Pics from Hampi: Part two

Vitalla Temple

One of Hampi’s most famous and important temples is Vitalla, with its massive stone chariot for the god Vishnu and its Great Hall, Maha-Mantapa. The hall was used for celebrations and it has musical pillars – small carved stone pillars that vibrate at different notes when struck. Our guide Hanuman claimed that they also had the quality of sounding like different instruments and that the music could be heard for kilometers when the pillars were played during a festival. Because of damage done by tourists in the past, the pillars are now cordoned off by a barrier to be seen and not heard, so there was no way to test his claims. 🙂

DSC_0506.JPG

The musical pillars around the larger, weight bearing pillars

DSC_0512.jpg

Inside a temple at the compound

DSC_0520.jpg

Carving detail

Ramayana carvings

The Ramayana is one of India’s most important epics. It tells the story of the god Vishnu incarnating as a human, Rama, in order to vanquish the Earth from demons, culminating with the destruction of the demon king Ravana after he kidnapped Rama’s wife, Sita (the human incarnation of Vishnu’s goddess wife, Lakshmi). The monkey god Hanuman also features in the tale.

I read and very much enjoyed a simplified translation of the Ramayana while we were in Delhi last, so it was fun to be so close to where some of the action allegedly took place (the area around Hampi is believed to be Kishkinda, the kingdom of the monkey people where Rama enlisted the help of Hanuman and his buddies in the battle against Ravana) and to see carvings on the temples depicting the story.

DSC_0446.JPG

Rama in the act of breaking Shiva’s unbreakable bow – the test he passed in order to marry Sita

DSC_0448.JPG

Rama and Sita’s marriage procession

DSC_0450.JPG

Ravana, the ten-headed demon, spiriting Sita away

DSC_0455.JPG

Hanuman finds Sita in the demon city. She gives him a token to take back to Rama.

DSC_0456 - Version 2.jpg

This isn’t from the Ramayana, but I thought it was really sweet: the god Krishna as a baby stealing butter

Royal ruins

Hampi is not just about religious sites. It used to be seat of the most powerful rulers of India and there are plenty of amazing royal ruins.

DSC_0438.JPG

Inside the king’s personal underground temple

DSC_0470.jpg

Lotus Mahal inside the Zenana enclosure (women’s enclosure/harem)

DSC_0502.JPG

The queen’s swimming pool. Imagine the steps on the left descending into cool, clear water, with fountains cascading from the right.

DSC_0504.jpg

Queen’s swimming pool detail

DSC_0478.JPG

The royal elephant stables. For a sense of size – there are two tourists sitting in the fourth doorway from the right.

Malyavanta Raghunatha Temple

After our guided tour ended, Roman and I did a bit of exploration on our own. It was an incredible feeling roving around the streets on our little motorcycle all on our own. At one point, we took a left turn up a steep hill. After much strain and improvisational driving by Roman, the little bike eventually made it to the top, where we were greeted by a group of parked auto rickshaws and cows outside a thick stone wall and the sound of puja music coming from within the enclosure of what we discovered was Malyavanta Raghunatha Temple.

Apparently this is the place that Rama and his brother waited out the monsoons during their search for the kidnapped Sita. I can see why Rama might choose this spot – we arrived at dusk and the views of the valley below at sunset were stunning. Really a magical visit.

DSC_0561.jpg

Rickshaws and their sleeping drivers (see the legs in the rickshaw to the right) outside the temple entrance

DSC_0567.jpg

An incredible tree growing on a massive boulder outside the temple

DSC_0575.JPG

Inside the temple compound

DSC_0580.JPG

Sun-drenched temple

DSC_0592.jpg

Temple, rising moon

DSC_0598.JPG

Sadhu

DSC_0588.JPG

View of the valley from the temple

Advertisements

One thought on “Pics from Hampi: Part two

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s