Hampi, the glorious capital of the Vijayanagar Empire is home to many shrines and unusual sculptures, including two unique Ganesha idols.
The 18-ft monolith Kadale Kalu Ganesha is the largest Ganesha statue in Karnataka. It dates back to 1440 AD and a 24-pillared temple was built around the idol later. In 1565, invading troops of the Deccan Sultanate broke the stomach and trunk of the idol, suspecting that it contained hidden jewels. As a result, the split stomach bore a resemblance to the two halves of a gram seed, lending the name by which the statue is known today.
Nearby is the Sasive Kalu Ganesha that gets its name from the likeness of the rounded toes to mustard seeds. This 9-ft high, richly carved Ganesha was built in 1516. Behind the image is an outline of a woman as if she is strapped to Ganesha’s back, symbolizing Parvati as the eternal protector of her son.