- Tourists can no longer get too close to the iconic stone chariot in front of the Vijaya Vittala Temple due to a protective ring by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
- Stone chariot is one of the most visited monuments in Hampi and needs extra protection. The protected monument is facing the risk of being damaged by such objectionable behaviour of some of the tourists.
- There were no proposals presently before the ASI to do the same with more monuments in the heritage site.
Hampi stone chariot
- The chariot inside the temple complex is a shrine dedicated to Garuda, but the sculpture of Garuda is now missing.
- The Hampi chariot is among three famous stone chariots in India, the other two being in Konark, Odisha, and Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu.
- The delicately carved chariot at Hampi, art historians say, reflects the skill of temple architecture under the patronage of the Vijayanagara rulers who reigned from 14th to 17th century CE.
Back to Basics
Group of Monuments / Hampi
- Hampi or Hampe, also referred to as the Group of Monuments at Hampi, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in east-central Karnataka.
- Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th century.
- The old city of Hampi was a prosperous, wealthy and grand city near the Tungabhadra River, with numerous temples, farms and trading markets.
- By 1500 CE, Hampi-Vijayanagara was the world’s second-largest medieval-era city after Beijing, and probably India’s richest at that time, attracting traders from Persia and Portugal.
- The Vijayanagara Empire was defeated by a coalition of sultanates; its capital was conquered, pillaged and destroyed by sultanate armies in 1565, after which Hampi remained in ruins.
- The Krishna temple complex, Narasimha, Ganesa, Hemakuta group of temples, Achyutaraya temple complex, Vitthala temple complex, Pattabhirama temple complex, Lotus Mahal complex, can be highlighted.
- Suburban townships (puras) surrounded the large temple complexes contains subsidiary shrines, bazaars, residential areas and tanks applying the unique hydraulic technologies.
- The Vitthla temple is the most exquisitely ornate structure on the site and represents the culmination of Vijayanagara temple architecture.
- It is a fully developed temple with associated buildings like Kalyana Mandapa and Utsava Mandapa within a cloistered enclosure pierced with three entrance Gopurams.
- In addition to the typical spaces present in contemporary temples, it boasts of a Garuda shrine fashioned as a granite ratha and a grand bazaar street.
Source: The Hindu
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