The land of ruins-Hampi in the southern Indian state of Karnataka is an astonishing sight in its self. Stretched over a massive 4187 hectares one can see boulders and temple ruins as far as the eyes can see. This place which literally can take days to explore it in entirety finds its spot in the world UNESCO heritage sites due to the enormous amount of heritage value it has.
Hampi in all its glory in 14th century was rightly entitled as the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Built by the Vijayanagara kings and well adorned by them, Hampi now though in ruins has more than 1600 surviving remains which are a delight to explore.
One monument which stands out immediately in the mind when spoken about Hampi is the famed stone chariot. Located outside the Vijaya Vittala temple, this chariot carved out of granite has stood the test of times as well as the brutality of man. Here are some stunning facts about the stone Chariot you’ll be amazed to know.
- Referred to as a stone chariot, in reality it’s not a chariot at all, but a shrine designed and built in shape of a chariot.
- At the first glance the chariot looks like it’s carved out of one big single rock. But it is actually made up of many smaller granites, so well carved and connected together that it’s rather almost impossible to see the joints. That’s the beauty of the ancient architecture.
- Being a shrine, the chariot has no deity inside it. However it was not always so. The temple is dedicated to Garuda the vehicle of god Vishnu. And in fact there used to be a Garud statue over the chariot which was later ruined and hence it stands empty now.
- Counted as one amongst the 3 most famous stone Chariots in India. Legends has it that emperor Krishnadevaraya may have got inspiration from the chariot at the sun temple in Konark (Odissa) and ordered a construction of a similar chariot as a mark of his empires superior craftsmanship.
- The chariot seems to be pulled by two elephant figures. The elephants which seem to be a part of the chariot were not actually always a part of it. They are structures which were placed here much later after the original horse structures were destroyed.
- Myths and legends are very interesting and the stone chariot has its own share of such myths. The villagers around have a strong believe that the world will come to a standstill the day this chariot moves for its place.
- The Indians government in honour of the majesticity of the monument and of Hampi has issued a 50 rupees currency note with an inscription of the stone chariot on it.
There is much more to the stone chariot and to Hampi as well. Know more about the 10 astonishing myths and mysteries about Hampi which will leave you spell bound.
Hampi is a place you have got to visit once in a lifetime and the stone chariot of the Vijaya Vittala temple is a part you shouldn’t miss at all- it stands there as a pride and prestige of Hampi.