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Author: B.M. Chandrashekhariah
Place: Hampe, Bellary
Notes from the author:
There is a belief that the Vijaya Vithala Temple at Hampi never had Vithala image installed there and there is a legend which says that God Vithala of Pandharpur refused to accept this temple as his abode and returned to his simple and humble abode as he did not relish this grand, spacious and highly embellished temple. But 23 inscriptions, from the period between 1513 and 1564 and other literary sources reveal that God Vijaya Vithala was worshipped here. Prolugante Tippa, a commander of Devaraya II (1422-46) built the Bhoga mantapa of the temple. Krishnadevaraya himself donated many silver and gold dishes and vessels, his two queens built raya gopuras and donated gold dishes to the temple. This temple is the finest example of Vijayanagar style, has an enclosure 151 meter long and 49 meter wide, and of its three entrance gopuras, the southern is the most embellished. The Amma shrine, Kalyana mantapa, Dolotsava mantapa, 100 pillared mantapa and the famous stone chariot are its other adjuncts. The original small temple must have grown to this huge size due to the influence of Vyasateertha, the Madhwa yathi who was at the capital in the days of Krishnadevaraya and haridasa Purandara and Kanakadasa also belong to this period.
This article provides description of the temple, its mantapas, sculptures, the ‘musical pillars’ and the stone chariot. Dolotsava mantapa to the south-east of the temple, built in 1554 has patches of old paintings on its ceilings. The mantapa at the south-west was built by Krishnadevaraya in 1516. Not far away from the temple, on the banks of the Tungabhadra is the Purandara Mantapa.