Hampi Lakshmi Narasimha Monolithic Statue


After our visit to the Krishna Temple, we went to see the magnificent monolithic statue of Lakshmi Narasimha, the Man-Lion incarnation of the Lord Vishnu. Standing at a height of 6.7 meters, the colossal statue is carved in extremely fine detail and although much of it has been mutilated it is one of the most outstanding sculptures in Hampi. Narasimha is seated beneath a multi-headed naga in a yogic position on the giant coils of Adishesha, the sacred guardian snake of Vishnu. His shocking damaged face with protruding eyes and fangs is infused with a hint of melancholy, no doubt because all that remains of his consort Lakshmi, who was originally sat on his left lap, is the right arm she passed around his waist. The hands of the deity have also been hacked off, leaving him with four useless stumps.


According to a nearby inscription, the statue was consecrated by the priest Krishnabhatta at the behest of Krishnadevaraya in 1528. Judging by the walls around it, a temple was probably planned to house the statue but was never built. So the monolith sits in the open air pining for the return of his beloved consort.


Close by the Lakshmi Narasimha statue is a small Shiva temple featuring an enormous three meter stone linga standing on a circular pedestal that is permanently under water. This is called the Badavilinga temple, and according to local lore was commissioned by a poor lady from the locality.

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