Balance - As you explore the city a highly
intriguing spot is the King's Balance. It is
said that in the olden days, the rich Dravidian
kings of the Vijaynagar Dynasty actually used
to be weighed on a giant scale against grain
or gold, which was later distributed to the
poor in the kingdom.
Vitthala Temple - A World Heritage Monument, this temple is
dedicated to Vishnu. It is a rectangular courtyard
surrounded by high walls and was probably built
in mid 15th century. It is the oldest and most
intricately carved with its gopurams and mandapas. The mandapa has 56 excellently
carved slender pillars that can be struck to
produce different musical notes. It has elephants
on the balustrades and horses at the doorway.
The other ceremonial mandapas, though
less finely carved have some interesting carved
pillars, like Krishna hiding in a tree from the gopis. In the courtyard is a beautiful chariot
carved out of granite, with the wheels raised
off the ground so that they can be revolved.
Achyutaraya Temple - Located in isolation
at the foot of the Matanga hill, the temple
is in a poor state of repair. But the scale
of the front gateway is a stark reminder of
its former glory. Continuing north-east towards
the Vittala temple, you climb a rocky path and
come upon a number of small piles of stones.
Couples hoping to conceive visit this site and
put stones as an offering. On becoming parents,
they return to remove the stones.
Rama Temple - The Hazara Rama Temple
was perhaps the king's private temple and contains
some extraordinary carvings and murals both
within and on the outer walls. The outer frescos
show horses, elephants, dancing girls and infantry
in procession, while the inner panels illustrate
individual deities or scenes from the Ramayana.
There is a garuda (hawk-like bird)
with multiple wings, which is the most striking
of them all.
Enclosure - The Durbar Hall, often called
King's Audience, facing north, is the largest
of the structures in the Durbar Area. Built
on a high platform, with a flight of stairs
to reach it, this once gorgeously decorated
hall was burnt down by the enemies in 1565 A.D.
It was a 100-pillared hall, with 10 rows of
wooden pillars, each row containing 10 pillars.
This can be understood from the remnants of
the pillar sockets or peg holes. On the west
end of the basement is seen a stone staircase
which seems to be a later addition. Outside
this hall, to the east, can be seen a monolithic
stone channel, about 12.5 meters long, in which
water was stored. This was obviously meant for
the use of the horses of the nobles who came
to attend the Durbar.
Mahal - Near the Hazara Ram Temple, in
the enclosed area of zenana (women's
quarters), there is a beautiful pavilion called
the Lotus Palace. Legends have it that the women
of the royal family who lived in the nearby
Queens' Palace met within the confines of the
Lotus Palace. Its imposing arches are particularly
fascinating. This palace is a mix of Indo-Islamic
architecture and derives its name from the lotus
bud carved on its domed and vaulted ceiling.