What are the architectural traditions that inspired the architects of Vijayanagara? How did they transform these traditions?

The rulers of Vijayanagara were known for their innovations and beautifully carved in the sphere of architectural traditions.

1. Temple building had a long history in the region where Vijayanagara kingdom came up. Rules very often encouraged temple building as a means of associating themselves with the divine often the deity was explicitly or implicitly identified with the king.

2. In fact, the Vijayanagara kings also claimed to rule on behalf of the God Virupaksha- the guardian royal orders were signed “Shri Virupaksha”.

3. Rulers also indicated their close links with God by using the title “Hindu Suratrana” which meant Hindu Sultan.

4. But Vijayanagara rulers also transformed some traditions.

5. Royal portrait sculpture was now displayed in temple and the king visit to the temples were treated as Important state occasions on which he was accompanied by the Royal Nayakas of the Empire.

6. In terms of temple architecture certain new features were added these included “the Gopurams” or the royal gateways. These gopurams were very tall structures which even dwarfed the towers on the central shrine. It signalled the presence of the temple from a great distance. They were probably a mark of Imperial Authority and power of the king. For EG: Raja Krishnadeva Raya built the eastern gopurams of the Virupaksha temple.

7. Other distinctive textures that were added were the Mandapas or pavilions and long, pillared corridors that often ran around the shrines within the temple complex.

8. Raja Krishnadeva Raya to mark his accession also got a hall built in front the main shrine. This hall was decorated with delicately carved pillars. These halls were used for a variety of deities.

9. A characteristic complexes is the “Chariot Street “that extended from the temple Gopurams in a straight line. These streets were paved with stone slabs and lined with pillared pavilions in which the merchants set up their shops.