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Temples: Eagle Chariot of Hampi

Dr Ujwala Chakradeo

Dr Ujwala ChakradeoOct 04, 2021, 12:31 PM IST

Temples: Eagle Chariot  of Hampi

Eagle Chariot is small but is an example of master construction, and it is beautifully carved. The eagle is Vishnu's vehicle. The eagle  has been aesthetic ally carved on the top of the chariot


Hampi, a village on the banks of the Tungabhadra river near Hospet in Karnataka, is now a village of broken remains of temples. One-time prosperity of the place can be experienced through these relics. The temple of Vitthal is the largest of the temple complex. This is a temple of Vishnu in the form of Vitthal to the northeast of Hampi. King Devaraya II, in the 15th century, started the construction of all these groups of temples. Later in the 16th century, Krishnadevaraya restored the complex of all these temples and built many new ones. All the construction of temple have imprint of Vijaynagar in Dravidian style. All the temples and structures are amazingly beautiful.

Vitthal temple at Hampi is the best example of the fusion of art, science and technology. Singing pillars and eagle chariot in front of the temple are the two marvellous manifestations of vision our ancestors possessed. The eagle chariot and singing pillars are especially worth mentioning, studying and analysing. Music emanates from the pillars of the temple at Hampi, called singing pillars.

The eagle chariot of Hampi must have been moving at some point in time, as all four of its wheels show the marks of friction, proof of the fact that they were spinning and moving.  At present, they are cemented and fixed.

The first impression is that the chariot is made of one single stone. But it is not. It is made of layers of huge blocks of stones. The carvings and details on it are done in such a way that these layers of stones and its joints are not visible. Once in a year, this chariot was used for the procession. 

It is difficult to make stones move easily. Technology and systems which made it possible are worth exploring. 


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