This ancient temple is actually a musical instrument


The 5oo-year-old Vijaya Vittala Temple in Hampi, India is supported by granite pillars meant to be played as percussion or wind instruments, transforming the sacred site into a musical instrument. From Classic FM:

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

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

Across the hall, primary plarger pillars are surrounded by seven smaller pillars that each ‘play’ one of the seven notes in the Indian classical music scale. Made of pieces of huge resonant stone, the cluster of musical pillars vary in height and width, in order to produce the different tones.

Vijaya Vittala is only 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 down the steps.

image: Vinayak Kulkarni (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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