Jan 20, 2018

Vyasaraja Matha, Hampi

August 14, 2017
After Varaha temple, we moved on towards the King's Balance. Enroute, on the slopes of the rocky hillock is an enclosure with a temple and 3 mantapas. This enclosure is said to be Vysaraja's Matha- a Vaishnavite monastery.

Vyasaraja (1460 to 1539 CE), also known by the names Vyasatirtha, Vyasaraya and Chandrikacharya was a Dvaita scholar and poet. He was the patron saint of Vijayanagara empire. Vyasaraja was received by king Saluva Narasimha at Chandragiri. During Krishna Deva Raya's rule, when Hampi became the empire's capital Vyasaraja was appointed as the Rajaguru. After the death of Krishna Deva Raya, Vyasatirtha continued to advise Achyuta Deva Raya. Vyasaraja's mortal remains buried at Nava Brindavana along with the remains of eight other Madhwa saints.

A flight of steps takes you to the portico and gateway to the enclosure.

The enclosure is bound by fort like stone walls. Builders made sure the religious center was well secured.

A stone's throw away is a Stambha.. not sure what to call it ..Garuda Stambha or Vijaya Stambha. In the background is a hill on the horizon, that's Anjanadri Parvata.

This is the only temple of the enclosure. The structure is aligned to south-west - north-east direction. It has two doors on its sides and a stepped Shikhara over its Garbhagudi. Its outer walls are quite plain except for images of Garuda, Hanuman and floral motifs.

The door frame is graced by Gajalakshmi and a pair of Dwarapala. 

The enclosure is closely packed with narrow paths to move around. On the other side of the temple is a mantapa on a platform and right besides is a flight of steps rising up to a two-storey mantapa.

View of the temple from the base of the Mantapa. Behind the temple is another simple mantapa. Lot of sheltered spaces were created for inmates' convenience. At the center of this picture is a shallow valley and a group of rocks. Few rocks are painted red and white - the cavern formed by the rocks is said to be Sugreeva's cave.

The two storey mantapa is quite similar to the mantapa on Hemkuta hill but much smaller. The mantapa offers a clear view of the slopes, the valley below and the neighboring hills.

This the hillock's peak. Lot of natural shelters created by the rocks. Naturally the caverns here would be home to wildlife like boars, porcupine, bears, and what not. That explains the need for walls around the monastery. Of course, the greater danger would be human beings.

The structural designs are same in their constructions ..be it Hampi, Penukonda, Midigeshi, Mulbagal, or any other place. Its amazing how the buildings across a wide area are same. Standard designs and processes are not modern inventions.

Among his achievements Vyasaraja is known for installing several hundred images of Anjaneya across Karnataka. The two I know of are at Hanumana Kote near Lalguli and Yantroddhara Hanuman at Hampi.

From here, we move on to the King's Balance which is close to Vittala Temple.

Jan 13, 2018

Akka-Tangi Kallugalu ~ Sister Stones, Hampi

Besides man created structures of Hampi there's one popular natural rock formation called Akka-Tangi Kallugalu. This Kannada phrase when translated to English means "elder sister-younger sister stones" or simple called "sister stones." The stones are called so because they seem to be embracing each other. The rocks had formed a upside down V-arch ..this is how they looked originally. The rock on right hand side has a horizontal crack. In March 2011, the rock gave away and split into several parts and collapsed.

February 1996
The collapsed sister ..that's the way of Nature. Everything will undergo changes.

August 2017
Close to this rock formation is a gateway marked as Bheemana Hebbagilu in Google Maps. There's one gateway with the same name close to Kamalapur-Bukkasagara road. So need to check if there are two Bheemana Hebbagilu.

Jan 6, 2018

Kallagasi, Anegundi

August 14, 2017
The second morning at Anegundi I went for a short drive and walk while Pushpa got ready at the home-stay. Barely 300 meters from Anegundi village entrance, I saw this ancient stone structure. A simple mantapa. What seems like a mantapa could be a temple gateway.

A stone sign calls this structure as Kallagasi. Kallu means stone in Kannada. No idea what Gasi means. Actually there are two structures here, one is the mantapa and the other is the door frame in the front.

Also, notice the image of Gajalaxmi on the door frame. Normally Gajalaxmi is present on entrances. So, this could be a gateway to a temple ..but there's no temple in the vicinity. Perhaps next time when I'm here, I'll explore the area beyond the coconut trees.

A closer look at Gajalaxmi.

 The Mantapa is has eight columns of two types, four of each type. Of the farthest columns, the left side one seems incompletely done. Looks like work was abandoned before completion.

Taking a peek at the mantapa roof which comprises of four layers. At the ceiling center is beautiful nine-pointed star with a lotus in full bloom. This definitely is not a simple mantapa, there was something grand planned which never saw came into being.

Taking a closer look at the star and lotus. The sharp lines / angles and the precision of the work is truly amazing. Wish I'd taken a shot standing directly below it. The precision would be better pronounced in that view.

Truly, our ancient builders and sculptures were extraordinary beings. Simple life, high thinking and amazing deeds.

Right opposite Kallagasi is this palm, peaceful looking isn't it? In the background is a rock hill named Ginger hill. A local mentioned that ancient people known as Ginger lived on this hill hence the name. It seems there are ruins of ancient houses. Something very interesting ..another reason to come back here.

Palms are among my favorites. As a child I'd dreamed of living in a desert growing date palm :)

Anegundi . see you again.

Jan 1, 2018