Astonishing musical stone pillars of Vittala temple, Humpi, Karnataka

Musical Stone pillars, Vittala temple,

Carving complicated images of deities, sometimes of life-size ones, etc., out of hard stones  is a difficult and time-consuming job. In innumerable Hindu temples these huge stone images are common and, sometimes, form part of the giant pillars. The artisans, in the past centuries, were so talented and imaginative  they could do wonders with hard stones with their magical wand -  hardened  stone chisel. Have you ever thought or heard  of stone pillars making different musical notes if struck gently? Yes, such  outstanding  stone work  defies our imagination and even  the most jaded and  cynical tourists may stand tongue-tied. These  musical stone pillars are fixed  artistically and aesthetically  in some  temple  halls. It was an  astonishing job making musical pillars out of bare stones whose sound resonating from them would match the series of musical notes.  The Vijayanagara, Chola and Pandiya rulers were great builders of Hindu temples and they had unique musical pillars installed in the mandap of many temples. Such fantasies in architecture of  big and small temples  throw light on the vibrant highly advanced Indian civilization that had been around for more than 2000 years. That   how did the artisans achieve this finesse in stone carvings, a part of fine articulation of eye-catching designs and architecture in temple building is a riddle. 

The musical stone pillars at the Vittala Temple  near  Humpi will never fail to surprise the visitors to this temple in an  isolated area.
The ruins of Hampi, as it is known today, located in a remote near the town Hospet, Karnataka   is a UNESCO recognized heritage site of  vast open museum of history,  stunning architecture and religion. It is spread over an area of more than 40 square km, and is  replete  with temples, palaces, market streets, fortifications, aquatic structures and an abundance of ancient monuments. The giant boulders, carved by the nature's fury, rugged  hills the near-by river and the vistas  make the landscape a perfect tourist spot.
The Vittala Temple in Hampi is  dedicated to Lord Vishu in ''Vittala'' form. The temple's  striking  architecture, unmatched craftsmanship and intricate stone carvings leave the visitors stunned, a true testimony to the genius of artisans of by-gone era. The temple was built in the 15th century during the rule of Devaraya II, a  famous rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire. Krishnadevaraya whose period saw the heyday of the empire.  made several additions to the temple.
Musical Stone pillars, Vittala temple, Hampi
Among the notable features of the Vittala Temple is the musical pillars in the large Ranga Mandapa  that has  56 musical pillars made of hard rock.  Commonly referred to as ''Sa Re Ga Ma'' pillars, the sound produced by the pillars are  similar to the musical notes reminiscent of the  ''Octave''.  The sound is similar to  bells ringing.
Musical stone pillars, Vittala temple, Humpi
Each pillar supports  the ceiling of the mandapa, and the main pillars are designed in the manner of musical instruments. Every main pillar is surrounded by 7 minor pillars that produce  different musical notes when struck delicately. The design and the the way the pillars are made to produce musical sound are a subject of discussion and they baffle the visitors. A study by the earth scientists reveals that the rocks contain certain metallic minerals that may cause a peculiar sound. This means, the builders would have chosen certain types of rocks having metallic ore.Yet another reason is these musical pillars could be hollow cylinders  inside and the size of the outer wall  could be a contributing factor.The less the thickness the better be the sound will be. The pillars here seem to have low decibels because, it is said, that  during the Muslim invasion, they were wantonly charred by the raiders. During the colonial era, the British  wanted to examine the musical pillars and when they cut a couple of pillars, they found  them to be hollow inside.