Hampi Diaries – Vitthala Temple

by Puru


Jan 20, 2013


I am bored of writing and by this time, you might have been bored reading all my monologues on Hampi. So this post will be less words and more photographs.

Vitthala Temple is the most splendid among the temples of Hampi and is famous for its rich and ornate design and beautiful carvings. Dedicate to Lord Vishnu, this temple was built in the 15th Century AD.

The Mahamandapa

The Mahamandapa of Vitthala is majestic. It occurred to me that its design resembled a Sri Yantra. Richly carved with ornate motifs, beautiful pillars and richly carved monolithic pillars. It had a lot of Musical pillars which are said to produce the sounds of many musical instruments when tapped. The roof of the Mahamandapa had collapsed centuries back and is being restored.

Hampi_Vitthala_Temple-Main Temple

The Mahamandapam – Main Sanctum


Beautifully carved motifs


Beautiful carved pillars in the Southern hall with figures of Narasimha and Yali


Musical Pillars




Carved Base adorned with horses, elephants and horses

The Stone Chariot

The Stone Chariot is the most famous structure inside the Vitthala Temple and happens to be the symbol of Hampi. This happens to be a temple chariot drawn by elephants and dedicated to Garuda- the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. It is placed on a rectangular platform with battle scenes engraved at the base and four richly carved and giant wheels attached to it. The wheels were actually free to move on the axis ! The Stone happens to be a great draw for people who wished to be photographed infront of it. It took me a lot of time to finally find the chariot empty so that I could capture it in peace.

One point, some people out of their ignorance or apathy, were climbing over the elephants for getting photographs. While the elephants are made of stone, they should keep it in mind that for one photograph, they can inadvertently damage  this monument. The Indian tourist needs to be a little more sensitive about protecting our heritage. These monuments will never be built again.


The Chariot


Another view of the Chariot


A view of the chariot from the front

The Inner Sanctum

The inner sanctum of the temple lies underground. You have to go down a flight of stairs to a dark Pradakshina hall. It was kindda spooky but I did manage to get a few good photographs without even using a tripod. Am getting more comfortable with my photographic skills these days..


Under the Garbhagriha


The Pradakshina path around the Garbhagriha

The Final Take- Chinese Dragon

While I understand that Black and White photography has been converted into Kitsche these days, but could not resist the temptation of taking the one below sans color. It was my gut feeling that no color would suit its theme. The animal on the sides of the steps in this photograph was explained as a mixture of six animals to us, lion’s mane, horse’s legs, rabbit’s ears , elephant’s trunk etc. Just a few minutes later, another guide while explaining it to some foreign tourists said that it was a Chinese Dragon and they were left wondering what the Chinese were doing in Vijayanagara ..


An attempt at black and white


Vitthala temple can either be reached through the Tungabhadra river by a coracle ferry, or one can walk along the river. The monument opens at 8:30 in the morning and stays open till 5:30 PM. The entry ticket is INR 10.00 for Indians and  INR 250.00 and is can be used for the Royal Center also. Camera fee is INR 25 for Video camera. Still camera is free. Use of tripods is not allowed.

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Hampi Diaries – Vitthala Temple, a set on Flickr.


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About the Author


Puru is an IT Project Manager from Pune, India and an avid blogger. He is passionate about travel, photography, cinema and books. He blogs on Shadows Galore, Art House Cinema, The Mutinous Indian and Antarnaad.

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  1. Arti

    Beautiful! Simply cant stop marveling at those intricate carvings and feel proud at our rich cultural heritage. The b/w picture is absolutely stunning, brings time to a complete standstill.

    • Puru

      Thanks Arti. So now I can safely take b/w pics 🙂

    • Puru

      True that. For anyone who has interest in any form of art, Hampi is a good place to be. Thanks for coming to Shadows Galore 🙂

  2. Jay

    Stunning captures as usual 🙂 .About the dragon, i guess its Thai .Found a similar one on himmapan.com (interesting site ) .Now for the selfish part: How do i fit the 3 day trip u did , into 2 days ?

    • Puru

      Its not a Dragon 😛

      BTW , two days should be enough. Make it like this :

      Day 1: Start in the morning with Virupaksha Temple, See the Sacred Center, Hampi Bazaar and go to the Hemakuta Hill for the sunset

      Day 2: Start with a hike on Matanga Hill, Come down, Chakratirtha .. take a coracle to Vitthala, while returning see Kings balance, Sugreeva’s cave, varaha and Achutaraya. In the 2nd half spend the time at Royal Center.

      • Jay

        Thanks!Builing up on ur iternary 🙂 .Btw, will write my experience! Hope to see it here.Long time since i wrote 🙁 .


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