Vijaya Vittala Temple




The Vittala Temple or Vijaya Vitthala Temple is probably the most beautiful structure in Hampi. The Vitthala temple complex is over 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) north-east of the Virupaksha temple near the banks of the Tungabhadra River. It is the most artistically sophisticated Hindu temple in Hampi, and is part of the sacred centre of Vijayanagara. It is unclear when the temple complex was built, and who built it; most scholars date it to a period of construction in the early-to-mid-16th century.nsors. The temple was dedicated to Vitthala, a form of Krishna also called Vithoba. The temple opens to the east, has a square plan and features an entrance gopuram with two side gopurams. The main temple stands in the middle of a paved courtyard and several subsidiary shrines, all aligned to the east.
The Vitthala temple has a Garuda shrine in the form of a stone chariot in the courtyard; it is an often-pictured symbol of Hampi. Above the chariot is a tower, which was removed during the late 19th-century restorations. In the front of the stone chariot is a large, square, open-pillared, axial sabha mandapa, or community hall. The mandapa has four sections, two of which are aligned with the temple sanctum. The mandapa has 56 carved stone beams of different diameters, shape, length and surface finish that produces musical sounds when struck; according to local traditional belief, this hall was used for public celebrations of music and dancing.

The mandapa links to an enclosed pradakshina patha for walking around the sanctum. Around this axial mandapa are (clockwise from east); the Garuda shrine, the Kalyana mandapa (wedding ceremonies), the 100-columned mandapa, the Amman shrine and the Utsav mandapa (festival hall). The walled enclosure covers aboput 1.3 hectares (3.2 acres) with colonnaded verandahs lining the compound walls. In the south-east corner is a kitchen with a roof window (clerestory).

Outside the temple compound, to its east-south-east, is a colonnaded market street almost one kilometre (0.62 mi) long; all of which is now in ruins. To the north is another market and a south-facing shrine with reliefs of Ramayana scenes, Mahabharata scenes and of Vaishnava saints. The north street ended in a temple honouring the Hindu philosopher Ramanuja. The region around the Vitthala temple was called Vitthalapura. It hosted a Vaishnava matha (monastery), designed as a pilgrimage centre centred around the Alvar tradition. It was also a centre for craft production according to inscriptions found.

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