VONTIMITTA, ANDHRA PRADESH
Even though this grand temple was built during the 16th century reign of the Cholas, the credit for its construction goes to thieves, not kings. Legend has it that two burglars, Vontudu and Mittudu, were suddenly so overcome by their devotion for Lord Rama that they decided to build a temple for him. Seeing the grandeur and magnificence of the deity’s form, they are said to have turned into stone themselves.
The Vijayanagara architectural style is reflected in the temple’s three gopurams, the 32 pillars of its mandapam and also its garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum). The figures of Rama, Sita and Lakshman you see here have all been carved from a single piece of rock. Unlike other Rama temples, one doesn’t find Hanuman bent at the feet of his Lord. The monkeygod has been given his own shrine.