Hampi, recognized as the world UNESCO HERITAGE and #2 in the top 50 places to visit in 2019 stands for its beauty. And the Stone chariot just adds to the pride of Hampi. Hampi tour is incomplete without the a visit to the historic stone chariot.
It is located in the vijaya vittala temple of Hampi. It is located at 11kms from the Virupaksha temple located in Hampi by road. One can also chose to walk . The distance would be 2.5kms
Timings : 8.30 AM to 5.00 PM
Entry fee : Free .
Auto charges : 20rs . One can choose to walk as well.
Photography and videography : Allowed with no charges
The beauty of the chariot is so fascinating that it would be injustice if the details of the architecture is not mentioned. The stone chariot is built in the Dravidian style of architecture. The chariot looks like a single structure but it is in fact it is built by slabs of granite. The base in which the chariot is rested depicts the epic battles in great detail.
History of Stone chariot
The chariot was built by King Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara empire. It was built in 16th century. When king Krishnadevaraya was fighting a battle in oddhisa, he was fascinates by the stone chariot at the sun temple . He then decided to construct a stone chariot in Hampi.
Shravanabelagola, located at a distance of 143 KMS from the capital city of Karnataka, Bengaluru is famous for hosting the tall statue of the Lord Gomateshwara popularly called as Bahubali. Mahamastakabhisheka at Shravanabelagola to the Lord Bahubali revered mainly by Jains is an event that occurs once in 12 years.
About Lord Bahubali:
Lord Bahubali is the first Thirtankara who achieved the salvation. Commonly called as Gommateshwara, he meditated motionless for a year in the standing position. He was born to Rishabhanatha and Sunanda in the Ishvaku dynasty, Having fought with his brother, he felt disgusted and renounced all his powers and also became Digambara(leave all his clothes) and went on to meditating standing for one year.
History of Mahamastakabhisheka at ShravanaBelagola:
The statue of Lord Gomateshwara was built in Shravanabelagola around 981 AD. And the procedure of Mahamstakabhisheka is said to be started in the same year. Thus, the largest festival of the Jain community started more than 1000 years back. Millions of people around the world gather here to witness the festival. The festival is celebrated every 12th year. The Mahamastakabhisheka ended on July 29th 2018 after an extension of months. The festival was supposed to end on 25th February. This is the 88th Mahamastabhisehka performed at Shravanabelagola.
About Mahamastakabhisheka at Shravanabelagola:
Mahamastakabhisheka as the name suggests is the grand festival of anointment of libations to the lord Bahubali. It involves smearing of the Lord Bahubali idol by the contents of 1008 pots carried by the devotees. There are in total of 21 types of Abhishekas done. Below is the list of few of the common types of Abhisheka.
Jalabhisheka ( Anointment of water)
Ksheerabhisheka ( Anointment of milk)
Haldi Abhisheka (Anointment of turmeric powder)
Kesar Abhisheka ( Anointment of Sandalwood paste)
Pushpabhisheka ( Anointment of Flowers)
Missed Mahamastakabhisheka at Shravanabelagola?
Feeling sad for missing out on the biggest festival? No worries. Though you need to another 12 years to witness the festival, attend the Mahamastakabhieskha in Dharmsathala in 2019.
How to Reach Shravanabelagola?
Shravanabelagola is around 147 KMS from the capital city of Karnataka. The place is well connected.
The nearest airport to Shravanabelagola is the Bangalore International airport. From Bangalore Airport, you can hire a cab to Shravanabelagola which is roughly 200 KMS. You can also reach the Bangalore bus stand or city railway station from where there are good number of buses and trains.
There are around 5 trains from Bangalore Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna station and Yeshwantpur railway station.
Buses directly to Shravanabelagola are less in number. However, you can catch the Hassan bus and get down at Hirisave from where Shravanabelagola is just 18 KMS. From Hirisave, there are enough local connectivity and also buses. From Shravanabelagola bus stand, the temple is clearly visible and walkable.
By Own transport:
Travelling through the own transport is one of the best option. Travel in the Bangalore – Mangalore Highway and take a deviation to the left at Hirisave.
.It was long pending to Visit Lepakshi temple – Veerabhadra swamy temple : at least from one year. We finally had an opportunity to visit the place and if I have to describe the place Lepakshi, I would say a place of great importance in architecture and also to the great epic Ramayana. Located at just around 120 KMS from Bangalore, we decided to make it a one-day trip to Lepakshi.
We started from Bangalore around 8 AM after an early breakfast and reached Lepakshi in around 2 hours. By 11 AM or around 11:15 AM, we entered the temple. As we entered the temple, I went looking for a guide. After my visit to Halebidu, I have realized one thing very clearly: for historical places a guide is a must and I was proven right again this time. Within seconds of our hunt, we got a guide named Virupanna(co-incidentally Virupanna is also the name of the person who built the temple). We asked him the fees and he replied with a sweet smile ‘We do not demand anything as fees. Any amount you give is fine’. We happily agreed and he started his explanation of the temple. Although the explanation of the temple is very much difficult to pen down, I try to put the most important things which seemed as wonders to me and my friends.
Wonder 1: Sita’s Foot mark
Since the crowd moving in the direction was clockwise, he chose us to take anti-clockwise. Due to this, the first wonder we saw was the foot marks of Sita Devi and the continuous flow of water coming from the foot mark. There is a story related to this and I have pen down in the 2 stories section.
Wonder 2: Half constructed Kalyana Mantapa
As he progressed, he took us to the Kalyana Mantapa where the architects depicted the arrangements of the marriage of Shiva and Parvati. The Kalyana mantapa has many pillars and on each pillar one of the god has been depicted indicated their presence at the marriage. We noticed the Kalyana Mantapa did not have any roof only after Virupanna told us. The reason why the Kalayana Mantapa is left without roof comes in the story 2 which is explained below.
Wonder 3: Shivalinga guarded by Hooded Snake
As we came at the backside of the temple, we saw a huge hooded snake guarding the Shivalinga. The story behind this is what made me call this as a wonder. The architect came hungry to his mother who was cooking. The kitchen is exactly opposite to this wonder created. He approached the kitchen and asked his mother to serve him food. As the food was not ready, his mother answered him that the food isn’t ready and would need around 1 hour. The architect came out disappointed but to divert his mind from hunger and also thinking not to waste 1 hour of time, he created the hooded snake in that one hour. The snake covers the Shiva linga in the center. As the mother finished her preparation, she came out to call her son for lunch and was taken aback in shock looking at the creation of her son in such a short span of time. Due to this, the Hooded snake has a crack in the right side. It is said that it is caused due to the matru drusthi.
Wonder 4: The hanging pillar
As we came back to close to the entrance of the temple, we saw what is famously known as Hanging pillar. There are 873 pillars in the entire veerabhadra swamy temple. However, what makes this pillar stand apart is that the pillar is hanging. Meaning the pillar has no base. The pillar is not grounded completely. The gap between the ground and the pillar is clearly visible and we demonstrated moving a hand-kerchief beneath the pillar like every other visitor. You can watch the video below.
We were yet to come out of the amazement of the hanging pillar and Virupanna told us a mesmerizing story. He said the entire temple is based on this hanging pillar. the temple was in 1530. However, in the year 1902, the British came here, unable to control the curiosity wanted to test the pillar. They tried to move the pillar a bit and as the pillar moved slightly, they noticed the other pillars which were straight tilted as shown in the below pic. With an apprehension that moving this pillar might cause a breakdown of the entire temple, they immediately stopped their experiment.
Wonder 5: Nandi
If you are going to Lepakshi from Bangalore by road, you would see a huge Nandi 1 KM before the Lepakshi temple. The Nandi here is the biggest monolithic Nandi in India. Built with a dimension of 27 feet Length and 15 feet height, Nandi is undoubtedly a wonder. You also notice the Nandi is slightly tilted in the direction of temple Veerabhadra temple i.e. Lepakshi temple. Just few years back, if you would stand near the right ear of the Nandi and look in the direction of the face of Nandi, you would see the Shivalinga horded with a serpent which is nothing but our wonder 3.
Wonder 6: Building of temple
Another wonder is that the entire temple is built on a single stone. The stone was in the shape of tortoise. There is no basement for the entire temple. Hence you can see that the walls here are inter-locked so as to provide support to themselves.
Now let us move to the 2 stories related to Lepakshi
Two Stories that define Lepakshi:
The bird Jatayu was fighting with the Ravana when Ravana tried to abduct Sita devi. Ravana killed one of the wings of the bird Jatayu due to which the bird fell down. Seeing the struggle of the bird, Sita devi put her foot on the rock and the water started flowing helping the bird Jatayu to drink water. in the meantime, Lord Ram came to the place and after hearing the story said ‘Le Pakshi’ which translates to get up bird and so came the name.
There is another legend behind the name Lepakshi. Nirupanna, the treasurer of the Penukonda region built the The Veerabhadra temple. Several ministers complained to the King accusing that Nirupanna is wasting the money on building the temple. Agitated with this news, King ordered to make the Nirupanna blind. As Nirupanna heard the news, he decided to punish himself rather than being humiliated in the Kingdom. He pulled out his eyes from his own hands and thrown on one of the wall. In the early 20th century
The blood marks can be seen on the wall. In the early 20th century, British conducted a test and certified it was the actual blood of a human being thus verifying the story. Since then, the place came to known as Lepa – Akshi meaning a place of blinded eye.
The construction of the temple was almost done and only the roof of the Kalyana Mantapa was pending. As Nirupanna became blind, the construction was stopped completely and this is why the Kalyana Mantapa doesn’t have a roof till today.
Other Small Attractions:
Apart from these, there are many noticeable work in the entire architecture of the temple. We managed to capture few.
Located at around 120 KMS from Bangalore, Lepakshi is a one-day trip from the city Bengaluru.
The nearest airport is Bengaluru International Airport. It is around 100 KMS from the airport. One has to hire a taxi to reach this place from Bangalore.
The nearest station to Lepakshi is Hindapur which is around 14 KMS from Lepakshi. From Hindapur, There are frequent buses to Bangalore and one can board these buses and get down at Lepakshi
There are plenty of buses reaching this place from Bangalore. Board any Hindapur bus and you would be in front of the temple in just a couple of hours.
As always, going by own vehicle is always the available option. One has to travel around 100 KMS on Bangalore Hyderabad National highway and take a left just after Bagepalli.