Krishna Temple

Krishna Temple built of granite consists of a Garbhagriha, an Antarala, an Ardhamandapa, a Sabhamandapa and a Mahamandapa. Krishna Temple was one of the most popular temples at Hampi built by the most famous king Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara Empire.

The Krishna temple is interesting for the numerous sub-shrines it contains. One of these in the south has many stucco figures of Subrahmanya seated on a pea¬cock. The presence of a Subrahmanya shrine in a Krishna temple is rather unique. The three Gopuras of the temple—east, south and north—are much dilapidated. The large east Gopura has only a part of its superstructure existing. Its west face contains many fine stucco figures of warriors with shields and spirited horses and elephants. This probably represents a war-scene connected with the Orissan campaign of Krishnadeva Raya.


Krishnadevaraya, the most famous king of the Vijayanagara dynasty invaded Udayagiri kingdom in Orissa in 1512 A.D., and defeated the Gajapati ruler and brought an image of Krishna as war trophy. He built a temple to house this image at Hampi and it is famous as Krishna temple. He even minted gold coins with portrait of Balakrishna to commemorate this great event. The entire temple is built in the centre of an enclosure which measures 88 and 60 mts in length and breadth respectively. The entire structure is surrounded by a tall prakara wall which opens to the east, north and south.


The Square Garbhagriha is empty now as the original image of Krishna has been removed. It is made out of greenish black granite showing Krishna as a child seated on a pedestal. The doorway is well decorated with Vaishnava dvarapalas on either side and Gajalakshmi on the lintel. The sabhamandapa has four central pillars with relief sculptures of Garuda, Hanuman, Krishna as Kalingamardana etc. The mukhamandapa is an elegant structure with 32 pillars with entrances at north, south and east. These tall and slender pillars have fine sculptures of Vaishnava deities.

One of the pillars in the Ardha-mandapa is noteworthy, as all the ten avataras of Vishnu including the rare form of Kalki are carved on it. Kalki is depicted as a seated figure with a horse's head. The Garbha-griha and Antarala have an ornate and well-finished exterior with fine bas-reliefs.


This large and ornate east-facing temple-complex is built in typical Vijayanagara style. A large open prakara with high walls contains the Svami and Amman sancta and many sub- shrines.

The main sanctum-group contains the usual typical arrangement of an open Maha-mandapa, an Ardha-mandapa and a covered Prakara running round the Garbha-griha and antarala. The sanctum is a three-storied vimana with a circular sikhara, much dilapidated. The Amman shrine is to the north-west of the Svami sanctum, and both have Sala-Sikharas.