Vitthala Temple

Vitthala Temple

BRIEF HISTORY:The Vitthala temple represents the highest achievement of the Vijayanagara style of art and architecture. Though the core of the temple was in existence from the times of Devaraya II (A.D. 1422-46) a substantial portion of the present structure was added under the patronage of Krishnadeva Raya (A.D. 1509-1529). This temple remained under worship till AD. 1565. The temple is built with a spacious courtyard within a walled enclosure with three massive gateways adorned by lofty gopuras in the north, east and south. In the courtyard are located the main shrine, devi shrine, kalyanamantapa, utsavamantapa, a hundred pillared mantapa and a stone ratha.

The main temple, facing east, dedicated to Vitthala, a form of Vishnu, consists of a garbhagriha, an antarala with covered pradakshinapatha, a closed sabhamantapa and an open pillared mahamantapa of cruciform plan. The walls of the shrine and sabhamantapa have ornamental pilasters and deep niches alternately. The superstructure above the shrine is of brick forming a tritala Dravida vimana. The composite pillars of the mahamantapa have rearing animals and clusters of slender pillars, each hewn out of a single granite block. The kalyanamantapa is as ornate as the mahamantapa with an elevated moulded dias located at the centre of the mantapa to perform the marriage ceremony of the god and goddess.

The stone chariot in front of the mahamantapa, provided with a brick superstructure is a reproduction of a processional chariot in wood, with wheels realistically fitted as it could revolve around the axis. This structure is actually a shrine of Garuda. This complex had towards east a bazar with paved broad road flanked by pillared mantapa on either side and there is a rectangular tank towards the eastern end known as Lokapavani with a string of pillared pavillions around.