Hampi • Karnataka, Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple - Monolithic Majesty

Amidst the mystical landscapes of Hampi, the Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple stands as a silent tribute to the artistry and spirituality of the Vijayanagara Empire. Characterized by a striking monolithic statue of Ganesha, this sacred space unveils the essence of an era where faith and artistry danced in seamless symphony.

Exquisitely carved, the depiction of Ganesha showcases the deity with a belly reminiscent of a mustard seed, hence the name "Sasivekalu", translating to "mustard seed" in Kannada. Legend tells of Ganesha consuming an abundant feast, after which he used a snake to tie his overfull belly, preventing it from bursting. This tale is captured in the sculpture, where a snake gracefully coils around the deity's midriff.

Each detail of the temple, from delicate ornamentations to age-old inscriptions, speaks of a deep-rooted cultural heritage. In gazing upon this masterpiece, one is transported through time, brushing against the grandeur of the Vijayanagara age and the depth of Indian devotion.

Hampi • Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple ( India, Karnataka )

Hampi • Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple

Hampi • Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple ( India, Karnataka )

Hampi • Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple

Hampi • Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple ( India, Karnataka )

Hampi • Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple

Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple in Hampi: An Architectural and Historical Odyssey


Historical Background

Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage site, stands as a silent testimony to the bygone grandeur of the Vijayanagara Empire. Among its myriad architectural wonders, the Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple holds a distinguished place.


Origins and Dating

Located amidst the ruins of Hampi, the Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple is most renowned for its imposing monolithic statue of Ganesha, standing tall at nearly 2.4 meters. While the exact date of its construction remains elusive, historical records suggest its inception during the 15th century.


Architectural Features

Central to the temple is the depiction of Ganesha seated in the padmasana (lotus) posture. A distinguishing feature of this statue is Ganesha's belly shaped reminiscent of a mustard seed, which in the Kannada language translates to "Sasivekalu." Another noteworthy detail is the presence of a snake coiled around his midriff, a representation laden with symbolism.


Associated Legends

Hindu mythology is replete with tales, and the Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple has its share. A popular legend narrates that Ganesha consumed an excessive amount of food, to the point where he felt his stomach might burst. In a bid to prevent this, he tied a snake around his abdomen, a scene eloquently captured by the temple's sculpture.


Cultural and Historical Significance

Beyond its astounding architectural feat, the Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple is a hub of religious activity. For generations, this shrine has been a pilgrimage spot for many devotees seeking divine intervention and spiritual elevation.


The temple also silently speaks of the zenith of the Vijayanagara Empire, showcasing the skill and finesse of artisans from that era.



India's past is etched in the stones of its monuments. The Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple in Hampi stands as one such structure, narrating tales not just of artistic brilliance but of a rich cultural and historical lineage. For anyone looking to delve deep into Indian history, this temple is an unmissable stop.

Architectural Features of the Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple in Hampi, India


Origin and Context

Hampi, an ancient urban center of the Vijayanagara Empire, stands as a testament to a plethora of architectural and religious structures. Among these is the Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple, a significant piece of this historical landscape.


General Overview

The Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple is primarily renowned for its monolithic statue of Ganesha. Towering at nearly 2.4 meters in height, this depiction is one of the largest representations of the elephant deity in the region.


Distinctive Features


Ganesha's Form: The idol showcases Ganesha seated in a padmasana (lotus) pose. His rotund belly, resembling a mustard seed, has led to the name "Sasivekalu", translating to mustard seed in the Kannada language.

Serpent Around the Waist: A distinctive element of the statue is the snake wrapped around Ganesha's waist. This detail is steeped in symbolism, harking back to a legend where Ganesha is said to have tied a snake around his stomach to prevent it from bursting after overeating.

Sculptural Technique

The art of sculpture in the Vijayanagara Empire was of a high caliber, and the Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple stands as a testament to this. The intricate detailing and well-balanced proportions of the statue speak volumes about the craftsmanship and expertise of artisans of the era.



Hampi, encompassing the Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple, has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1986 under the Group of Monuments at Hampi. This recognition underscores the cultural, historical, and architectural significance of the site.



The Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple is not only an embodiment of Hampi's architectural grandeur but also stands as a reflection of India's rich cultural and religious tapestry. Its distinctive attributes and world heritage status make it an essential point of interest for anyone keen on Indian architecture and history.

Monument profile
Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple
Monument category: Hindu Temple
Monument family: Temple
Monument genre: Religious
Cultural heritage: Hindu
Geographic location: Hampi • Karnataka • India
Construction period: 15th century AD
This monument in Hampi is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1986 and is part of the serial nomination "Group of Monuments at Hampi".

• Links to •

• Dynasties that contributed to the construction of the monument •

• List of videos about Hampi on this site •

Hampi, capital of the Vijayanagar empire • Karnataka, India

• References •

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