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Hazari Rama Temple

This temple for Lord Rama is popularly called "Hazari Rama Temple" or "Hazara Rama Temple" because of the large number of Ramayana panels on the walls. This temple is believed to have been the private place of worship of the Royal family.

Originally, the temple consisted of a sanctum, an ardha mantapa and a pillared hall to which an open porch with tall and elegant pillars was added subsequently. A high wall encloses the entire complex with the main entrances set on the east. To the south is a small doorway, which leads to the Durbar Area. The pillar hall is notable for its unique pillars in black-stone. They are set on a raised stone platform in the middle of the hall. The tall and elegant pillars of the open porch are also worth a second look. The other structures in this temple complex are a shrine for Devi and Utsava Mantapa.

As the name indicates, this temple is famous for its many Ramayana panels. This is the only temple in Hampi where the exterior walls have boldly chiselled bas-reliefs. These bas-reliefs are narrative in nature. The Ramayana epic is carved in detail. Incidents in the story like Dasaratha performing a sacrifice to beget sons, the birth of Rama, his exile into the forest, the abduction of Sita and the ultimate fight between Rama and Ravana are all carved in a vivid manner. In these panels, the story of Rama and through it the triumph of good over evil is brought out. The genesis of Hampi dates back to the age Ramayana when it was the monkey kingdom Kishkindha.

This temple now unused is situated in the royal enclosure of the city and was probably the king's private shrine. The enclosure walls of the temple are exceptional in a way that they are both carved on the outside as well as inside. The outer friezes depict horses, elephants, dancing girls and infantry in procession; the inner panels show scenes from the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. The enclosure wall also has panels on the exterior side. The boldly carved panels are in five horizontal rows, one above the other, representing a procession of elephants with riders and attendants, prancing horses with riders and rider less horses led by grooms, wrestlers and soldiers in procession witnessed by a few seated royal figures. These panels represent symbolically the power of the rulers and the might of their fighting forces paraded annually at the time of the Dusshera festival.

On the wall of the god's sanctum are two rare depictions of Vishnu as the Buddha. Though the temple is small it is a fine example of the skill of Vijayanagara's sculptors. Only master craftsmen can coax filigree and lace out of Deccan stone.

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