Sassy South Indian

A Travel Freak and Sucker for Fashion

The temple between two hills – Achyutaraya, Hampi

achyutaraya temple, hampi

King Achyuta Deva Raya, younger brother and the last of the rulers before the near end of the glorious rule of the Vijayanagara Kingdom – was handpicked by Krishna Deva Raya himself as an able successor.

King Achyutaraya took to throne when the empire was just beginning to face it’s unfavorable times. The opulence and prosperity under Krishnadevaraya were at risk due to internal disagreements and fights for the throne from contenders like Aliya Rama Raya and also the constant infiltration efforts and feudatories who were waiting for an opportunity to bring down the empire.

However, after the succession to the throne in 1529, he built this stellar creation between the Gandhamadana and Matanga hills dedicated to Lord Tiruvengalanatha, a temple which became popularly known by his name as Achyutaraya Temple.

achyutaraya temple ruins of hampi vijayanagara temple india

Reaching the temple structure

Although the structure is a prominent part of the Hampi temple complex – the temple seems to be ‘off-track’ or ‘hidden’ and serves as a quiet abode for those who wish to spend some peace time beyond the touristy areas.

This intricate and alluring temple complex can be reached in two ways – You could take a side trip from the Kodanda Rama Temple (Riverside Ruins path) that takes you to the main temple entrance.

hampi ruins world heritage center India mala chandrashekar karnataka

hampi ruins world heritage center India mala chandrashekar karnataka

Or, If you prefer to walk towards the Nandi – an alternate ascend through the steps after the Bazaar street – that treats you with a magnanimous aerial view of the temple from the hilltop.

achyutaraya temple ruins of hampi vijayanagara temple india

aerial view of temple of hampi indian temple

The Temple Complex

Dwaram

the ruins of hampi world heritage centre incredible india

the ruins of hampi world heritage centre incredible india

A ‘Dwara’ or entrance in Hindu culture, represents a progressive succession through spaces. The concept of decorative art or intricate designs on the dwara represents an auspicious welcome and removal of negative barriers through the designs.

monochrome image of the ruins of hampi world heritage centre incredible india

The intricate design on the entrance are a representation of the grandeur and the prosperity and the main sanctum is at the centre of two rectangular courtyards.

The main shrine is adorned by Yali’s Also known as the – Indian dragon form.These dramatic and beautiful giant lion like forms are seen in a fighting posture. I found these sculptures awe-inspiring- Here’s what I found out about them during my travel.

yali vyala vidala hampi lion elephant and horse

Yali / Vyala or Vidala ( in Sanskrit) is a mythical creature most often sculpted onto the pillars of Hindu temples. It may be portrayed as part lion, part elephant and part horse, and in similar forms and shapes .The reasoning behind these sculptures on the pillars are a representation of life itself. Life is far from being perfect – there are demonic, negative forces always at play in this universe and true art, especially religious Hindu temple art was a true representation of fighting imperfections.

As one enters the inner sanctum, where the deity was supposedly placed – we come across the ‘Dwarapalakas’ or ‘deity guards’. There are multiple theories on Jaya-Vijaya the two sentinels whose job are to stand at the entrance and keep watch while the Lord rests inside – And as per mythology – I learnt that, one gets the permission mentally from Dwarapalakas, before entering the temple with only to fulfill wishes if they have complete faith in the Lord.

dwarapalaka achyutaraya temple hampi temple vijayanagara kingdom

On the main shrine,on closer look – one gets to see the references of Ramayana and Mahabharata episodes portrayal etched beautifully on the rock pillars of the temple.

ramayana depiction in hindu temples hampi

The above image is a representation of the Ramayana episode : The top part of the pillar has carvings where, Lord Hanuman (never ending tail) is sent to make peace with Ravana and the duo are in conversation.

There is also a carving which shows Sitadevi and Hanuman who gives her the precious jewel of ‘chintamani’ as a representation of Rama’s messenger and a vow to release her from the captivity of Ravana.

Apart from these scenes – there are some alluring depictions of ‘Muddu Krishna’ (Krishna as a baby) playfully handling a snake.

kalinga mardhana lord krishna sculpture of hampi

And also another image showcasing Krishna in a ‘tribhangi’ posture – I have personally seen some well-known dancers potray this movement in the most delightful sensuous way.

The tribhangi is essentially a three bends in the body – the neck, waist and knee, making one seem to form a gentle “S” shape making it one of most alluring and graceful positions in dance forms potrayed in representation of Krishna.

monuments incredible india hampi images karnataka

There are more stupendous sculptures like the court dancer and a Jester showing off some of his antics.

sculptures of india temples incredible india monuments Hampi karnataka tourism

sculptures of indian temples incredible india india tourism karnataka tourism hampi temples

I could fill up more web screens with the fluidity and wonderous sculptures the Achyutara temple complex has -The grandeur and the intricate art of this temple structure gives you a sense of reminiscing the glorious times before the fall of the Vijayanagara empire and affluence of the kings who were mighty interested in giving art and culture its due even at the very impending end of prosperity.

Let’s set out on a new photographic exploratory temple in my next blog.. More to come!

Have you visited this place? Do share your thoughts!

P.S. Please note that all information are a part of history behind the temple mythology (not mine) and the information may differ based on different perspectives and narratives as the information is a reference from various sources online. I am presenting here my understanding and perspective of the same in a condensed format to keep the blog short and interesting.

You could comment below if you wish to know more in detail about any specific details/ photographs mentioned.

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