Hampi Krishna Temple

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The next stop on our tour was the Krishna Temple, a large and ornate complex built in 1515 by the Vijayanagara emperor Krishnadevaraya to commemorate his victory over the Gajapati rulers of Orissa and to accommodate a granite icon of the infant Krishna that his armies looted from their fort at Udayagari in modern-day Andhra Pradesh. (The icon is now the Government State Museum of Chennai.)

Built in the Panchayatana style typical of its time, the temple complex was quite impressive, featuring a 25-bay open mandapa and smaller enclosed 9-bay mandapa with side porches and a towered sanctuary surrounded by unlit passageways. But the craftsmanship of the structures in the complex was nothing like as good as in the other temples we’d looked at earlier in the day.

Still, there were a few interesting carvings of various maidens adorning the passageway of the dilapidated gopura (main entrance), which must have looked quite imposing in its prime.

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There were a number of minor shrines near the outer corners of the complex as well as a dual-sanctuaried Devi temple.

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Located about 500 meters south of Hampi, the Krishna temple complex was once the nucleus of the Krishnapura, one of the four quarters in the city’s sacred center. It is also connected to one of the Hampi’s four remaining major bazaar streets, though like the temple itself the concourse has seen much better days and its main surface is now covered by a cultivated field.

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