There are a number of fascinating heritage sites that hold “Incredible India” true for a tourism campaign for our country. The ingenious technology and architectural marvels of ancient India still stand strong and are no less than the wonders of the world. One such awe-inspiring ancient building doesn’t only have beautiful carvings but has sonorous pillars. We are talking about the Vittala temple of Hampi.
The ancient south Indian temple has 56 musical columns out of which 9 are fully functional and produce melodious music. These are also known as the SaRiGaMa Pillars where Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, are four of the seven musical notes. During the old times, these were played to accompany devotional chants, vocal music, and dance performances.
The Vittala temple was built in the 16th century dedicated to one of the aspects of Lord Vishnu. If you are wondering about the engineering technique, then prepare to get shocked as these pillars are made up of granite and silica. The rock-solid pillars can produce sound just by simple tapping on the surface.
Interestingly, the British refused to believe that solid pillars could produce beautiful music that too resembling different instruments. Therefore, two of the pillars were cut open. To their dismay, there was nothing sonorous inside matching their expectations. The main pillars are carved out of a huge rock and the supporting pillars are cut in varying length and width to produce different sounds.
Many tests have been conducted to determine the technique used in the formation of these pillars including low-frequency ultrasonic testing, impact echo testing, etc. The results showed the stone masons could skillfully discern the sound probability and cut the stone to such sizes and shapes.
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