Architectural Design of Ranga Temple
The Ranga Temple is characteristically small but elegant temple. It was built in east-west orientation. Architecturally significant features of the Ranga Temple are the garbhagriha (sanctum santorium) with a rectangular pedestal, an ardhamantapa and a large eighteen-pillared open porch or mukhamantapa. The superstructure of the sanctum is typical dvitala Dravida vimana. The oblong griva is relieved by pilaster motifs surmounted by panjara units and the finial is mutilated. There is no idol in the sanctum and the pedestal where the idol once resided is also broken. The plinth of the temple at the sanctum and mantapa has conventional mouldings of a pada, kantha, tripatta-kumuda and pattika. There is no uniformity of size, design of the pillars of the front mantapa indicative of its later addition.
This temple also has a tower built above the main shrine. This tower is made up of bricks. The main hall of the temple is located in front of the main shrine. This hall was utilized for art performances, as per some inscriptions found at the site. It houses a huge slab with the image of Hanuman drawn on it. The Ranga Temple is well known for this huge slab. The image of Hanuman will be evident to the visitors in His characteristic alidha posture facing or moving towards north. More specifically, the right hand of Hanuman is raised above His head, His left fist on His thigh and His tail making an arch above Him. As per estimations, this sculpture of Hanuman is as high as three meters. It is important to note that this slab is well preserved in the temple with only the left fist of the Lord being partly damaged. It is also important to note that this slab is the largest ever such slabs found in the Hampi ruins. The typical Vijaynagara Devi shrine with Gajalakshmi in the lintel is considered to be the most interesting shrine of the temple. Characteristically, this shrine is elaborately or highly decorated and is built on a raised Adhishtana. As per estimations, the Adhishtana is about 2.5 meters high. Apart from the main shrine, this temple also has a sub shrine in the vicinity. This shrine is devoid of any tower. The romantic encounters of Lord Krishna are portrayed in the carvings of the main hall in front of this shrine. The entrance to the temple is characteristically huge. It has idols of Vishnu carved on it. This entrance is also characterized by Chaturbhuja Vaishnava dvarapalas.
Ranga Temple also houses an inscription as old as 1545 AD. This inscription belongs to the Sadasivaraya period. It can be defined as a record of the construction of a rangamantapa for the God Madhava by Timmaraju, son of Vallabharaju. This rangamantapa was exclusively utilized for holding dance, vocal and instrumental music concerts in the temple. The pillars of this Rangamantapa are known to have sculptural depictions of Garuda, Vitthala, Surya, Balakrishna, Hanuman and Alwar. The main beam resting across the tops of columns, also called the architrave is adorned by sculptures of Krishna Leela, Vitthala, Srinivasa and episodes of Prahlada, Matsya, Varaha and Narasimha incarnations of Vishnu.
Present Condition of Ranga Temple
Presently, the Ranga Temple is in a dilapidated condition. To surface many more unknown facts about the Ranga, excavations are on its way in the temple.
Nearest airport to Hampi is the Hubli airport. It is located at a distance of about 160km west of Hampi. The Belgaum airport is located further northwest of Hampi at a distance of about 270 km. But flying to Bengaluru and taking the Hampi Express is considered to be a more practical option. Bengaluru is connected with all major cities of India by airlines. Also, Bengaluru has many international connections.
As far as railway is concerned, a direct train connection from far places to Hospet Junction (HPT) is advised. Hampi is connected to Hospet town via buses. Some of the direct trains are the Hampi Express, Amaravathi Express, Garib Nawaz Express, Haripriya Express and the Hyderabad - Kolhapur Express. Ranga Temple is reachable by taking the axial path in front of the Hazara Rama Temple that goes towards the Yellamma Temple or the path that traces the southern wall of the Zenena Enclosure.
Indian Regional Temples
South Indian Temples
North Indian Temples
Vishnu Temples in India