May 3, 2014

Anantasayana Gudi

December 23, 2013
After a post-lunch-break at Muhammadan tombs of Kadirampuram, we resume our journey back home. As we were passing through Anantasayana Gudi village, Mohan mama happens to notice a very huge structure behind the rows of houses on the main street. We decided to stopped and check out the structure which is not only massive but also ancient. A short passage connects the main street to a monument, a temple called Anantasayana Gudi this village has been named after the temple itself.

The temple within has a matching gateway, the doorway itself is about 25 feet high. Overall height of the structure could be much taller however, the structure is incomplete. I wonder if a Gopura was on plan but not built.

At the complex entrance is a signage:
An inscription dated to 1524 AD states that the shrine was erected by Krishnadevaraya for the God Anantapadmanabha in the town Sale-Tirumala Maharayapura founded by him in honour of his son. The king appointed priests following Vaikhanasa Agama for conducting worship. Facing north, the temple is of colossal proportions and has a rectangular sanctum with three doorways. The long pedestal within the Garbhagriha was intended for an image of reclining Vishnu. The vaulted dome over the Garbhagriha measures ten meters high and speaks much about the constructional skill of the Vijayanagara craftsman. A smaller minor shrine for devi is situated to the south west in the complex.

temple as seen through the gateway
Looking back at the massive gateway. Try to imagine it with a towering gopura..

The temple is of colossal proportions, no doubt at all. The sabha mantapa is so wide, it must be equally long if not longer.

Lets check the exterior first. Within the complex are two temples, the main temple and a smaller temple, a Kalyan Mantapa and a well. The main temple dominates the complex. Can you notice a person standing at the facing corner? That's Mohan mama, he's barely noticeable.

The smaller temple is a normal sized temple, next to Anantasayana Gudi it looks so small. While the lower half is granite the upper half is brick and mortar.

The lower half i.e. the stonewall has 25 layers of dressed granite blocks over which the massive masonry dome is built. Here are estimated overall dimensions of Anantasayana Gudi:
width = 26m / 84'
length = 45m / 148'
height = 26m / 84'

Side of the dome facing west. Notice a ventilator in the middle. Only two such openings allow entry of light and air to the Garbhagudi at the upper level.

The two appendages seen here must be recent additions to support weak portions of the Sabha Mantapa. There's one such appendage on the other side too. The entire complex measuring 81m (265') x  115m (378') is surrounded by granite walls which seem to be incomplete. Looks of the existing walls suggest that a massive fort like wall was on plan.

Now we turn our attention to the interior.

These pillars stand 18' tall approximately. With 8 rows and 8 columns, the number of pillars turn out to 64. This number reminds me of Sri Krishnadevaraya's 64 pillared tomb near Anegundi. It is said that Krishnadevaraya had excelled in 64 fields of education. It is also the number of squares on a chess board. Was it a standard followed by temple designers and builders?

The temple interior is generally dim, it gets dimmer as you go deeper. The Sabha Mantapa measures approximately 26m (84') wide and 26m (84') long and 18' high. ¾  floor area is granite slabs while the remaining ¼ is brick and mortar. The temple's caretaker, an elderly woman told us the brick mortar is the original design, granite slabs were placed recently.

Three narrow passages connect link the Sabha Mantapa to the Garbha Gudi. As we step into the Garbha Gudi we were surprised, its a wide sanctum, as wide as the Sabha Mantapa itself. Even the stepped deity platform is as wide at the sanctum. I'd not seen anything like this before.

The caretaker told us the deity of  this temple would be a Lord Vishnu in reclining position. She said the the deity might have been shifted to a safer place when Vijayanagara empire was attacked by the Sultanate confederation. Mama connected the dots and said its a possibility that Anatapadmanabha of Vijayanagara.might have landed in Anatapadmanabha temple at Thiruvananthapuram. There's at least one common feature between these two temples- both have three doors to view the deity.

The Garbhagudi is so voluminous, amazing construction. This temple is definitely a fitting abode for a 18' golden deity and the accompanying rituals related paraphernalia.

western end of the dome
eastern end of the dome
The temple's physical dimensions are simply awe inspiring. The temple's size, the gateway and the fort like walls surrounding the complex - these are all indicators that something gloriously grand was planned.. but the future held something else. Vijayanagara was attacked by the combined armies of five Sultanates, the battle at Talikota spelled doom for Vijayanagara. Talking about large unsupported domes, we have one more large dome in Karnataka.and another in Agra; Gol Gumbaz and Taj Mahal. It's possible that builders of Gol Gumbaz picked up construction techniques from Anantasayana Gudi.
completed in
Anantasayana Gudi1524 CE
Gol Gumbaz1656 CE
Taj Mahal1653 CE

A crumbling mantapa and a relatively small stambha for such a grand structure.
The gateway is flanked by raised platforms and columns bearing sculptures of curvy women in niches.

on the right hand side facing the temple
on the left hand side facing the temple
I think Anantasayana Gudi is one of the least visited monuments of Viajaynagara ruins. One must stop to see this amazingly grand building, its worth the time.


Nirdesh Singh said...

Hi Siddeshwar,

This temple is simply colossal! How do you keep discovering such gems? There are not many temples with such domes.

So this village would be on Hospet to Koppal road? and how far from Hospet?


siddeshwar said...

Thank you Nirdesh. Anantasayana Gudi is about 2 kms from Hospet, very close to the railway crossing between Hampi and Hospet. Its hidden behind a rows of houses, easy to miss it. I must say thanks to my uncle, he insisted in checking out this amazing temple.