Indian temple architecture has always been a source of pride for India. Especially the stone antiquities of the South are imprinted with the craftsmanship of ancient artisans. They have been a source of awe and mystery for centuries. The Vijayanagara kingdom, once the richest empire in the world, produced outstanding architecture. This is when many mysterious marvels of Southern Indian temples were created.
The Vittala Temple in Hampi is an ancient structure, which is well known for its architecture and unmatched craftsmanship. The structure was built in the 15th century during the rule of Devaraya II, who was one amongst the rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire. Many portions of the temple were expanded and enhanced by Krishnadevaraya, who was the most famous ruler of the Vijayanagara dynasty.
One of the notable features of the Vittala Temple is the musical pillars. The large Ranga Mandapa is well known for its 56 musical pillars. These pillars are also known as SaReGaMa pillars, which are attributed to the musical notes emerging out of them. The pillars produce musical tones when struck with a thumb. It sounds like bells ringing.
Each pillar provides support to the ceiling of the mandapa, and the main pillars are designed in the manner of musical instruments. Every main pillar is wrapped by 7 minor pillars and these minor pillars emit different musical notes.
When hit with sandalwood sticks, they produced rhythmic sounds close to the Saregama. Although the reason for their design is unknown, they continue to intrigue onlookers for centuries.
The geological analysis of these pillars reveals that the rocks are resonant not only because of the presence of metallic ore but also because of the large amounts of silica.
While the Mughal invaders charred the stone pillars with fire for months, thus reducing its decibels greatly. While during the British era, two of them were cut to check if there was something else producing the sound inside. But they turned out to be hollow.
The ruins of Hampi, as it is known today, is a vast open museum of history, architecture and religion. It is spread over an area of more than 25 square km, and is packed with temples, palaces, market streets, fortifications, aquatic structures and an abundance of ancient monuments. The giant boulders strewn hills and the river that bisects, make the landscape beautiful. It is a perfect tourist spot, and is on the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.