Telangana’s newest spiritual tourist attraction – a sprawling 45-acre temple complex, with a 216-foot statue of Ramanujacharya at its center – has a Karnataka connection.
While the four entrances to Sriramanujacarya Samata-kendram are in the form of an ornate Kakatiya-style thoranam, right next to the archways are two “Hampi-rathas”.
These sandstone chariots are inspired by the iconic stone chariot lying in a dilapidated state in the Vijaya-Vittala temple complex at Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in the Vijayanagara district.
However, the ratha of the Sriramanujacarya Samata-kendram has the vimanam, which is missing in the original structure.
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“Hampi ratha is the era of the great style of Vijayanagara temple architecture. But now it appears without the top column. We designed the tower based on some photos from 1856, taken during British rule. Each of the two floats is 31 feet tall,” said DNV Prasad, Pradhana Stapati (Chief Architect) of Sriramanujacarya kendram. DH.
The Hampi-rathas here also have another variant of the original, an image of which can be found on the 50 rupee note.
Instead of two elephants – with their trunks broken – standing guard at the small staircase, a larger elephant stands in front of each chariot at the Samata-kendram.
The pillar structure of the complex’s 108 divya-desams – symbolizing the 108 sacred shrines across the country like Tirupati, Srirangam, Badrinath, Dwaraka – are in the Hoysala architectural style. The black marble stone used for the 468 pillars comes from Rajasthan.
“To build these divya-desams around the Sriramanujacharya statue, we visited all these temples, each with unique architecture and carvings. Each shrine, source pillar and main idols are modeled after the respective temple of origin,” the architect said.
A 50-foot Vijaya-stambham (victory pillar) is erected outside the entrance to the complex, facing the statue. A 77 ton stone was brought from Krishnarajapura near Bengaluru for this purpose, which thinned to 30 tons after casting.
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