Jan 27, 2018

King's balance and few temples

August 14, 2017
After a brief visit to the ruins of Vysaraja Matta, I descended the slopes of the granite hillock and took the well trodden footpath towards the King's Balance. On the way I must have seen half a dozen temples, mostly ruins. This is the first one.. a temple with a wide Sabhamantapa and Shikhara.

This temple is quite different compared to the other temples here. Even the columns are not the typical Vijayanagara design. In temples, its unusual to build walls with dressed stones and mud. For some reason builders have built such a wall and also covered it with plaster and paint. Besides nature's forces, it looks like vandals have also wrecked havoc ..their intention would be seeking hidden treasure.

Here's a sweet little temple ..cube-shaped, its Shikhara missing or its incomplete, a proportionate Stambha. Such temples were built by Chalukyas too. Example can be seen at Aihole and Huligyammanakolla. One difference, Chalukyan structures were built of stone bottom to top. They were masters!

This temple is opposite the cube-temple. Typical Vijayanagara style temple. I did not venture inside, it looks neglected after an attempt at reviving it.

A minute's walk away from the third temple is the two-storey gateway to the northern-most part of Hampi. This part of Hampi consists several temples and market streets. Among all the monuments,  Vittala temple complex is the most important because of its musical pillars and the stone chariot. Then there are other smaller temples dedicated to Vishnu and other unknown gods. Notice the two cube-temples on either sides. I think the temples seen so far were built by (rather financed by) rich merchants or noblemen. Those days eminent people contributed to the society in such ways.. building temples, mantapas, shelters for travelers, wells, etc.

This structure is similar to the gateway on Hemakuta hill (near Sasivekalu Ganapati) and Vysraja Matta's Mantapa. This Mantapa's condition is much better compared to other two. Close by ruins of more temples and smaller mantapas. Those days priests had plenty of opportunities here.. the learned section of the society had to take care of the business community and vice versa.

Signatures of families having visited the place. The closer one shows a family of 3 and the farther one is a group of 5. The images depict people paying obeisance by lying down and hands stretched out ..Govinda Govindaaa. Such images are typically seen at temple built by Vijayanagara kings. One place I can recall similar images is at Bhoganandishwara temple at Nandi Halli.

And here's the King's balance ~ Arasana Tulabara. A weighing balance hung from the beam. During special occasions like a birthday or wedding anniversary, the royal family members would donate gold, silver or food grains equal (or more) equal to their body weight. I'm not sure who received the donations...

While we were here, a young Japanese couple came and rested under the tree. They were wondering what this structure was ..what King's balance? I suggested Pushpa to tell them what it is. Unfortunately they spoke little English and we don't know Japanese. Pushpa sat with them and patiently explained and they tried hard to understand. As we know drawings / pictures speak a thousand words.. I joined the group with a piece of paper and pen, made a rough sketch of this structure, hung a balance; put a man in one pan, called it King; put a sack into the other pan, marked it as gold. I think they got the concept of weighing. I'd to stick to words to tell the donation bit.. I'm almost certain they did not catch it. Had there been a signage, tourists will know the significance of such monuments. Its possible there was a signage which somehow went missing. So much for the King's balance.

 As you see there's another temple right beside the balance. Tulabara is normally performed by priests in the presence of some deity. This structure seemed to be a grand one during its heydays ..saying that because its ornamental crown.

Hampi is truly an awe inspiring place. Even after ten more visits, something would've been missed.

From here we went towards Purandara Dasara Mantapa, few minutes walk from here.


Subra Srikant said...

Siddu, Thoroughly enjoyed reading this. So much to see in this inspiring kingdom of Vijayanagara.

Anonymous said...

Were they objects of spirituality or were they mean something else?