Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Achyutharaya temple is one of the most important and huge temples of Vijayanagara. However, as it is at a distance from the main tourist area, not many people visit here and in the evening it is almost deserted except for the occasional visit of the security guards or couples looking for privacy(it’s sad). This temple can be approached in three ways. As described before, there DSC00773are steps right next to the Monolithic Bull in the Hampi Bazaar which leads to the vast rocky area moving along which, we can reach here. The second way is the one i described earlier, from the Vitthala Temple -> King’s Balance. We will see the third route later.

There is a long road of around 400 meters in front of the temple, called  Achyutharayapete. There are a series of pillared mantapas on either side of this road. There is the temple tank on the right side of the road and this road leads to the northern Mahadwara of the temple complex. It is said that this Mantapas were the business centres for the temple dancers or Devadasis.DSC00776

Located at the foot of the Matanga Hill immediate to the west, this large temple complex is known as Tiruvengalanatha temple from the inscriptions. The temple facing north with the bazaar described earlier as Achyutharayapete was got constructed by Hiriya Tirumalaraya the Mahamandeshwara under the Vijayanagara king, Achyutharaya (1529 - 1542 AD) in the year 1534 AD.

Particularly note worthy is that the temple complex is enclosed with two Prakaras (compounds) and the temple is in the central area of the inner Prakara having three Mahadwaras. The outer Prakara has only one MDSC00783ahadwara, most imposing on the north. The inner sides of the Prakaras, are series of Mantapas with pillars in the facade.

As we enter from the northern Mahadwara, we see another Mahadwara in front. Once we cross this entrance, there is a platform on the left and all that remains here are two pillars. We cannot be sure of the importance of this platform but it looks good. The pillared Mantapas start here and two lions and crocodiles stand  elegantly here. Right in front of the second Mahadwara is the temple. All the pillars of the temple has lions carved oDSC00788n them. We also see a broken idol of a woman greeting in the pillared mantapa that runs all round. The entrance of the temple is guarded by elephants on either side of the steps. The Antarala is guarded by Dwarapalas and even today, they look magnificently beautiful. There are four pillars in the antarala and they are sculpted with Krishna, Vishnu and other gods. There is a small inner sanctum where can only find the stone pedestal on which the idol once resided.

One one side of the temple is an unidentified mantapa which is totally in ruins now except for the some pillars and the two entrance pillars. All the otheDSC00810r structure is in complete ruins and stones here and there. Observing the structure, we may guess that the structure was a hall where the king used to take rest during his visit to the temple. There is also a very beautiful Rangamantapa (dancing hall), where the temple dancers used to perform during festivals. This mantapa is also full of pillars on which various forms of Vishnu were sculpted beautifully.

As mentioned earlier, the Achyutharaya temple is on the foot of the MatIMG_1617anga Hill. We can view this entire temple complex from the top of the hill. In of my earlier posts, i mentioned that i almost scaled the hill but returned back due to the fear of miscreants. The picture shown here is that view, courtesy my friend Ganesh. The whole of the complex is visible. After leaving the temple, we take the same route back till the beginning of the rocky are. Instead of going straight, we turn left and take a narrow path to reach the Kodandarama Temple. This is the third route i mentioned earlier.

3 comments:

magiceye said...

informative

Deguide said...

I have not visited this temple so far during the trip to Hampi, got to see it next time.

arunthetraveller said...

Very well written.. The last pic sure makes a statement!!

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