This ancient temple is actually a musical instrument

The 500-year-old Vijaya Vittala Temple in Hampi, India, is supported by granite pillars intended to be played as percussion or wind instruments, transforming the sacred site into a musical instrument. From classic FM:

The pillars, called SaReGaMa, are so named after the first four notes (svaras) of the standard scale in Indian classical music – similar to the Western Do Re Mi Fa (solfege).

Together they hold up the 15th-century ‘Ranga Mantapa’, a main attraction within the temple complex. It resembled an open pavilion and was most likely used for music and dance.

On the other side of the hall, the primary pillars are surrounded by seven smaller pillars, each of which “plays” one of the seven notes of the Indian classical musical scale. The cluster of musical pillars is made of pieces of huge resonating stone and varies in height and width to produce the different tones.

Vijaya Vittala is just one of a number of musical temples in South India, including others with architectural structures that double as wind instruments and even stairs that are ‘played’ by walking up the stairs.

Image: Vinayak Kulkarni (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Leave a Comment