Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hampi memories 8 - Pattabhirama Temple, Reservoirs and Sunsets

Located away from the main Hampi circuit, near the Museum, is the beautiful Pattabhirama Temple, constructed in Vijayanagar style. The garden outside is, rather surprisingly, well maintained.

The external, multi-tiered Gopuram is elegantly carved.

There are several halls within the temple complex, including a Marriage Hall, a Hall for visitors to stay in, a Kitchen, and other structures. The multi-pillared Central Hall looks out towards the Gopuram.

The pillars are exquisitely carved, resembling those of the well known Vittala Temple. 

The temple complex is being renovated. Perhaps, when done, visitors will get a better idea of the appearance of the Temple as it may have looked 600 years ago.

All the pillars have several panels on each of the four faces. Carvings are seen from the ceiling to the floor.

Each carved panel tells a story. 

The temple complex is quite extensive, with Gopurams, a large courtyard and many halls. We were the only visitors at that time. A small crew was busy with the renovations. 

Like all advanced civilizations, the Vijayanagar Empire was built around an extensive system of  artificial reservoirs and canals used to supply precious water for irrigation. In addition, the Vijayanagar kings had constructed a network of channels, as well, as we had seen near some of the temples. Considering that this was a dry, rocky area, this was a stunning feat. There were several reservoirs within the Kingdom. The ones we see today had their origins during the 15th Century, if not earlier. We passed one of the reservoirs every morning during our trip from Hospet to Hampi. Note the slightly suspicious look on Junior's face. He was probably wondering what kind of a mess he had gotten into.

Located away from the main tourist circuit, the Malyavanta Hill is well known as one of the Sunset points in Hampi, much like Hemakuta and Matanga Hills near Virupaksha Temple.

The views go around about 270 degrees, revealing the dry, rocky landscape stretching for kilometres.

Like most Sunset Point type spots, the expectations may be higher compared to the views or ambiance. In this case, you get both. An extremely unique point about this spot is that the large Raghunatha Malyavanta Temple has been built on a hill, among and around the rocks. Thereis even a little temple perched way up on the highest rock in the hill.

This is a 'live' temple, with nice music and chanting, however, without the crowds that invariably gather at most easily accessible 'live' temples (like the Virupaksha Temple, conveniently located next to the bus terminus).

The complex is set in a garden amidst the rocky mountain slopes. It was built in the 16th Century. The area is known as Kishkinda. The Ramayana tells us that this was the transit point for Rama and Lakshman on their way south to Lanka.

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