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Friday, June 9, 2023

Forgotten History of Hampi: Part 3 – Chakrateertha Kodandaramaswamy Mandira

As we continue exploring various temples in the city of Vijayanagara, we come across some small temples which are not known for their architectural peculiarity but for their religious significance. One such temple which is visited by the people for worship rather than sight-seeing, like the other temples of Hampi, is the Chakrateertha Kodandaramaswamy Mandira


Chakrateertha Kodandaramaswamy Mandira is a small temple found on the banks of river Tungabhadra at the valley point of two hills – Matanga hill and Rishyamukha hill. This temple is believed to have been constructed in the 10th century before the establishment of the Vijayanagara empire, remembering the advent of Rama here as mentioned in the Ramayana (the city of Vijayanagara is referred as Kishkinda, the kingdom of Sugreeva in Ramayana). As it is present in a short space between the river and a hill it was not extended by the emperors of Vijayanagara like other temples, as extension of this particular temple seemed infeasible in the area in which it is residing.

The Chakratheertha Kodandaramaswamy Mandira (below) seen with the Yantrodaraka Hanuman Mandir (above) from the other side of the river, Hampi
The Chakrateertha Kodandaramaswamy Mandira (below) seen with the Yantrodaraka Hanuman Mandir (above) from the other side of the river, Hampi

Chakrateertha Kodandaramaswamy Mandira is believed to have been constructed in the place where Rama after killing Vali promulgated Sugreeva as the king of Kishkinda to the Vaanaras. This murti in this temple has Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Sugreeva carved in a huge rock. It is also believed that the murti in this temple is a svayambu (naturally formed murti).

The murthi of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana in Chakratheertha Kodandaramaswamy Mandira, Hampi
The murti of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana in Chakrateertha Kodandaramaswamy Mandira, Hampi

This temple, though very small, is very celebrated for its religious importance. The steps of river Tungabhadra found in front of this archaic temple are considered to be one of the holiest spots for bath by the pilgrims of Hampi. This place is called Chakrateertha because of the swirls present in the river Tungabhadra at this place. During the rainy season, the level of water in the river elevates drowning the temple and making it impossible for the pilgrims to have a darshan of Sri Rama. During this natural process of the rise of water level every year, the water level of river Tungabhadra is found to be in the feet of the murthi of Sri Rama for one day, marking the cessation of poojas and worship for the rainy season.

Thus among the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara, a number of diminutive temples like the Chakrateertha Kodandaramaswamy Mandira still retain the religious paramountcy of the city of Vijayanagara besides it’s historical importance. We will continue exploring about more such temples of the city in our articles to follow.

(Note: This article first appeared at https://paanchajanya1284.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/vijayangara-the-forgotten-city-part-4-chakratheertha-kodandaramaswamy-mandira/ and is being republished here by the author)

Other parts in this series – Part 1, Part 2

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