Photographer's Note

One of the most magnificent piece of architecture in Hampi, the Vitthala Temple is amazing in beauty & structural architecture. It is one of the rare and best preserved temples in Hampi, dedicated to an avatar of Vishnu. Built around 1513 to 1564 by King Krishna Deva Raya.

Each of the 56 pillars in the temple with four surrounding colonnettes & little lions that form the base of the compound support was carved from a monolith. The pillars with the colonnettes sound a different musical note when tapped. The British thought (& so did we at first) that the colonnettes were hollow. So they cut through a few of them only to find them to be solid.

I had taken the shot from a corner, and sacrificed the view of the entire temple to highlight the columns & the slanted sunlight falling on them. The view is unusual and I have framed it tight. In the WS, I’ve posted a not-so-good photograph of the interiors, just to show the columns & how repeated tappings by hand had blackened portions of them.

Both images are scans from print & run Neat Image to reduce visible noise.

I found this article on this temple by Jan Haag fascinating & beautifully written…hence I’ reproducing it.

“Beyond the Stone Chariot, stands the Vittala Temple, like a three dimensional mandala, like a vision, an illusion or a mirage in the dust and haze of India.
I had never before seen filigree in stone. The temple, for the most part, was a vast wall-less building, crowded with clusters of columns, maybe three, maybe five to a cluster. Each cluster was crowned with a capital of intricate stone work so delicate that I, who have tatted lace with silk thread, thought my work quite crude by comparison. Carved into and around the columns were gods and goddesses, demons, elephants, horses, beasts both mythical and real, peacocks, parrots and plants which flowered with eternal blossoms. The ceiling was coffered and criss-crossed with yet more stone carved lace. The stone itself was a soft gold color, perhaps flecked with mica, as it shimmered in the sun. I stood in a gossamer golden temple made of stone, awestruck.
Someone near me said, though not to me, "Slap the stone." And they did. The columns began to sing. It appeared the columns were tuned like organ pipes. Music could be played upon them. I slapped with the light upward motion I had just seen. A deep rich tone rang in the columned court, evoking even with my light touch, harmonics from its neighbors. Was it middle C? I do not know. I hit again, another column, a higher tone. In and out among the multifaceted columns, I wandered round and round, testing their pitches, dazzled by their beauty. What wizard musician had designed them? Who had gone and left them standing there, dust blown in the blazing sun, beside the river of huge black stones? “

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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