The statue of Ugra Narasimha (Narasimha, the ferocious) in Hampe (or Hampi) was erected in the year 1528 AD. This was commissioned by Sri Krisnadeva Raya.

In the year 1565, after the war of  Talikote between Vijayanagara and combined force of Bahamani sultans, tragedy befell on this statue just like most of the monuments in Vijaya Nagara. Today the place goes by the name Hampe or Hampi.

During the 1980s, the Department of Archeology took to some restoration and reconstruction of the statue after excavations revealed many broken pieces of the statue around it.  It was also speculated that the statue depicted Lakshmi Narasimha, instead of Ugra Narasimha as it was believed earlier.

However, there was a court stay order on the restoration (if my memory serves me right), and Lakshmi did not come back  to take her place on Narasimha’s lap. So, to this day, he remains somewhat ‘ferocious’ Narasimha.

Here is a collage showing how the statue looked around 1900 AD, and how it looks today.

Left: Around year 1900 AD. Right: A century later

Left: Around year 1900 AD. Right: A century later

The picture on the left is taken from the book – “A Forgotten Empire – Vijayanagar” by Robert Sewell. The picture on the right is taken from a blogpost on Sampada, by Nagaraj.

-neelanjana