Blog Archives

History and Architecture of the Virupaksha (Pampapathi) Temple, Hampi, Capital of the Vijayanagara Empire

History and Architecture of the Virupaksha Pampapathi Temple, Hampi

Sri Virupaksha or Pampapathi was the family deity of the early Vijayanagara kings and this was incorporated even in their sign manual as found in copper plate inscriptions.

Maharangamandapa of Virupaksha Pampapathi Temple, Hampi

Situated on the southern bank of Tungabhadra river, the original temple with Virupaksha Sivalinga was perhaps first consecrated in the twelfth century A.D. With the establishment of the Vijayanagara kingdom additions were made twice. The first addition of a sabhamandapa took place during the period of King Mallikarjuna in the middle of the fifteenth century A.D. The second addition of a maharangamandapa took place during the period of Krishnadevaraya in 1510 A.D., to commemorate his coronation in 1509 A.D.

Dravidian Temple Architecture of Virupaksha Pampapathi Temple, Hampi

The temple consists of a garbhagriha, antarala, sabhamandapa, and a maharangamandapa. The square garbhagriha has a Shiva Linga. It has a Dravidian type of sikhara with a kalasha on the top. The square sabhamandapa has four central pillars and sculptures of gods and goddesses of which Bedara Kannapp, Kiratarjuniya, Bhairava are important. It has two entrances at the north and south.

Balustraded Elephants of Virupaksha Pampapathi Temple, Hampi The maharangamandapa added by Krishnadevaraya contains 38 pillars with entrances on three sides with flights of steps decorated with balustraded elephants.

The pillars contain relief sculptures of Ramayana and Mahabharata. The ceilings have paintings of Tripurantaka, Parvati Kalyana, procession of Vidyaranya, etc. There are also stucco figures of Parvati Kalyana, Kalarimurti, Mahishamardini, etc.

Krishnadevaraya renovated the main eastern gopura, which is 170 feet in height, and it dominates the entire area. This main mahadvara or the gateway with its Dravidian gopura rises in ten diminishing tiers and is famous as ‘hiriya gopura’, meaning a huge gopura.

This gopura has many stucco figures and decorative elements. The Bhuvaneshwari shrine contains beautifully executed Chalukyan doorway and Chalukyan pillars of the twelfth century A.D.

Doorway and Chalukyan Pillars of Virupaksha Pampapathi Temple, Hampi

As this is a living temple, devotees throng the portals of this temple to worship at the shrine of the sacred Virupaksha linga and to see the remnants of the Vijayanagara architecture and sculpture.

Worship at the Shrine of the Sacred Virupaksha Linga in Virupaksha Pampapathi Temple, Hampi

Tagged
Posted in Hobbies and Pursuits Travels and Journeys

The Architectural Masterpiece of Hampi’s Vijaya Vittala Temple and its Spectacular Stone Chariot

Vijaya Vittala Temple, Hampi

Vijaya Vittala Temple is one of the important temples in Hampi. Its construction began during the time of Krishnadevaraya in 1513 CE, and it continued even during the reign of his successor Achyutaraya (1529–42 CE) and perhaps it was not completed as per the grandiose plan of its builder Krishnadevaraya.

Facing east, this temple is in the centre of a quadrangle measuring 500 ft by 310 ft, and it has three gopura entrances in north, south, and east. This vast temple complex can be divided into three parts namely the outer mukhamandapa, the central rangamandapa and the interior sukhanasi and garbhagriha.

Pillars, pilasters, and the niches that exhibit Dravidian Temple Architecture at Hampi's Vijaya Vittala Temple

The outer mukhamandapa stands on a five feet basement and has three entrances. The entire mandapa has 56 pillars of composite nature and each one appears to be an independent monument. The ceilings have lotus designs.

Through the above mandapa one enters into rangamandapa, which is the most beautiful part of this temple. The pillars, the pilasters, and the niches exhibit Dravidian characters. The composite pillars of this mandapa are especially noteworthy for their decorative nature and delicate carvings of gods and goddesses and scroll work. In the centre is a grand enclosure of sixteen extremely beautiful tall pillars.

Kalyana Mandapa Wedding Hall at Vijaya Vittala Temple, Hampi

At the western part of it is the doorway leading to the sukhanasi and garbhagriha. There is a pradakshinapatha, which has pierced windows (Jalandhras) to allow sufficient light and air. Inscriptions mention that Krishnadevaraya added phalapuja mandapa and kalyanamandapa to this structure. Perhaps the garbhagriha had a Vishnu image in the form of Vitthala to which deity regular worship was offered and various festivals were celebrated on a grand scale.

Harmonious blending of sculpture and architecture in Vijayanagara Vijaya Vittala Temple, Hampi

Spectacular Stone Chariot of Vijaya Vittala Temple, Hampi Another important attraction of this temple is the stone chariot in front of the rangamandapa. The ratha or the stone chariot looks like a miniature Dravidian temple, which originally perhaps had a brick tower. It has four wheels, two on either side and it is said that it could be turned on its axis. This chariot has an image of Garuda, as it is a Vishnu temple.

Quadrangle and Architectural Masterpiece of Hampi's Vijaya Vittala Temple

This temple is so characteristic of the Vijayanagara art, it is taken as a symbol of Vijayanagara architecture, and sculpture, as it is a harmonious blending of sculpture and architecture for which the Vijayanagara architects and sculptors were famous all over the country.

Tagged
Posted in Travels and Journeys

The Fantastic Ornate Building of Saint Philomena’s Church, Mysore

Fantastic Ornate Building of Saint Philomena's Church, Mysore

Though Mysore has been a stronghold of traditional Hinduism from time immemorial, it has been famous for the harmonious coexistence of other religions also. This is testified to by many churches and mosques, which have been serving the cause of religion of their followers without any hindrance. Saint Philomena’s Church on the Ashoka Road (and practically at the entrance of Mysore coming from Bangalore) is a testimony for the religious tolerance of the people of Mysore.

Attractive colonnades of Saint Philomena's Church, Mysore There was a church known as Saint Joseph’s church built in 1840 and it was reconstructed and was renamed as Saint Joseph and Saint Philomena’s cathedral. It is said that Sri Thamboo Chetty, the then Dewan of Mysore in one of his visits had brought a piece of bone and drapery of the famous religious savant from Magnano in France from Peter Pisani, Apostolic Delegate of the East Indies and he wanted to consecrate them in a suitable church for this purpose.

The cathedral was designed by French architects and its foundation was laid by the then Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadeyar II in 1933. This church is modelled on Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York and the Gothic Church at Cologne in Germany.

Unique Architectural Style with Some Greek Features

The most attractive part of this edifice is the two tall imposing pointed towers at the facade itself. The two towers rise to a height of 165 ft. The elegance of this structure is enhanced by miniature pointed towers at different points, adding further height to the cathedral.

The vertically fashioned tall windows at regular intervals add a great charm. The pointed triangular gothic motifs at different places is another attraction.

Crypt with statue of Saint Philomena in Mysore

The church has a crypt in which is a statue of Saint Philomena in a catacomb-like cell. A piece of her bone is preserved at the center of a beautiful shield. There is also a piece of her drapery. Hence, this is important to Roman Catholics.

The interior of the cathedral is decorated with attractive colonnades and glass paintings made in France. Particularly noteworthy are the paintings of crucification of Christ and John baptizing Christ. The annual Saint Philomena’s feast is held in this cathedral. Large numbers of Roman Catholic devotees visit this sacred cathedral.

Unique Architectural Style with Some Greek Features of Saint Philomena's Church, Mysore

Hundreds of tourists of all religions to Mysore visit this cathedral daily to see the lofty and beautiful, tall and imposing towers and the architecture of a rare type not generally seen in many areas of this country.

Tagged
Posted in Faith and Religion Travels and Journeys

Evolution of Early Chalukyan Art – the Historic Meguti Temple, Aihole

Ravikirti Inscription - Meguti Temple, Aihole

Aihole, ancient Ayyavole, now in Bijapur district was a great centre of early Chalukyan architecture. In fact this was the cradle of Chalukyan temples. Literally more than one hundred early-Chalukyan temples were built here in the sixth and seventh centuries CE.

Meguti temple is one such temple at Aihole. This temple is built on a hillock and looks prominently even from a distance.

The Meguti Temple is also famous in Indian history and literature for the inscription written by the celebrated poet Ravikirti. This inscription mentions Kalidasa and Bharavi by name and for this reason highly useful for fixing the date of both these poets as the inscription is dated 634–35 CE. From this evidence, it becomes comprehensible that this temple was built in 634–35 CE. It also gives a graphic description of the eminent conquests of Chalukya Pulakesi II.

This is a Jain temple and stands on a basement of 4 ft and faces north. The temple consists of a garbhagriha, pradakshinapatha, antarala and a mandapa. The outer wall of the temple consists of two thick decorated moldings. The mandapa portion is open with square pillars above the moldings. Below the base moldings are carved chaitya type niches, amorous couples, musicians playing on musical instruments and wrestlers.

Evolution of Early Chalukyan Art - Meguti Temple, Aihole

The square garbhagriha has a sitting tirthankara under a tree. Some scholars recognize him as Mahaveera. He is flanked by two chauri bearers on each side. Above the garbhagriha is another garbhagriha, which can be entered from the sukhanasi. In general, Jain temples (basadi) contain two garbhagrihas one over the other. On the western sidewall of this, is a very beautiful female sculpture which may be either Ambika or Siddhayika or Sujata. On her sides are chamara bearers and below are the sculptures of monkey and a swan. The upper garbhagriha has no sikhara over it. Its walls are also unadorned except niches, which are now empty.

Though this temple is not highly attractive from the point of view of the embellishments and decorations, it is notable in understanding the evolution of early Chalukyan art under the background that this is a dated temple assignable to 634–35 CE. This is the earliest dated temple of the Chalukyas of Badami.

This is one of the early temples where the Chalukyan architects were making experiments in the construction of a perfect temple. From the famous Ravikirti’s inscription this temple is better known than others.

Tagged
Posted in Faith and Religion Travels and Journeys

Architectural Charm of the Chalukyan Durga Temple in Aihole, Karnataka

Architectural Charm of the Chalukyan Durga Temple in Aihole, Karnataka

Durga temple is the biggest and arguably the most attractive temple at Aihole. Though it is called Durga Temple, it has nothing to do with goddess Durga or Durgi. The name of the temple may have derived from the word ‘durga’ meaning fort. As one enters Aihole from the north, this temple is found near the fort and people should have named it Durga (fort) temple.

Durga Fort Temple in Aihole - Chalukyan Architecture The most important charm of this temple for which it is celebrated is the apsidal character of the posterior part of this architecture. Generally apsidal or gajapristha form is found in Buddhist monuments. Nevertheless, this temple being non-Buddhist and yet having an apsidal posterior part is an mystery, which has not been explained satisfactorily by art historians. Conceivably one of the architects experimented with this type of plan in the Hindu temple and it did not become popular and for this reason given up. There is a comparable apsidal temple at Mahakuta, very close to Aihole which was also an primitive Chalukyan art center.

The temple consists of an apsidal garbhagriha, sabhamandapa, a mandapa and a mukhamandapa in east-west axis and the temple opens to the east. The temple has a base of six different moldings. The temple is entered through two flights of steps to the south and north of the mandapa. On the basement are square pillars all the way through the construction including the apsidal garbhagriha.

Hindu Temples Architecture during Chalukyas - Durga Temple, Aihole

The rows of pillars contains two pradakshinapathas, which is an exceptional architectural feature. The longish sabhamandapa has been divided into three portions by its pillars. The large number of pillars in this temple have been utilized by the artists to carve a large number puranic stories and self-supporting sculptures. These sculptures are of high order and add refinement and charisma to this temple.

Shiva Dancing Statue Durga Temple in Aihole, Karnataka On the pillars of the mukhamandapa are found passionate couples in various suggestive poses. On another pillar is found Shiva dancing on apasmara. The inner wall of the mukhamandapa has Ramayana panel, Ardhanarisvara and Ugranarasimha killing Hiranyakashipu. The front entrance of the mandapa is well carved with dvarapalas, Yamuna and Ganga, and further sculptures.

Unfortunately, there are no inscriptions to date this temple. Derived from stylistic evidence, various dates have been assigned to this temple. While many scholars consider 600 C.E. as the date of this temple, some others assign it to seventh century C.E.

Tagged
Posted in Faith and Religion Travels and Journeys

The Magnificent Jaganmohan Palace and Art Gallery Building in Mysore

The Magnificent Jaganmohan Palace and Art Gallery Building in Mysore

As the name itself signifies, the Jaganmohan Palace is an elegant and majestic building in Mysore. Actually it is at a walking distance from the Mysore palace to the west of it. It was originally built during the rule of Krishnaraja Wadeyar III sometime in 1860. When there was an accidental fire in the Mysore palace, this was used as a palace and all important functions took place here. The marriage of the then Yuvaraja was celebrated in this palace.

Glow of Hope by Sawlaram Haldankar in Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery, Mysore This palace also served as the durbar hall until the completion of the new pavilion in 1910. Another important function that took place here was the installation of His Highness the Maharaja in 1902 which was graced by Lord Curzon, the Governor General and Viceroy of India.

Later in 1900, a spacious and ornamental pavilion was added to the then existing palace. It was specially designed for the invitees to witness marriages, royal installations, and birthday celebrations. The long hall has two balconies on both sides so that the royal women could witness the functions.

Subsequently the Representative Assembly meetings took place here. Even Mysore university convocations were held here for some time.

Raja Ravi Varma Paintings in Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery, Mysore

Today this palace has been made into an art gallery. The three-story structure behind the main hall is a fine repository of paintings, sculptures, musical instruments and other artefacts connected with Mysore royal family. The excellent paintings include those made by Raja Ravivarma, Ramavarma, and some European artists and Roerich.

Particularly interesting are the paintings giving the genealogy of Mysore kings and other matters of interest. The front facade of this palace is majestic with stucco ornamentation and broad doors. Minarets and domes at the four corners are highly pleasing.

Jaganmohan Art Gallery The central part has a vimana like tower with minarets and kalasha. The miniature sikharas on either side have chaitya like niches and the same is found at the central dome. Thus, it looks very elegant. It has a vast enclosure with a fine garden and huge shady trees. Hundreds of tourists visit this palace daily to get a glimpse of the Mysore royalty through paintings and other artefacts in the rare ambiance of a contemporary palace for which the Maharajas were famous universally.

Tagged
Posted in Music, Arts, and Culture Travels and Journeys

The Unique Temple Architecture of Gaudara Gudi, Aihole

Temple Architecture of Gaudara Gudi, Aihole

Gaudara Gudi near to the Ladkhan temple at Aihole is another interesting monument of Karnataka architecture. It is not known as to why it is called by that name (Gauda = Village headman).

A few years ago, the Archaeological Survey of India conducted excavations here and this has shown that Gaudara Gudi is former than the Ladkhan temple. As the precise date of the Ladkhan temple is also not known, the exact date of Gaudara Gudi cannot be fixed. On stylistic grounds, it has been surmised that this temple should have been built in the early part of the seventh century CE.

Gaudara Gudi is a fascinating and irreplaceable structure. It has a basement of four and half feet in height with thick moldings. This temple consists of a garbhagriha, a pradakshinapatha and a mandapa. Sixteen square shaped pillars with abacus hold the roof. The roof is in two tiers one above the other and is made of sloping stones. The lower eave-like molding has some decorations. At the western side of the roof are found low sikhara-like part, which is made of two tiers, the outer edges of which have decorative moldings.

Description of Temple Architecture of Gaudara Gudi, Aihole

The temple has a flight of steps in the middle of the mandapa. The columned mandapa has on its base a series of pumakumbhas. Behind them are kakshasanas. The pillars are heavy and thick. The beams inside are well carved and have bass-relief sculptures of floral patterns, animals, and human beings. Some of them have chaitya windows.

The garbhagriha is small and it has very beautiful carvings on its doorway. Its outer walls have three koshthas that once perhaps contained three sculptures which are now missing. The side and upper jambs of this doorway were intricately carved with floral design. The lintel has in the middle a flying Garuda in human form. He is flanked on either side by pilasters. What is more important is the sculpture of Lakshmi above the garuda. The ornamented and seated Lakshmi holds lotus flowers in her two hands. On both sides are elephants performing abhisheka to her.

Mandapa of Temple Architecture of Gaudara Gudi, Aihole

Below in the pond are two more elephants. Such Lakshmi motifs are found in Badami also. Founded on this sculpture of Lakshmi, it is supposed that this temple was dedicated to Bhagavati or Lakshmi. So therefore, this may be considered as one of the earliest temples of Lakshmi in Karnataka. From all these characters, this temple occupies an important place at Aihole.

Tagged
Posted in Travels and Journeys

Architectural Highlights of the Lotus Mahal in Hampi, Vijayanagara Empire

Architectural Highlights of the Lotus Mahal in Hampi, Vijayanagara Empire

Lotus Mahal (or Kamala Mahal) is perhaps the most elegant stucco pavilion at Hampi, capital of the famous Vijayanagara Empire of South India. Additionally, it is an excellent example of a well-balanced mishmash of Indian and Islamic (or Sarcenic) architectural style.

Ground Floor of the Lotus Mahal, Hampi

Indian and Islamic (or Sarcenic) Architectural Style of Lotus Mahal, Hampi The structure of the Lotus Mahal is built of brick and mortar with smooth and glossy plaster finishing. Yet, the platform or the basement of the building is built of stone. It has indented outlines with sharp corners, with excellently bedecked moldings at the bottom on all the sides. The structure has two stories.

The ground floor is not closed in any direction. It has cusped arches with fine decorations over which exists a sloping eave, surrounding the building. The ground area has a pavilion or a spectator section, which was used by the royals for pastime and for congregation.

The ground floor is raised on a high and ornamental stone basement with doubly recessed angles, which makes the plan of the building somewhat different, and many art historians have marveled at this architectural feature.

First Floor of the Lotus Mahal, Hampi

There is a staircase to go to the first floor. The first floor is a closed pavilion with many rectangular windows with separate arches at the top. Each of these windows had wooden shutters, which is not very a common feature. Possibly the royal women used this.

The upper floor also has a sloping eave running around the building. The graceful roof contains nine superstructures, which bear a resemblance to closely the sikharas of Hindu temples.

Well-Designed and Toned Architectural Features of the Lotus Mahal, Hampi

The interior of the upper storey consists of an indented hall with four pillars in the centre with niches. The interior walls consist of finely carved floral designs of a high order. While the pillars and the arches exhibit Islamic architectural characters, the base, the roof the superstructures, cornices and stucco ornaments are Hindu in character.

Well-Designed and Toned Architectural Features

This harmonious architectural combination of features has made the Lotus Mahal distinctive at Hampi. Actually, it is an appealing and a long-awaited combination of two different styles of architecture during the Vijayanagara period.

This elegant building was perhaps used entirely by the royalty as a pleasure pavilion with open space at the ground level and some amount of privacy at the first floor. Thus, its name Lotus Mahal or Kamala Mahal is entirely appropriate to this elegant structure.

Tagged
Posted in Travels and Journeys

The Distinctive Chalukyan Architecture Featured in the Ladkhan Temple of Aihole

Chalukyan Architecture Featured in the Ladkhan Temple of Aihole

Ladkhan temple is a significant temple at Aihole because of the method of its construction which marks an important stage in the evolution of the Chalukyan style of architecture.

The temple is called Ladkhan Temple because a gentleman named Ladkhan lived in the temple and consequently the local populace began to call it so. If truth be told, early India scholars like Percy Brown and others considered this temple to be the earliest in Aihole and assigned a date 450 CE. On the contrary, modern researches have revealed that it is not that early and scholars designate it to seventh century CE.

Numerous sculptures of amorous couples in Ladkhan Temple of Aihole It has a distinctive plan and does not give the mark of a temple at all in the first instance. In reality, it looks like a mandapa with rows of pillars. The temple consists of a small garbhagriha attached to the rear wall of a square sabhamandapa and a rectangular mukhamandapa/em>. Hence, there is no pradakshinapatha. The interior of the sabhamandapa is divided into two parallel enclosures with the help of a row of pillars.

The garbhagriha has a Sivalinga and therefore it might have been a Siva temple initially. The rectangular mandapa in the front is smaller in size and provides an entrance. As there is a good image of Surya, some scholars consider it as a temple devoted to Sun. The garbhagriha entryway has Garuda in human form on the doorjamb.

The temple stands on a cellar with moldings and the uppermost molding is very thick, over which rises the wall of the temple. A similar molding is found at the roof level. But what is more interesting is the roof itself. The posterior portion has a square in two tiers with a slight slope in all the four directions. On them are placed stone rafters in reproduction of wooden roof of the earlier buildings. Similar is the roof of the front mandapa, which is rectangular. On the roof of the sabhamandapa is an upper garbhagriha opening to the east with pillars and pilasters without any sikhara. These architectural features have made this temple unique.

Ladkhan Temple - Earliest Temple in Aihole

There are a large number of sculptures on the pillars and the koshthas. Numerous sculptures of amorous couples and the jalandhras are very eye-catching. The roof of the mandapa has a naga holding a lotus. The upper garbhagriha wall has niches in which are found sculptures of Vishnu, Surya, and Siva. Bearing in mind all the architectural features the Ladkhan temple is considered to represent an important stage in the development of early Chalukyan art.

Tagged
Posted in Travels and Journeys

Beauty and Majesty of the Adil Shahi Architecture of the Jumma Masjid in Bijapur

Beauty and Majesty of the Adil Shahi Architecture of the Jumma Masjid in Bijapur

Jumma Masjid at Bijapur has the characteristic of expressing the early characters of the Adil Shahi architecture. In fact, some features of the earlier Bahamani style can also be seen in this monument. Thus it is a good example for the beginning of the Adil Shahi style which culminated in other monuments as it Gol Gumbaz and Ibrahim Rauza.

The Jumma Masjid mosque was built by Ali Adil Shah I in about 1570 AD. It is the largest and most beautiful mosque in Bijapur with series of arches. In fact, the arches are the most important character of this building. It seems it was never completed because it still lacks two minars, which were intended to flank the two sides of the eastern entrance. Though unfinished in this respect, it presents an elegant look.

The mosque is a huge structure with a rectangle of 450 feet long and 225 feet wide. The walls of this building offer a vast area of simple and plain masonry. However, the monotony of the simplicity is relieved by exterior decorations.

The uniqueness of this mosque is the construction of two rows of arches one above the other. The builder has selected the lower rows for ornamentation. The mosque contains a courtyard which is a square of 155 feet each side. This has a row of seven arches on each side and over them projects a wide and deep cornice on brackets.

Two rows of arches in Jumma Masjid of Bijapur The interior of the sanctuary is equally elegant and impressive. It consists of a large quadrangle, which measures 208 feet in length and 107 feet in width. This is divided into five aisles with the help of arches.

The innermost part is a square nave, each side measuring 76 ft. It has twelve arches, three on each side. These arches intersect above and produce an octagonal cornice that supports the base of the dome. The shape of the dome is pleasing with small isles and small arches all round and a decorated parapet above. Thus, it provides a decorative base for the dome. The mihrab consists of elaborate mural design in relief with bright colors.

Ali Adil Shah I on his return from his victorious and memorable expedition against Ramaraya of Vijayanagara and his treasury overflowing with spoils of war, naturally thought of creating a place of worship (mosque).

The Sultan summoned architects and artisans from Persia and elsewhere and hence the structure has become a building of great elegance, beauty, and majesty.

Tagged
Posted in Travels and Journeys