Category Archives: Vijayanagara

Vijayanagara art : glimpses from Tadipatri

         The term Tadipatri means palm-leaf. It is a place in the Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh, south of India. Tadipatri is famous for its awesome Vijayanagara temples with their style of art and architecture. Tadipatri came into prominence during Vijayanagara period. It was flourishing village during Chalukyas of Kalyani period. Vijayanagara kingdom was founded in 1336 A.D by brothers Harihara and Bukka when they declared independence from the Delhi Sultanatate. Tadipatri was developed by Nandela Viraraghavaraju. During the rule of Devaraya II Pemmasani chiefs emerged. The earliest member was Pemmasani Thimmanayudu who might have joined Vijayanagara service during Virupaksha period of 1460-85. His three sons were Ramalinganayudu, Yera Thimmanayudu and Chinna Thimmanayudu. The Bugga Ramalingeswara Swamy temple was built by Ramalinganayudu, a shrine of Lord Shiva on the bank of the River Penna, between 1490 and 1509, after he succeeded his father in governance of Yadikisima. He was a notable chief under Krishnadevaraya (1509-29).

       The temple is built of granite, richly carved with the superstructures in brick and stucco. Schist stone has been used like the Hoysala temples.  Schist has been used in the gateways. The temple complexes at Tadipatri are well developed having  a main shrine and a devi shrine each with an open rangamandapa. The main shrines in this temple complex are of Ramalingeswara, Parvati and Lord Rama. The other smaller shrines of Chandesa and Virabhadra are to the north and south of the Ramalingeswara shrine.  Closed  mandapa with porches in cardinal direction is seen in the Ramalingeswara temple. The temple complex has a prakara   with gopurams to the south, west and north. There is a mandapa  having the navagrahas in the north-east and at the south west corner, there is a kalyanamandapa.


Carvings, Ramalingeswara temple, Tadipatri, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. 


Carvings, Ramalingeswara temple, Tadipatri, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. 


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Carvings, Ramalingeswara temple complex, Tadipatri, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. 

       The main shrine stands on adishthana , has a mukhamndapa with porches on south and north sides, antarala and the garbagriha. The temple has rich sculpture in the niches, pillars and walls. The images of Lord Shiva include Kevalamurti in the gopura.  Also images as Sukhasanamurti, Dakshinamurti, Uma-maheswaramurti,Vrsabharudamurti, Natarja,Ardhanarimurti and Bhiksatanamurti. Chandeswara is seen in a small shrine north to the main Ramalingeswara temple. The gopuras depict Parvati seen in sambhaga  adorned with jewellery; the kiritamakuta,chandrakundala, kuchabandha,girdle and purnoruka.  Lord Ganesha is seen in diffrent forms of Sthanakamurti and Nrityamurti  or Dancing Ganesha. He is also  seen as Yanakamurti or the riding form. He is seen as asanamurti or in a seated form.

Temple view, Ramalingeswara temple, Tadipatri, Andhra Pradesh.

    The Ramalingeswara temple has images of Kumara or Lord Murugan (Kartikeya) riding a peacock, standing or in seated position. Goddess Durga is seen depicted in the Gopura in various forms. Lord Brahma, Goddess Saraswati , Surya are also depicted. The saptamatrikas  Brahmi,Vaisnavi,Indrani, Chamunda, Maheswari,Kaumaari and Varahi are seen in the open mandapa. 

    Lord Vishnu is seen seated on adisesa in the Ramalingeswara temple. Lord Vishnu riding on Garuda is depicted at the north gopura of the temple. Goddess Lakshmi is is depicted on the north gopura of the the Ramalingeswara temple. There is a shrine dedicated to the 12th century reformer, Ramanuja. A tall figure in the southern gopura of a noble is of the builder with a tall conical cap and short waist cloth.

Carvings, Ramalingeswara temple, Tadipatri, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. 

          The temples at Tadipatri have upapithas. The wall pattern shows bays and recesses. Doorjambs have two or three  jambs, the broad jamb has salabhanjika sculpture. Ceilings are like a grid with coffers with lotus medallions or a  dome having three tiers and a big pendentive. Bas reliefs are mostly found at Tadipatrit temples. In the niches smaller deity figures have been placed.

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Carvings on ceiling, Ramalingeswara temple, Tadipatri, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. 

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Carvings, North gopura, Ramalingeswara temple, Tadipatri, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. 

Carvings, Ramalingeswara temple, Tadipatri, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. 

           Hoysala artistic  influence is seen in the sculpture;  similar motifs, kirtimukhas, floriate arches etc. There is resemblance in the jewellery depictions too.  Facial features have similar prominent eyeballs and high eyebrows. The art at Tadipatri bears resemblance to the Chennakesava temple at Pushpagiri. The temple depicts contemporary life depicting wrestlers, warriors, shepherds,hunting scenes, monkeys and horses.


Carving of salabhanjika, Ramalingeswara temple, Tadipatri, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. 


References :

  • Temples of Vijayanagara/Jayaprada, V, Delhi : Bharatiya Kala Prakashan, 1998.


All Image attributions




Posted by :

Soma Ghosh




Vitthala temple at Hampi : splendour in stone

           The ruins at Hampi conjure images of an era gone by, of mighty dynasties who once ruled . Such are the vagaries of time. But the splendour of the structures remaining speak volumes of the past and the depict richness of Indian architecture which capture both the ordinary and the cosmic. In Hampi, Hospet in Karnataka’s Bellary district in present day Karnataka, there is a belief that this is the place of Kishkinda of Ramayana.

    Archaeologically speaking, Bellary district has some rock edicts of King Ashoka. Buddhism was prevalent in the region in the first and second centuries A.D. The area has been ruled by Chalukyas of Badami, Rashtrakutas Chalukyas of Kalyani, the Hoysalas and the Yadavas.

    Hampi, however conjures up images of the power and resplendence of the Vijayanagara kings. This empire came to glory after repeated Islamic invasions on South India. Harihara and Bukka from the Sangama dynasty founded the city of Vijayanagara with Hampi as the capital. Other dynasties too ruled over Vijayanagara empire; Saluva,Tulava, and Arivedu. Praudha Deva Raya(1420 – 60 A.D.) Krishnadevaraya(1509 – 1529) and Achyutaraya (1530 – 42 A.D.) are the well known rulers. The monuments, and shrines in Hampi include the Sasiva Kalu Ganesa, Vishnupada shrine, Kadale kalu Ganesa, temples on Hemakuta Hill, Virupaksha temple, manmatha Honda, Eduru Basavanna, Achyutaraya temple, Matanga Parvata, Kodandarama temple, Varaha temple, Siteya saragu, Sugriva’s cave, Kotilinga, Kampabhupa Marga, Hastagiri Ranganatha temple, Vishnu temple, Narasimha temple, Two storied mandapa and King’s balance, Purandara mandapa, and Vishnu temple. The building material used is the granite which abounds in the region. For domed structures and royal buildings stone rubble in mortar was used.



      The most important temple in Hampi is the Vitthala temple dedicated to Vishnu. Other structures include Vitthala Bazaar and Loka Pavani, Kudure Gombe Mandapa, Gejjala Mandapa, siva temple, sri Naraharitirtha Brindavana, talavaraghatta gate, Prasanna narasimha temple, Krishna temple, Narasimha shrine, Badavi Linga uddana, Virabhadra, Chandikeswara temple, Lotus mahal, ruins of zenana enclosure, palace of Vira Harihara, Elephant’s stable, Guard’s house, Parswanatha temple, Ranga temple, Shringarada Habbagilu, Hazaara Ramachandra temple, Saraswati temple,Queen’s bath and many more…!

        The most splendorous temple at Hampi is the Vitthala temple. Vitthala is a form of Lord Vishnu worshipped in Karnataka and Maharashtra.   Vishnu has ten incarnations and sculptural representations are seen carved on various pillars of the temple. It is a huge temple complex and has entrance gateways on three sides. In the middle of the courtyard complex lies the main shrine. This was built before the sixteenth century. Devaraya II  ( 1422-46 A. D.) most probably started the temple. Krishnadevaraya added many structures to it. The east facing temple has garbagriha,antarala,pradakshinapatha,sabhamandapa, mahamandapa, kalyanamandapa, and devi  shrine for Rukmini, consort of Vitthala.The Vahana mandapa is the in the form of a chariot dedicated to Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu.The garbagriha and sabhamandapa are square shaped. The sabhamandapa stands on four central pillars which is set on a raised floor. The mahamandapa stands on 56 pillars.sculpted out of the granite stone elevated on an ornate base decorated with friezes which include horses horses with attendants and smaller shrines with ten incarnations of Vishnu. The ceiling is decorated with lotus and other motifs. The mahamandapa is supposedly having musical pillars.  Pillars supporting the roof is supported by a pillar representing a musical instrument and is constructed as seven minor pillars around a main pillar. Thirty inscriptions have been found in the complex. The gopurams were donated by Chinna devi and Tirumala devi, queens of Krishnadevaraya who built the hundred pillar hall in 1516.


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Vitthala temple, Hampi.

By Harish Aluru (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

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Vitthala temple, Hampi.

By Dineshkannambadi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons


Musical pillars, Hampi.

Pic : Isha Vatsa


         The Kalyanamandapa is an open mandapa standing on 48 pillars having three entrances, towards the southern side of the complex. The pillars depict the Dasavataras, Garuda, Hanuman, dancers and saints.


Kalyanamandapa, Vitthala temple, Hampi.

Pic : Isha Vatsa

     The Uyalamandapa having two entrances is on the southern side which stands on 44 pillars. At the northern end sixteen pillars are raised and a wall has been constructed.

   At north west side the devi shrine, dedicated to the consort of Vitthala is found which has a garbagriha, antarala, sabhamandapa and mukhamandapa. the sabhamandapa has a garbagriha attached to it. The pillars of sabhamandapa has deities on it. the mukhamandapa stands on 16 pillars which have deities on them.

    The Vahana mandapa consists of a chariot- temple dedicated to Garuda, vehicle of Lord Vishnu. this is called vitthala ratha temple. It is believed that the world will end the day the chariot is moved from its place. The ratha is built in Dravidian style of architecture, on a rectangular base decorated with mythical scenes. the ratha has four heavy granite decorative stone wheels attached to it movable on axis shafts. in front the chariot has two elephants giving one the impression that they are pulling the chariot. it is believed that originally there were horses in the place of elephants. Between the elephants there is a ladder leading to the shrine.


Vitthala ratha, Hampi.

From a postcard on Hampi

      On the  southwest side a one hundred pillared hall, Nooru Kamba mandapa made by Krishnadevaraya with entrance towards east, is present.

    Southwest to the Vitthala temple is the Tulapurushandana(King’s Balance) made up of two carved granite pillars with a granite lintel in between which has a stone loop in the centre. Scales were hung on special days and the Raya/king was weighed against gold or precious stones, which were given away in charity.


King’s balance, Hampi.

Pic : Isha Vatsa



References :

Temples of Hampi/K.M Suresh, Bharatiya Kala Prakashan,2003

Hampi : Monumental legacy ,Oxford University Press,2002

Hampi ruins : described and illustrated/A.H Longhurst,1917

Vijayanagara empire : ruins to resurrection, Raghu Rai and Usha Rai,Niyogi books,2014

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh


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