Vijaynagar – UPSC GS1

Write a note on the salient features of architecture of the Vijayanagar Empire and highlight its form and influences. (200 Words)

Vijayanagar means ‘city of victory’, this empire constitutes imp chapter in the history of India which ruled AD 1336 to 1672. Vijayanagar empire played a very imp role in the development of temple art and architecture. Architecturally Vijayanagar has synthesis of centuries old Dravidian style and influence of neighboring Islamic style. The Vijayanagar architecture can be classified into four groups-defense, religious, secular and civilian.
Defense architecture:
  • Famous for seven layers fortress wall which enclosed city, agriculture hinterland and forest.
  • Several gateways and square bastion in the wall.
  • Main gate was large and guarded by flanking bastion.
Religious architecture:
  • New style of architecture called Provida style-with large numbers of pillars and piers.
  • Horse was most common inscriptions on pillars.
  • Construction of large Raya Gopuram (gateways) and Kalyanamandap with carved pillars in temple premises.
  • Mandapams were having 100 to 1000 pillars, this mandapams were used for sitting the deity on festivals occasions.
  • The monolithic carving of Nandi
  • ex–Vithalswami and Hazra temples at Hampi, Vardraja and Ekambarnatha temples at Kanchipuram and chidrambram temples.
Secular architecture:
  • Palatial buildings and subsidiary buildings like water palace, well.
  • Public audience hall, horse and elephant stables. these buildings were in Indo-Saracenic¬† in character (Hindu and Muslim features)
  • The Lepakshi Mural Paintings, the technique of which was probably inspired from the Ajanta paintings of Maharashtra under the Vakataka patronage, had a rather secular theme than a religious one.
  • Use of domes, vaults and arches, due to the presence of Muslim architects, accentuating the secular mindset prevalent in the kingdom.
Civilian architecture:
  • Palace complex, Audience hall, pleasure pavilion, secretariat hall, tanks etc.
  • Indo-Islamic in nature as arc with key hollow dome can be seen.
  • Lotus Mahal, Queens bath have octagonal water pavilion.



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