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The temple where Pillars play Music !!

Vijaya vithala-Temple of musical pillar

India is renowned for its rich culture and heritage all over the world. From the finest architectural heritage to the natural splendors intriguing people to witness the magic of the place. There are a lot of places in India wrapped in mystery. So is the Vijaya Vittala temple, the most famous and popular tourist attraction in Hampi. If you are an explorer do not miss the sightseeing in Hampi.

Vijaya Vittala Temple: Overview

The Vijaya Vittala or Vittala Temple is known for its splendid temple architecture and unmatched craftsmanship. It was built during the 15th century AD during the reign of King Devaraya II. It stands out as corroboration of Vijayanagara architecture. The temple is dedicated to Vittala, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and is said to be the largest historic structure in the area.

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The complex has several shrines, pavilions, and halls, including Maha Mandapa (main hall), Kalyana Mandapa (marriage hall), Devi Shrine (shrine of Goddess), Utsav Mandapa (festival hall), Ranga Mandapa. Another main attraction is the stone chariot in front of Ranga Mantapa, which is one of the three famous chariots in India. The other two being in Konark and Mahabalipuram. The chariot is actually a shrine dedicated to the Eagle god, Garuda the vehicle of Lord Vishnu.

The Magical Pillars of Maha Mantapa.

The most fascinating and bewitching part of the Vittala temple- the Musical Pillars. The main hall opens out to the maha mandapam which contains 56 musical pillars, 40 of which are regularly disposed to form an aisle. While the remaining 16 pillars form a rectangular court in the center(Rangamandapa). The musical pillars are also known as SAREGAMA pillars, indicating the musical notes emitted by them. The musical notes are produced when the pillars are tapped gently.

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Each main pillar provides support to the ceiling of the Mandapa and is designed as musical instruments. Every main pillar is wrapped by 7 minor pillars and these minor pillars emit different musical notes. Though all are made of the same stone, every note coming out of these pillars vary in their sound quality. They change as per the percussion, string or wind instrument being played.

Actions taken to unveil riddle wrapped in mystery:

The Britishers, being intrigued by this archaeological wonder, wanted to know the reason behind the musical pillar. As a result, they cut two pillars to check their insides but found nothing. The devotees and visitors can still see those pillars in the temple. And sadly, now it is prohibited for tourists to tap on pillars in order to avoid damage. But the history heads and architecture lovers should definitely visit the place to gain sight and delve deep into the history of India.

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Anish Kumar and his colleagues of the Indira Gandhi Center for Atomic Research in Kalpakkam, India, took the first steps to investigate the acoustic characteristics of the musical pillar. Different nondestructive testing techniques such as low-frequency ultrasonic testing, impact echo testing, and in situ metallography were employed on the musical columns of these pillars. Recordings of the generated sound were systematically analyzed.
In situ metallography showed the granite to have typical microstructures, both low-frequency ultrasound and impact-echo testing revealed all the columns to be solid shafts i.e pillars are made of solid granite. From those studies and spectral analysis, the researchers conclude that the pillars’ sounds arise from the flexural mode of vibrations. Next on their agenda is to study how the columns can be excited by just the tap of a finger. 

Timings to visit temple:

Monday to Sunday: 8:30am-5:30pm

Yogita Sahu
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Passionate|Programmer|Writer|Optimistic towards life|Profound love for art
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