Vitthala temple has a typical south Indian temple layout – a compound wall around a massive courtyard, an entrance through a majestic gopuram, ornate central shrine surrounded by several manthapas. While the entire temple complex is a feast for the eyes, the following paragraphs shows some of my favorite spots and features of this historic place.
Vitthala temple is my favorite temple in Hampi.
And the shrine shaped like a chariot my most favorite spot in the temple compound.
The intricately carved shrine sits on top of a wheel carriage. The carriage with axles and brakes is wonderfully detailed. Going by the scratch marks under the wheels, it is possible that the wheels actually turned on the axle! Notice how disproportionate the elephants pulling the chariot are? They belong elsewhere. They were placed here by some smart aleck modern match maker to complete the picture. The chariot originally had horses whose hind legs can be discerned just behind the elephants posterior.
The profusely carved pillars, surprisingly, have something for the ears. When tapped, they emanate sonorous musical notes. And not just some random notes, carved musician statues placed strategically on the pillars indicates the exact sound you will hear when the pillar is played. Go ahead, hear for yourself.
In the many verandahs of the temple, in spots of shade, game boards have been industriously scratched on the stone of the floor. “The study of board games at Hampi yield rich anthropological, historical and sociological information.” says Rangachar Vasantha in a very interesting research paper. He concludes the paper by noticing that the board games from the city of Vijayanagar may be classified into five categories: Games played by the royalty, for the royalty, by the masses, ladies and children.
This game board is my favorite. It is called Paggada ata and is the only such board found in Hampi (leading Mr. Vasantha to conclude that the engraver probably made a mistake while marking it ). It is a game of two, each with nine pieces. Pieces are entered one at a time, in alternate turns, each player attempting to form a row along one of the vertical or horizontal lines of the board, and to confine opponent's pieces so that the cannot move. Each row entitles a player to remove an opponent’s piece/ When all pieces are entered they can be moved one step at a time along a line to a neighboring empty point. The winner either blocks all the opponent’s pieces so that they cannot move, or reduces their number so that they cannot form a row,
This game, on the other hand, is played only by children, in those times, with “one tiger and five lambs”, played on ten points, keeping tiger on the vertex and is termed the simplest game. This game is still played by farmers in nearby villages as a strategy game.
Here are some secondary reasons to be at the Vitthala temple:
“Dhol” musical pillar
|“Damaru” pillar||“Tasha” pillar|