temple complex, Lotus Mahal complex, can be highlighted. Suburban
townships (puras) surrounded the large Dravidian temple complexes
containing subsidiary shrines, bazaars, residential areas and tanks applying
the unique hydraulic technologies and skilfully and harmoniously
integrating the town and defence architecture with surrounding landscape.
The remains unearthed in the site delineate both the extent of the
economic prosperity and political status that once existed indicating a
highly developed society.
The Vitthla temple is the most exquisitely ornate structure on the site
and represents the culmination of Vijayanagara temple architecture. It is a
fully developed temple with associated buildings like Kalyana Mandapa
and Utsava Mandapa within a cloistered enclosure pierced with three
entrance Gopurams. In addition to the typical spaces present in
contemporary temples, it boasts of a Garuda shrine fashioned as a granite
ratha and a grand bazaar street. This complex also has a large Pushkarani
(stepped tank) with a Vasantotsava mandapa (ceremonial pavilion at the
centre), wells and a network of water channels.
Another unique feature of temples at Hampi is the wide Chariot
streets flanked by the rows of Pillared Mandapas, introduced when chariot
festivals became an integral part of the rituals. The stone chariot in front of
the temple is also testimony to its religious ritual. Most of the structures at
Hampi are constructed from local granite, burnt bricks and lime mortar.
The stone masonry and lantern roofed post and lintel system were the most
favoured construction technique. The massive fortification walls have
irregular cut size stones with paper joints by filling the core with rubble
masonry without any binding material. The gopuras over the entrances and
the sanctum proper have been constructed with stone and brick. The roofs
have been laid with the heavy thick granite slabs covered with a water
proof course of brick jelly and lime mortar.
Vijayanagara architecture is also known for its adoption of elements of
Indo Islamic Architecture in secular buildings like the Queen’s Bath and
the Elephant Stables, representing a highly evolved multi-religious and
multi-ethnic society. Building activity in Hampi continued over a period
of 200 years reflecting the evolution in the religious and political scenario
as well as the advancements in art and architecture. The city rose to