This rider wears a quilted kazaghand, an armoured tunic specific to the Turkic, Persian and Arabic cavalrymen of the 15th and 16th centuries.

He wears a kuvak turban on his head, a curved dagger like a jambiya or khanjar clasped to his belt, and boots with layered shin guards.

The rhythmic raised contours of his tunic are echoed in the elaborate wavy ripples of the yali's mane and the radiating incisions of his beard.

This remarkable figure clearly represents the Turkic mercenary horsemen employed by the Vijayanagara kings from the mid-15th century onwards. This rider is conjoined with another figure on the other side of the column, in a similar costume, though less elaborately delineated.

The Horseman

The columns of the eastern, northern and southern entrances into the temple's mandapa have horsemen riding rearing yalis, ushering us with a ceremonial welcome. Of these, one of the most interesting is the rider to the right of the main entrance.