mahamantapa. The large and square Mahamantapa has tall and slender pillars of different types. 

The Kalyanamantapa situated to the southeast in the complex is similar to the Mahamantapa.

The DevDSC01284i shrine facing east is a Dvitala vimana surmounted by Shala shikara. The Mahadwara of this temple is a good example for the late Vijayanagara style of architecture. The Mahadwara has an imposing pyramidal brick. and lime plaster Gopura with ascending but diminishing, storeys.

Not many visitors throng this place as this area is quite far from the main Hampi area. The temple looks very silent and good during evenings where once can relax inside it. DSC01306 There is a pillared pavilion that runs all around the temple walls making it look even beautiful. The notable feature is the Kalyanamantapa where the entrance is guarded by elephants and crocodiles. The outside of the temple complex is covered with a beautiful lawn which is well maintained by the ASI. There is also the temple tank on one side where the main festivals of the temple are held every year.

The third important monument in Kamalapur is the Domed Gateway, but despite searching for an hour in bamboo plantations and reserve forests, i could not find it.

We now return back all the way to Hampi near to the KSTDC Hotel from where we started to Kamalapur and move towards other monuments…

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Queen’s Bath is located to the southeast of the royal enclosure, with its own separated enclosed space, consisting of a complex of changing rooms and a bath. At present only the bath is extant. A strikingly, simple facaded structure, in the Indo-Islamic style of Vijayanagara architecture, the interior of the bath is total contrast, with its ornate stucco and plaster work.DSC01201

The structure is 30 sq.mts., with a 15 sq.mts. bath inside, which is 1.8 mts. deep. Pillared and vaulted corridors run all around., with ornate balconies projecting into the bath. There is a water channel inlet to the East, and a moat that runs all around the structure that ensured a constant supply of fresh water. There are steps leading down to the floor of the bath to the North, and the remnants of four pillars in the centre, which probably supported a pavilion.

Looking at the Queen’s bath, we can imagine how it must have looked at its glory. The balconies would have been decorated with beautiful curtains and guarded heavily from outside. The water inside should have been of nice fragrances and filled with rose petals.  We then move to the ChandraDSC01210sekhara Temple which is at a distance from the main road.

Chandrasekhara Temple: This is a double shrined temple of typical Dravida style datable to 16th century, AD. The Garbhagrihas are located to the west and north, each has an Antarala and an Ardhamantapa which opens into a common Sabhamantapa at east and south. There is a Mukhamantapa open on three sides. The basement is decorated with Tripatta Kumuda moulding. The walls are gracefully adorned with Kumbha Panjaras. There are two terraced brick-mortar super structures over the sanctums. There is also a Devi shrine facing south in the complex, whiDSC01218ch is similar to the above two shrines. 

The temple complex has a spacious courtyard with Prakara and a main entrance with a Gopura from east. The Gopura is well sculpted with dancing girls and good designs. Other than that, there is not much of craftsmanship in this temple and all the sculptures are very raw and unpolished. But the complex is big and it was probablDSC01227y one of the most visited temples in those days.

Then there is the Octagonal Water Pavilion which was used to provide water to the nearby buildings and temples. There is a Saraswathi temple which is in a bad shape now and also we can find some basements of big buildings which were of importance, probably offices of the various departments. 

We now move leave the village of Hampi for some time and move to the town of Kamalapur which houses the famous museum and some very beautiful temples.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Royal enclosure, the nucleus of the capital city of Vijayanagara is the largest extant enclosures in the ancient city occupying an area of 59,000 sq.mts. and protected by lofty double walls. The enclosure had housed as many as forty three buildings. DSC02993

The enclosure has three entrances, two on the north and one on the west. The northern entrance east of  the Audience Hall was the main entrance with well - guarded massive doorways arranged zig-zag on plan. The other northern entrance with flight of steps near Mahanavami Dibba platform had a doorway with exquisitely carved monolithic temple type door flaps. The western entrance leads to a passage that connects Hazararama temple on the north.

DSC02980 Entering the enclosure through the northern main entrance, there is a neatly plastered open courtyard and a pillared hall leading to a well decorated hall. To the south of this hall is the underground secret council chamber. To the southwest of the secret chamber was the Kings residence with as many as nine chambers including a Pooja room.

To the west and northeast of the residence were many structures. It is interesting to note that a flight of steps used to lead from a chamber to the first floor of the King’s audience hall.DSC02981

To the east of the palace complex is the sacred area including a large open courtyard with well plastered floor, accommodating at the center a Homa Kunda and a tank. The two structures with a decorative plinth on the south of the sacred area were the residences of queens. 

The long rectangular pillared halls in a row arranged in units of two separated by a wide avenue on the south of the Palace complex were probably the residences of the people working in the palace complex. Water was bought to this enclosure from an external source thrDSC01054ough a main aqueduct running in the middle feeds 23 small and big tanks in the enclosure.

The so-called Public Bath located at the south eastern corner is the largest tank in the enclosure. However the most ornamental of the tanks is the Stepped tank located north of the public bath. Every ornamental member of this tank bears a mason mark indicating the exact location of the member in the construction. There is another “T” shaped tank in front of the Mahanavami Dibba platform. There is also a well in the enclosure.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monuments can be a very simple construction, but extremely beautiful due to their symmetrical construction. The Stepped Tank is one of theDSC01052 finest examples of this category. It is quite simple in construction, but looks wonderful due to the way the steps are arranged. It is a very large at the opening and gets narrow as we get down to the bottom. Its also dangerous as the steps are small and any slip from it will result in the person tumbling down to the bottom. There is ample security at the tank not to allow any person to step down. This tank must have been a special place to the King as it is placed in the center of the Royal Enclosure.

There is another monument which is near the stepped tank and very important because it witnessed the glory of the kingdom every day. It is the Mahanavami Dibba. This pyramidal, three tiereDSC01050 d stone platform, rising to a height of 8 mts, is located to the northeast of the Royal Enclosure. It was one of the most important ceremonial structures of royal use, built in granite, and subsequently encased in sculptured schist stone. It is dated to circa 16th century AD.

The terraced platform is nearly 35 sq. mts. and has an approach flights of steps on the East, West and South. The southern flight of steps has a sculptured balustrade that opens on the West. The western flight of steps are located almost in the center of the platform, and the two eastern flights of steps have a common chamber, which opens on the East. Each tier of the platform has sculpted mouldings in the typical Vijayanagara style or architecture. The lower tier has low relief sculptural friezes depicting the socio-cultural activities of the time.

The extant pillar bases in the center of the platform indicate the pDSC02979resence of a pavilion. There are references to the use of the platform by the royal family, for important festivals like Mahanavami, by Abdul Razak and Domingo Paes, visitors to this Vijayanagara city, in 1520 AD. and 1442-43 AD., respectively.

Domingo Paes, who visited the Vijayanagara Kingdom during the reign of Sri Krishnadevaraya described the Mahanavami Dibba and the three day Dussera celebrations held here. The pavilion on the platform used to be decorated with Silk curtains and beautiful carpets. Every common man of the kingdom used to have new clothes for the occasion. Buffaloes were lined up and sacrificed for the Gods to bless the occasion to be a success. Human sacrifice was also prevalent.

From here, we move towards some important monuments…

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Horse’s Stables are a series of square constructions which housed the hDSC01191orses of the king and his body guards. The basements are still existing and they clearly make us feel the kind of buildings that existed once. There are aqueducts that lead to the stables. There is a very long monolithic stone trough from which the horses of the King’s visitors used to drink water. This trough is not directly visible as we pass on the road, but it is behind a wall in front of the Horses’ stables.  There are some other unidentified buildings near the stables but we do not know much about them.

There is an Underground Chamber in this vicinity where the king used to have seDSC01057cret meetings. There are two entrances to it and each of it would have been guarded by multiple soldiers. The chamber is totally dark inside and there is a small room in the middle for 4 - 5 people to have secret meetings. This would have probably been used for the DSC01047King to meet important spies and for war meetings. Near the underground chamber, there is the a palace basement which would probably been of the King. 

There are aqueducts all through this area for water to reach the buildings and tanks within. Then there is the King’s Palace of which the basement is left out. Two elephant statues guard the entrance and as mentioned in one of the posts, they too bore the brunt of the invasion, trunks being cut off. There are numerous other building, but we exactly do not know their importance. We move on to two important monuments in the Royal Enclosure.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The first structure that comes across in the Royal Enclosure is the Hazararama Temple.

The Hazararama Temple: This is the only temple situated in the core of the royal zone between the residential and ceremonial enclosures. Dedicated to Vishnu in his aspect as Lord RamDSC01022a, this 15th century temple, is the finest example of a compact Dravida Vimana type of temple. In plan it has a sanctum, vestibule,  pillared dance hall, with an entrance porch to the North and South. The Eastern porch is extended into an elegant pillared pavilion. There is a shrine for the goddess to the North which is also elegantly sculpted.

The temple is known for its sculpted friezes depicting the Ramayana, in three tiers, running all around the main shrine, and the narrative sculptures of the Lava-Kusha story on the Devi shrine. It is because of this that the temple was called the Hazara Rama. In addition, the temple is also known for the narrative sculptuDSC01023res of the Bhagavata, especially of Bala Krishna, and the sculpted polished pillars of the Mahamantapa (main hall). It was undoubtedly, the temple of the royal patronage.

As we move inside the temple complex, we see carvings everywhere; on walls and pillars. The story of the Ramayana starts with King Dasaratha performing  the Putrakameshthi (sacred ritual for want of children) on the left side of the main temple and ends with Ravana being killed on the front compound wall. However, the story of Lava-Kusha is found only on the Devi shrine.DSC01030

Each of the sculpture is in detail and clearly explains and depicts The Ramayana. One does not find words to express awe seeing such a masterpiece. This is a place where art historians can spend hours watching each sculpture and understand the details. Even for a normal tourist, it takes a minimum of half an hour to visit the entire complex. The local guides are, of course are well versed with the story of Ramayana and explain each sculpture in detail. As we move inside the temple, its even beautiful. The main hall has four pillars made of black DSC01037granite and sculpted with idols of gods and goddesses. The pillars shine even today with the limited light that passes inside. Even the ceiling is exquisitely designed with circular forms and looks very beautiful. A special mention need to be made of the outer walls of the temple which are carved with beautiful flower pots which are crafted with minute detail and DSC01014beautiful idols seeing which the craftsmanship of the sculptors is clearly understood.

Normally, when the main deity is male, the Devi shrine is not sculpted in detail. But here, even the Devi shrine is sculpted with the story of Lava - Kusha and we do not see any empty space on the walls and pillars. Even the outer side of the compound wall are carved with animals and warriors. Visitors will be dumbstruck with the elegance of the temple and will move on with many memories of the place.

We move further into the Royal Enclosure to the Horses’ stables.

As we enter the temple street, we come to the Ranga Temple.

Madhava (Ranga) Temple: Popularly known as the Ranga temple deDSC01171dicated to Madhava as per the inscription is built along with its Devi shrine in east west orientation. The Madhava temple has a Garbhagriha, a vestibule and a large 18 pillared Mukhamantapa. The temple is known for its colossal sculpture of Hanuman three meters high, placed in the Mukhamantapa. The Devi shrine is built on a raised Adhishtana of 2.5 meters high. 

An inDSC01175scription of the time of Sadasivaraya at the temple dated 1545 AD. records of the construction of a Rangamantapa for the god Madhava by Timmaraju son of Vallabharaju exclusively for holding dance, vocal and instrumental music concerts in the temple. The pillars of this Rangamantapa have sculptural depictions of Garuda, Vitthala, Surya, Balakrishna, Hanuman and Alwar. The sculptures of Krishna Leela, Vitthala, Srinivasa and episodes of Prahlada, Matsya, Varaha and Narasimha incarnations of Vishnu on the architrave are of interest.

Currently, this temple is in ruins and excavations are going on to explore many more things about the it. The entrance to the temple is big with the idols of Vishnu carved on it.  As always, there is no idol in the sanctum and the pedestal where the idol once resided is also broken. As mentioned earlier, there is a big inscription in Kannada here in the temple that tells about the history and consecration of it.

Pattanada Yellamma Temple: This temple is unique in its own way. DSC01187Even if it is an old temple probably consecrated during the 14th century, the construction is a recent one. And moreover, this is one of the few temples in India in which there is a priestess and not a priest. Most of the people visiting this temple are local women. Going along the temple street, there are some unidentified Mantapas and  temples in the vicinity. Nothing much to look for… After the temple street, there is the Pan Supari Bazaar.

It is not known why this was named so, but the Pan Supari Bazaar but there are similar Bazaar like constructions as we had seen earlier. There are basements of big buildings and some Mantapas. 

We can say the Pan Supari Bazaar is the entry point of the Royal Enclosure and the first magnificent and beautiful construction that we see, is the very important Hazara Rama Temple.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The two places that i am going to mention in this post are rarely visited. This may be due to two reasons, lack of information and reaching the place may be dangerous as not many people venture out there..

However, behind the elephant’s stable, there is a plantain grove. There is a small gate made of wood right next to the stable. We need to go through the gate and  cross the grove. It isDSC01133 a nice walk of nearly two kilometres under the trees. We then reach an open field filled with thorny bushes. Just at a distance we see a small ruined Siva temple. We can recognize it as a Siva temple only on the basis of the construction and the carvings on its pillars. 200 yards from the Siva temple, we come to the Parsvanatha Temple. A watchman of the Archaeological Survey of India lead me to this place based on my enquires in their office about the place.

Parsvanatha Temple: Another example of the religious tolerance and respect, this Jain temple was consecrated sometime in the 15th century by Sri Krishnadevaraya. There is an inscription in the temple confirming this point. One can easily recognize a Jain temple of the olden days. Their roof is flat; they have pillars similar to Siva shrine, but the design is very simple. DSC01143

The Parsvanatha temple seems a very simple shrine from outside. It has a big entrance and there is a pillared hall and a small room before the inner sanctum. The pillars are normal without any carvings on it, a typical feature of a Jain Temple. The small hall is very dark with a platform on either side with small caveats to hold idols. The inner sanctum has a stone pedestal for the idol, which of course is missing.

Although there are only two Jain temples in the Hampi area, the inscriptions suggest that the people of Hampi were not only ardent believers of non - violence, but also respected and followed them.

Moving on further, there is another plantain grove through which we need to pass. Just after we reach the clearing, there is a Vishnu temple which is totally in ruins now. But it must be a well maintained temple in the olden days, considering the size of the doors and the halls inside. This temple has three halls before the inner sanctum and excavation work is still going on inside. The inner walls of the temple have good designs carved on them. Moving further into the thorny open land we see a small temple and beside it, is the important place i was talking about.

Srinagarada Hebbagilu: As the name suggests (Hebbagilu means main door), this is one of the entrances to the Vijayanagar empire. It is large with raised platforms. This entranceDSC01155 should have been well protected. There are fortified walls on the inner side of the entrance on both the sides making it a pathway with walls on either side. There are platforms on either side of the entrance for the soldiers to guard. The doors must have been really huge and of stone. The whole entrance structure is plain except for a few carvings. 

There are no other temples outside of the entrance and you can find small pillared halls in the rocky hills nearby. They should have been used by the travellers or shepherds. One beautiful thing that we see are three small stone huts made on the top of a distant hill. Even though there are smaller shrines on the inside, they are in complete ruins and should be avoided for fear up reptiles.

Any trip to Hampi should not be completed without visiting this place, as it gives a lot of pleasure to visit the main entrance of the mighty kingdom.

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We turn back and move along the same path till we reach the elephant stable. We take a small left turn and from there we can reach the beginning of the Temple Street, which is the Ranga Temple.