It is common knowledge that Purandara Dasa (1484-1564) spent a fairly long time in Hampi or Vijayanagar, the capital of the
Purandara Dasa was a close and favourite disciple of Vyasa Raja who was the royal preceptor of six Vijayanagar Emperors, including Krishna Deva Raya (1509-1530). Wherever Vyasa Raja went, Purandara too went.
When at Hampi, Purandara Dasa composed his poems and sang on the glories of Vittala from the Purandara Mantapa located amid the Tungabhadra. He also visited along with Vyasa Raja and others the now ruined Vijaya Vittala or Vittala temple.
This temple has played a major role in the emergence of the Dasa Sahitya and Sangeeta as Purandara Dasa is believed to have taken inspiration from this magnificent structure and the Vittala idol to compose thousands of his songs. (Purandara Dasa is believed to have composed 4,75,000 songs).
The beautiful Vijaya Vittala temple, which had been embellished by several Emperors over a period of time, the Purandara Mantapa nearby, the fast flowing Tungabhadra and the incredible stone chariot that stands in the courtyard of the temple gave Purandara Dasa the necessary inspiration to compose some of his most famous songs.
We could not be too far away from the mark if we said that the process of literary creation for Purandara Dasa commenced from within this temple. What adds strength to this argument is that the temple even today displays evidence of Madhwa influence.
All the Haridasas were Madhwas and so was Purandara Dasa who was a great devotee of Purandara Vittala. Since Pandrapur was several hundred kilometers from Hampi, Purandara Dasa frequented this temple and idolised the Vittala in innumerable compositions.
The temple was originally built in the 15th century and successive kings, including Krishna Deva Raya, Achuta Deva Raya and Aliya Rama Raya have added to the temple’s architecture by adding to the present form.
Even today, we can see the remains of a locality or township called Vittalapura that existed around this temple. Though the township is gone, the ruins are in place. We can also see the influence that Purandara Dasa wielded on the literary and musical field of Vijayanagar when we visit the temple.
The pillared hall of the Vijaya Vittala Temple, which is known all over the world for producing musical notes, was constructed by Udayagiri Thimmaraju, a relative of Aliya Ramaraya and a follower of Sri Vaishnava tradition. Thimmaraju built the pillared hall as per the instructions of his guru Kandade Bhuvanacharya of Srirangam.
There are records to prove that the maha ranga mantapa built by Krishnadevaraya at Virupaksha temple, was taken as a model for constructing this pillared hall.
The pillared hall has scores of sculptures and many of them are dedicated to Narasimha.In one of the pillars we can still see sculpted images of Sri Krishna Leela, Purandara Vittala and Purandara Dasa.
There are many sculptures in this hall that will remind us of the compositions of this great Dasa. The exquisitely carved sculptures of Narasimha reminds us of several compositions where he has written about this God, an avatar of Vishnu.
There are several compositions where Purandara Dasa has referred to
leelas. The sculpture on Kalinga mardhana also reminds us of this Dasa’s
compositions on the incident.
Apart from these carvings, there are a number of inscriptions referring to Vyasa Raja or Vyasa Theertha, the Rajguru.
There is also an inscription in front of the
which is said to
have been built by Vyasa Raja. Yoga
Vyasa Raja stayed in Hampi during his last days and he left the world in 1534. Purandara Dasa was a witness to the entombment of the venerable Vyasa Raja at Nava Brindavana, a few kilometers down the Vijaya Vittala temple.
As far as Purandara Dasa is concerned, he stayed at the Purandara Mantapa after the passing away of Vyasa Raja and composed several hundred devaranamas. He is believed to have passed away at the Purandara Mantapa in 1564.
Apart from the Vijaya Vittala temple, there are several other temples that were the cradle of Haridasa sahitya. Unfortunately, many of those temples have been vandalised and completely destroyed by the Muslim Deccan states in 1565. Only a few like the Vijaya Vittala and Virupaksha, Hazari Rama remain.
The Purandara mantapa today has a small statue of Purandara Dasa with the tamburi, a classical music instrument. The pavilion is used to celebrate many religious festivals even today.
The Vijaya Vittala temple and the stone chariot are major tourist attractions of Hampi. They are situated northeast of Hampi and just opposite the
. village of Anegondi
The road leading to the temple was once a market where horses from Arabia andIt is very fitting that the temple is the venue of the annual Purandara Dasa festival which attracts thousands of music lovers and students.
traded. Even today, we can see the ruins of the market on both the sides of the
road. Interestingly, the temple contains carvings of foreigners selling horses. Portugal