Monday, September 17, 2012

Hemakuta Temples, Hampi

Steps leading up to the Hemakuta hills
To the South of the Virupaksha Temple is Hemakuta Hill which contains a cluster of temples mostly ruins. You climb a small flight of stairs to reach the entrance of this temples cluster. Some of these temples with pyramid shaped roofs gives the impression of Jain Temples. In fact most of them are Shiva temples.The view from the top of the hill is breathtaking. A number of temples located on the hills are made in what is called the Trikutachala style. The largest and the most elaborate ones are located on the northern slop of the hill facing the Virupaksha Temple campus. These are in fact one of the oldest clusters of temples in Hampi, much older than the empire itself. The whole area looks more like a gigantic sheet of rock with undulation. 

Entrance Mandapam to the Hemakuta hills temples cluster
Virupaksha Temple as seen from the Hemakuta hills
Boulder formations
Siva Temples with pyramidal structure - above & below
 Further up and a bit south you can spot a pond in the courtyard of a shrine. This shrine called the Mula  Virupaksha temple and is older than the grand Virupaksha temple. The front hall of this whitewashed shrine spots a series of cubical pillars of pre-Vijayanagara style. Interestingly, the porch faces the water body and the steps from the porch lands into the water. This is one of the few shrines in this are that are under active worship.  This is one of the finest spots to witness a Hampi sunrise/sunset.Alas we visited during noon time and hence could witness neither sunrise nor sunset :(  The whole of Hemakuta Hill area is encircled with an ancient fortification. Though broken at many places, you can still make out the boundary line circling the hill.
Approaching the massive two storied southern gateway
Impressive boulder formation
The massive southern gateway
Descending downhill towards Sasivekalu Ganesh Mandapam
When you move further south, you practically get an aerial view of the Sasikavelu Ganesha monolith. At this point you can spot the monumental two storied southern gateway to the hilltop. This area too has a number of temples built in the pre-Vijayanagara  style architecture. Some of them even spots tall monolithic lamp posts in front of it. The exit through the gateway leads you to a short flight of steps carved on the rock surface. This flight of steps brings you to the Sasivekalu Ganesha statue. You can see below front,back and side views of the monolith statue.
See the Snake tied around Ganesha's tummy
Rear side photo of monolith: Does this give an impression of Ganesha sitting on his mother Parvathi's lap
 In Hindu mythology Lord Ganesha (also known as Ganapathi or Vinayaka) is is well known for his food habits. One day he ate so much that his tummy was about to burst. He caught hold of a snake and tied it around his tummy as a belt to save his tummy from bursting.On this statue you can see the snake carved around his tummy. This monolithic statue carved out of a huge boulder measures about 2.4 meters (8 feet). An open pavilion is build around the statue. According to inscriptions found nearby this pavilion was built by a trader from Chandragiri (in present day Andhra Pradesh)in 1506 AD.


  1. Beautiful post about hemakuta temples.

  2. the rocky terrain it is all built on is as fascinating to me as the rock formations themselves. :)

  3. Hi,
    The last story is very funny. He is sitting on his mother and used snake on his tummy.
    The ruin looks like one scean in the adventure movie. Big bedrock or the rock formations etc.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Have a nice week!

  4. Wonderful and interesting shots of Hampi.

  5. Lots of amazing photos of Temples! Very much informative too!

  6. Very informative indeed ......enjoyed the boulder formations....!!
    Thanks ...

  7. A lovely post and it gives an opportunity to see the so far unexplored world:)

  8. Great post as always.
    Beautiful photos from this wonderful place.
    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Stunning architecture and sculptures and most having endured the test of time very well. The boulders are amazing,I like them almost as much as the art!


  10. I love to sit over this Hemakuta hill and watch around. But, There was a drunk sadhu in one of the functioning temples who bothered me. Nice pics btw.


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  12. A very very beautiful post...So well written..Hoping u are doing fine..Been a long time since i dropped by your space..Off now to enjoy all the pics once again :)
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  13. Ram, thank you so much for writing this blog. I've always dreamed of going to India and I feel like I have seen so much of it through your eyes. Your posts always take me on a personal journey and I am so grateful!!

  14. Wow lovely pics. must have been a great experience.


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