The iconic image of Narasimha at Hampi

The iconic image of Narasimha at Hampi

This is the largest statue in Hampi. Narasimha is sitting on the coil of a giant seven-headed snake called Sesha. The heads of the snake acts as the hood above his head. The god sits in a cross-legged Yoga position with a belt supporting the knees.

Sometimes this is referred as Ugra Narasimha (i.e. Narasimha in its terrifying form). The protruding eyes and the facial expression are the basis for this name.

Narasimha (means half-man’half-lion in local the languages) is on of the ten incarnations (avatar) of Lord Vishnu.

The original statue contained the image of goddess Lakshmi, consort of the god, sitting on his lap. But this statue has been damaged seriously during the raid leading to the fall of Vijayanagara. Even the damaged portion of such a large statue of Lakshmi carved on his lap is missing. Probably it may be laying around in tiny pieces. But the goddess’s hand is visible resting on his back in embracing posture. If you get a chance to go inside this enclosure, it is possible to see the hand of the goddess. Even the nails & the rings on her fingers are so perfectly executed.

Lion face of Lakshmi Narasimha also sometimes called as Unganarasimha (the ferocious Narasimha)

Somehow this single statue alone can demonstrate at the same time how creative and destructive the human mind can be.

The Hindu mythology has a tale of Narasimha’s origin. See the story of Narasimha.

You can reach this spot by the main road. The shrine is located at mid way of the main road that connects the Sacred Center to the Royal Center. About 200 meters south of the Krishna Temple (take the road that runs through the arch) you can spot a small canal crossing the road. An unpaved path at the right side (towards west) leads you to the Narasimha statue and the Badavilinga Temple next to it.

Lakshmi Narasimha, the iconic image of Hampi.

Lakshmi Narasimha, the iconic image of Hampi.

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