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Lakshmi Narasimha Temple

Lakshmi Narasimha Temple is one of the most prominent temples of Hampi. The temple is renowned for its 6.7 meter monolith statue of Narasimha (an avatar of Lord Vishnu) that is seated on the coil of Adisesha, a seven headed snake. This gigantic stone structure is a major tourist attraction and is visited by a large number of people throughout the year. The statue is located on the southern side of the Hemakuta group of temples that stand on the Hemakuta Hill.

Temple History
As per the official sources, the temple was completed in the year 1528 AD, during the reign of King Krishnadevaraya. Initially, the temple idol had the figure of Goddess Lakshmi on Lord Narasimha’s lap. However, in 1565 AD, the figure of Goddess Lakshmi was wrecked. The idol of Goddess Lakshmi is currently seen at Kamalapura Museum. However, the idol of Narasimha with bulging eyes and delineated mane still attracts a majority of tourists.

The limbs of the Narasimha statue were broken during the attack, and the idol of Lakshmi was separated from that of Narasimha. In the process of destruction, one of the hands of Goddess Lakshmi was broken and even today the broken hand of the Goddess can be seen resting on the back of Narasimha.

Temple Architecture
The idols of Lord Narasimha and Goddess Lakshmi have been carved out from a single boulder. Unlike other architectural patterns of South India, the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple used granite for its construction. However, the granite was not applicable for the delicate filigree work that could be done on schist, a softer material. In order to make up for the absence of intricate designs, the architects decided to build a massive structure.

A brilliant work of architecture, the Lakshmi Narasimha statue is one of the finest existing samples of Vijayanagara style of architecture. The statue with its finely chiseled broad chest and well defined mane is adorned with a beautiful headgear.

The amazingly designed hoods serve as a canopy over Narasimha’s head, and the sculpture is set within a Makara Torana or arch. All these features make the statue an interesting piece of architecture. One of the most interesting features of the statue is the bulging eyes of Narasimha. It is really amazing to note that such a huge sculpture was crafted from a single boulder of granite. The sculpture exhibits the expertise of the craftsmen of that ancient era.
Regardless of whatever form of Narasimha the statue represents, it is undoubtedly the perfect reflection of rich artistic heritage of the Vijayanagara Empire.

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