Tuesday, June 19, 2012



Group photo - our 1st day @ Hampi -
RH of the 'Torana' of Vitthala temple.

 Our visit to Hampi  was  a great experience .The photos and notes we brought with us never  fail to surprise me whenever I go back to them. Trip to Hampi stays deeply etched in  my memory - somewhat like the trip I made to Loch Lomond decades ago.

 During  a recent 'visit' to my HDD, I thought of  doing a series exclusively on the architecture and details of the 'Toranas' of  Hampi's famous temples - not a very widely discussed subject  yet. In our HDD, we have many photos  from which the figures on the facades of these 'Toranas' can be extracted for display and discussion .But, comparatively less for a discussion on the architectural aspects of these 'Toranas'.

 Inside face of 3-storeyed 'Torana' of Malyavanta Raghunatha temple. Main entrance to  temple compound from eastern side, 
glowing in the light of setting sun.

 At Hampi, 'Toranas' are built according to  'Gopuram' style - tall pyramidal several story-ed structure with rectangular base. The top has a barrel vault with  decoration. The structure is often taller than the  temple - thus it comes to the notice of  pilgrims from a distance. Is the height  meant to be a lightning arrester too ?
A typical barrel vault on 'Torana's' top.   
Krishna temple, North gate.

I shall take up Krisna- , Vitthala-, Malyavanta Raghunatha- and Virupaksha temples  to cover 'Toranas' of Hampi. Hope, I  shall come across more details gradually  to enrich my repertoire. The current state of  these 'Toranas' are due to the fact that  brick and stucco construction has suffered major erosion and decay over the centuries - only parts of one 'Torana' at Vitthala  temple, two at  Krisna temples and most of Virupaksha temples' Gopuram are intact. Rest  can be termed  black & white photographers' delight ! But, the details of once-beautiful artwork in stucco are lost.

  Lofty - 52m tall - 9-storyed East Gopuram/'Torana' , 
Virupaksha temple, Hampi.

 Krishna temple was built by King Krishnadeva Raya in 1513 AD as a shrine to an idol of Balagopala (child Krsna) he brought from Udayagiri. Very likely, it was a  monument to commemorate  his successful Orissa campaign. It has three 'Toranas' - East, North & South. Inside face of the East gate has a scene of an army leaving for  battle which  is believed to be associated with King Krishnadeva Raya's Orissa campaign. Among the other two, south 'Torana' is left with  few details. North 'Torana', though not in good shape, offer clear details when viewed from within the temple compound.

  Entrance to Krishna temple, Hampi. The stone structure and parts of only 2 storeys are standing.  Right-hand wall is gone.A small portion of left-hand wall stands. 
Far right - we can see the  barrel vault of north-side 'Torana'.

All these 'Toranas' are built with stone till the  roof-height of the gates' openings - and the decorative portions are  built with brick & stucco . I give here detailed views  of the artwork on East and North 'Toranas' of Krishna temple.

  View of the East-side 'Torana' from the court-yard of 
Krishna temple,Hampi.

 View of the North-side 'Torana' from the court-yard of 
Krishna temple,Hampi.
 (Note - Half of the 3rd storey is gone !)

 View of the South-side 'Torana' from out-side  of 
Krishna temple,Hampi.
 (Note - Top 2 storeys are gone !)

No comments: