VIJAYANAGARA-ARCHITECTURE AND SCULPTURE
The Vijayanagara Empire has contributed immensely in
many fields relevant to the culture of Karnataka. Archaeology and sculpture are
not exempted from this general rule. The empire lasted for almost 300 years during
the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. The
architecture of this period is usually perceived as a continued and evolved
form of the Dravida style. A scholar has described it as “the supremely
passionate flowering of the Dravidian style”. It is also seen as a meaningful
synthesis of the Draivida, Hoysala and Chalukya styles. The rulers of this
dynasty were interested in renovating and enlarging many dilapidated temples of
the past. The Hemakuta temple at Hampi and the Vishnupada at Viziyanagaram in
Andhrapradesh illustrate this point. Even the Lakshmi temple at Melukote and
the Belur Chennakeshava temple belong to this category. These monarchs have
built many temples outside Karnataka also. Consequently they have continued the
regional traditions of those parts and added something of their own. Hence the
temples built by them in their Northern domain (Deccan Andhra and
The rulers from Vijayanagara did not lag behind in building new temples either. Most of their new temples are located in Vijayanagar their glorious Capital now known as Hampi. The vidyAshankara temple in Shringeri, the cintalArAya temple at Tadapatri, kAmAkshi temple at Kanchi, the shiva temple at kuruvatti, pApanAshEshvara temple at Huvina Hadagali and the pApanAshEshvara temple at Lepakshi are some of the important temples built during this period.
The religious and secular structures built by the kings of Vijayanagara at Hampi at various point in its history are described in a separate entry. (Hampi) However mention should be made of the Virupaksha temple, Hajara Rama temple, Vijaya Vittala temple, Kodandarama temple, Malyavanta Raghunatha temple, Kamalamahal, bathing ghats and the Manavami dibba (Manavami mound)
Some of the salient features of the Vijayanagara style of architecture are as follows. They include the religious, military and secular strands:
After the fall of the Empire
many feudatories tried to continue the architectural and sculptural tradition
of Vijayanagar of course with meager resources. The kings and chieftains of
This is a brief introduction to an important topic. Readers are requested to make use of the bibliographical references.
2. ‘Sculpture at Vijayanagar: Iconography and Style’ by Anna Dallapiccola and Anila Verghese, 1998, Manohar Publishers.
and Music in
Gareshilpa’ (Kannada) by Mahadeva C., 2000,
Art’ by Saletore R.N., 1982, Sandeep Prakashan,
6. The Legacy of Chitrasutra - Eight –Sri Pampa Virupaksha temple ... (An article with a number of very good photographs. Please search for chitrastra 8)
8. Grand Pillars at Vijaya Vittala Temple Complex on Flickr - Photo ... (Contains more than sixty photographs of Vijaya Vittala temple and other Hampi ruins)
9. T.S. Satyan, Hampi: The fabled capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, (Directorate of Archaeology and Museums), Govt. of Karnataka, 1995
10. A.H. Longhurst, Hampi Ruins Described and Illustrated, (Laurier Books Ltd., 1998)
11. New Light on Hampi: Recent Research at Vijayanagara, by J.M. Fritz et al., 2001, Performing Arts, Mumbai.
12. ‘Hampi’ by Anila Verghese, 2002, Oxford University Press
13. ‘The Ramachandra Temple at Vijayanagara’ by Anna Libera Dahmann-Dallapiccola, 1992, American Institute of Indian Studies.
14. ‘The political economy of craft production’ by Carla M. Sinopoli, 2003.