Hey guys, today we are going to look at the Underground Shiva Temple at Hampi. This is considered one of the oldest temples in Hampi and you can see that it is constructed under the ground level. If we go inside the temple, it just keeps getting deeper and deeper and the deepest part contains the main chamber which holds the lingam. This temple was completely buried under the ground for many centuries before it was discovered in 1980s and it was then excavated. There is a reason why this temple is not visited by most tourists, it has water inside almost throughout the year, and locals say there are snakes in the water – this is why no one comes. But let’s go inside and see what we can find in the main chamber. It is also pitch black inside, so I am using my headlamp. This is the main chamber and you can see right away that the original lingam is gone, and a new lingam has been placed. The newer cylindrical structure is merely placed on top of the ancient square base, this is not how ancient lingams look. There are insects crawling on the floor near the lingam, but there is something much more interesting on the ceiling. On the ceiling, we can see a lot of bats hanging upside down. This is a very common sight with many of these ancient temples in India. But this video is not about bats, and we can see a very interesting geometric pattern carved exactly above where the ancient lingam would have once stood. Two concentric circles placed inside a rhombus, which is placed inside a square- Which in turn is again, placed inside a rhombus. These dark stain marks are because of the bats. What must have once been a spectacular temple is now completely in ruins.
Now of course the question is, WHY? Why did ancient builders create this structure under the ground level? Imagine this for a minute, if historians are right, building such a temple would be a monstrous task in ancient times. They would have to dig for a great depth and put these humongous granite base and pillars which would have taken years, and during these years of construction, they would have realized that there would always be water. This is summer time, so there is just a foot of water, but in rainy seasons, you would have a lot more of stagnant water. So in spite of all this, why did they create such a structure underground?
Local historians tell a very interesting story, even some archeologists accept this theory: This temple was created for secret rituals, reserved only for the members of the royal family. The temple is just one end of the underground structure. So where is the other end? The other end is actually situated about half a mile from the Underground Shiva temple, this place is called the “Secret Council Chamber” and here you can see the entrance to this structure, which is again, located underground. This is a very strange underground area made of solid black slabs of stone, you can walk inside and even today, it could serve as an underground bunker. There are several passages, and archeologists have removed the top part of this structure, at a few places. Many intriguing statues of ancient gods have also been unearthed. This is the beauty of India, they had these massive secret underground facilities all over ancient sites.
It seems just like regular ground, all these people are walking, but there are huge underground structures built right below their feet, waiting to be excavated. So, if you were a royal member in ancient times, you could just walk from the underground Shiva temple to here or the other way round, without anyone noticing you.
What we are missing is the actual tunnel which connects the secret council chamber and the Underground Shiva Temple. I hope to find the actual tunnel some day, but until then, this remains just an unconfirmed theory.