Sunday, August 16, 2009

The DSC00559Hemakuta Hill: The Hemakuta hill has three doorways, one on the south-eastern side, one on the south and the other on the eastern side of the hill which leads to the street near the main temple of Hampi.

The granite slope of the Hemakuta Hill is dotted with shrines. The hill is encircled on its three sides by massive fortification. To the north is the enclosure wall of the Virupaksha Temple. More than thirty shrines stand on this hill. These vary from elaborate structure with multiple sanctums to rudimentary, single celled construction. Most of the temples have stepped pyramidal type of super structure. DSC00563

Two of the temples have inscriptions. The triple Shiva temples on the east has an inscription recording that Vira Kampiladeva, son of Mummadi Singeya Nayaka, built the Sivalaya and installed in it three Lingas. Two inscriptions on the rock near the Prasanna Anjaneya temple dated 1398 AD. mention that Virupaksha Panditha and his brother constructed a temple of Virupaksha and dug a tank. Another inscription on a rock base records the settingDSC00577 of a lamp pillar in the temple of Jadeya Sankaradeva by Bukkave, the queen of Harihara II in the year 1397 AD. The group of temples on the Hemakuta hill form one of the earliest group of structures at Hampi and appear to date from about 9th to early 14th century AD. and all of them are clearly of Saiva origin. 

Once you reach the top of the Hemakuta hill, you will find temples here and there and some in total ruins.  Some of the temples have sunk partially in toDSC00575 the ground and the renovations to the temples are underway conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India to lift them up. There had been a lot of wear and tear to the temples because of they being one of the oldest in the kingdom.

There is a small pond on the hill formed by rain water and the water flows between a small divide between the huge rock. And three small Siva Lingas are carved on the floor of the rock on a single DSC00587base.   

As mentioned earlier, there are multiple Siva shrines on the hill and the architecture of the temples is outstanding. You can identify a Siva temple very easily seeing the pillars of the temple and the super structure. The super structure will always be stepped pyramid type and the walls are carved with simple design. The pillars of a Siva temple are generally square blocks and multiple individual parts arranged one on the other to DSC00589form a pillar. They are never carved out of a single stone. There will be round plates in between the square blocks. There will be ideally four pillars before the inner sanctum of a small shrine and the floor enclosing the four pillars will be carved round and a square will be carved on the ceiling will exquisite designs inside it. There will be a small elevated platform inside the inner sanctum where the idol or the Siva Linga would be sitting. DSC00582

The Virupaksha Temple Complex is seen from the North side of the hill. You can have a bird’s eye view of the whole complex including all its Gopuras (doorways).  It is a nice view of the temple from the top of the hill.  From here we descend the hill though the east doorway of the Hemakuta Hill. As we descend, we proceed towards the Virupaksha Temple. There are small eateries where  they prepare nice tea. Tea is a refreshment from the strain one can have roaming on the hill. I spent some time sipping tea and updating my checklist (Aye! I had a checklist of all the places) and the proceeded to the temple of the main deity in Hampi, Virupaksha.

To be continued…


VikramAdith said...

Awesome pics of the temples.

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