Revealing the art and architecture of Vijayanagara Empire, Vittala Temple Complex is one of the major tourist attractions in Hampi. The complex and its structures embody the pinnacle of Dravidian temple architectural style. The name of the temple ‘Vittala’ itself defines the history behind; Vittala, a form of Lord Vishnu who was worshipped as a prime deity by the local herdsmen of the empire.
Vijay Vittala or simply Vittala Temple is the most famous and popular tourist attraction in Hampi. It was build around 15th Century AD and was expanded several times by succeeding kings of the empire. The temple is constructed in the form of a large complex with compound walls and gateway towers. The entire complex houses several temples, enclosures, pavilions and halls.
Attractions inside Vittala Temple Complex
The iconic Stone Chariot, after which the award winning luxury train Golden Chariot is named and which is also used as the symbol of Karnataka Tourism, lies within the vicinity of Vittala temple complex.
The stone chariot (or Ratha temple) which has rather now become a place of worship. In past times this chariot was known to be as a ‘Garuda’ (lord of eagles- the vehicle of Lord Vishnu) but now this chariot is empty. On the either side of Garuda, there are big Mandapas, with pillars on all sides. The inside halls and temples of campus are carved with a huge collection of intricate sculptures on huge granite pillars.
Yet another outstanding feature of the Vijaya Vittala Temple is the Ranga Mantapa with its 56 musical pillars and 4 open halls. The ornate monolithic pillars inside the maha mantapas (the great halls) with exquisite carvings and sculptures leave the visitors awestruck. One of the mysteries which is yet resolved and which makes these musical pillars, one of the prime places of tourist interest is that they produce music upon tapping.
However unmindful tapings by curious and overzealous visitors have damaged several of these pillars and hence the tapping is now banned. The eastern hall with its pillars sculpted with figures of musician, dancers and drummers is also called musicians hall.
The southern hall of Vittala Temple Complex is dominated by sculptures of Yalis, a mythical creature whereas the series of pillars in Northern hall depict Narsimha, the man-lion incarnation of lord Vishnu slaying Hiranyakashyap. Visitors could also notice sculpture of Prahalada sitting at the base of the pillars in praying stance.
Further inside the temple is the inner sanctum. Interestingly, it does not house any idol. A narrow passageway surrounds the sanctum. On the outer wall of the sanctum is richly decorated the motifs of lotus flower known as kumbha pankajas (lotus flower flows out of a pot).
The other points of tourist interests inside Vittala Temple Complex include the Goddess’s shrine, the Kalayana Mantapa or the ceremonial marriage hall and the 100-pillared hall. The Vittala temple also includes the remains of a town called Vittalapura which was near to this temple complex. The road leading up to the temple complex used to be the market for horse trading ruins of which could still be seen by observant eyes.
How to Reach Vittala Temple Complex
There aretwo ways to reach this prime attraction in Hampi. Visitors could reach the complex by road and. The auto rickshaw from Hampi bus stand cost around INR 40 and they drop visitors directly to the Vittala temple. Visitors could also catch a local bus first from Hampi bus stand to Kamapapura and then from Kamaplapura to Vittala temple. The second way to reach this temple complex is the second is by a walk along the riverbank from Hampi Bazaar.
Entrance Fee for Visiting Vittala Temple Complex
Indian nationals are charged INR 10 as admission fee wheras the foreign visitors are charged US $5 or equivalent in Indian National Rupee.
It is always wise to hold on to your ticket as it is used to enter Zenana Enclosure (Queen’s Bath) in the Royal Centre if you want to do it on same day. The children under fifteen years of age are admitted free of cost.
Video Camera Fee
Pay at the ticket counter Rs25 for use of video camera.
Still Camera Fee
Visitors can use still camera free of cost. However, keep in mind that tripods are not permitted to be used inside the temple complex.
Opening Hours of Vittala Temple Complex
The monument opens from 8.30 in the morning to 5.30 in the evening
Best Time to Visit Vittala Temple Complex
The best photo ops are to be found in the early morning as the temple complex is opened up for visitors. It is also the time when there is less crowd and sightseeing and photography could be done in peace and without much obstructions and cacophony of local tourists that builds up as the day progresses.