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.


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