The “Hazara Rama” temple is one of the principle monuments in the Royal enclosure of Hampi. It is situated between the Royal residential enclosure and the ceremonial enclosure. It is believed to be built in 15th century under the Royal patronage of King Devaraya I. The temple is dedicated to Lord Rama. The name ‘Hazara Rama’ means ‘Thousand Ramas’. The name “Hazara Rama” might probably have come from the extensive carvings from the legend Ramayana on the walls of this temple.
|Front view of Hazara Rama temple - Hampi|
The exterior of the compound wall is also intricately carved with scenes of a procession containing horses, elephants, men and women in festival attire. They have been depicted as proceeding towards a central figure. This is the depiction of the famous festival in Karnataka namely – Mahanavami or Dushera. The procession on the wall is shown as ending near a raised platform where the King is seated. This is the typical depiction of the Mahanavami procession and the platform where the King is seated is known as the “Mahanavami Dibba”. Interestingly the original Mahanavami Dibba can also be spotted near the Hazara Rama temple.
|Exterior wall of Hazara Rama temple showing the Mahanavami procession - Hampi|
Following the carved compound wall, one can reach near the entrance of the temple in the East side. The main parts of this temple are Sanctum, vestibule, pillared dance hall with an extensive porch to the North and South.
Just like the compound wall, the walls of the temple are also adorned with rows of carvings depicting different scenes from the epic Ramayana. Ramayana is the story of Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Vishnu. Vishnu is one of the principle deities of Hindu belief and part of the Hindu holy trinity. Experts says that at least 108 scenes from the epic Ramayana has been carved on to the walls of this temple. Being a royal temple, the carvings of Hazara Rama temple is of very high quality.
|The pillared pavilion in front of the sanctum - Hazara Rama temple|
The small pillared pavilion in front of the sanctum is of utmost importance. The four black colored pillars of this pavilion are made of granite. It is a stone which is not found locally. This is a very expensive kind of granite, that was brought from western Karnataka. Around 24 images of Vishnu have been carved on these elegant pillars.
There is also another temple inside the Hazara Rama complex. This is the temple dedicated to Lakshmi and Narasimha. Narasimha is the 4th incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The walls of this shrine as well adorned with many scenes from Ramayana. Especially the episodes depicting the sons of Rama – Lava and Kusha. There are also some scenes depicting Narasimha.
|Lakshmi - Narasimha shrine of Hazara Rama temple complex|
Even if one is conversant with the Indian epics, it is difficult to decode each scene from the temple wall. It is great to take a guide when you visit the Hazara Rama temple.