Monday, May 2, 2011

Hampi

 "The city of Vijayanagara is such that the pupil of the eye has never seen a place like it, and the ear of intelligence has never been informed that there existed anything equal to it in the world"
(Abdul Razzaq - Persian Traveller 1443 AD)


I love Hampi. The ruins, the stones, the surrounding hills tells their stories. They tells the rise and fall of Kishkindha. They sing the songs of mighty Vijayanagar Kings and of Krishna Dev Raya. They cry the irreversible loss of Talikota.

This is Pampa Kshetra and Kishkindha, the empire of mighty Baali. Here on Maalyavant Hill, Lord Ram spend rainy season with brother Lakshman in a cave. Here Hanuman and Sugreeva met them.

On this side of river TungaBhadra are Matang, Gandhamaadan and Maalyavant Hills, across the river on the side of Anegundi are Rishimukh (Rishyamuk) and Kishkindha hills.

These all hills are very sacred and found mention in many ancient sacred Hindu texts particularly Ramayana.

Here Harihara and Bukka Raya laid the foundation of an empire to protect the culture in the guidance of Madhvacharya or Vidyaranya. This empire continued for about 250 years.

The war of Talikota in January, 1565 AD, changed the beautiful and prosperous Hampi into a ruined city.

The victorious Sultans of Bijapur, Bidar, Berar, Ahmednagar and Golcunda ravaged it for six months to turn it into a Ghost Town. Those who could run away survived, all othere were killed or captured. The entire city was torched.

"...and the four kings of moores (sultans of Bidar, Bijapur, Golconda and Ahmednagar) entered city of Vijayanagar with great triumph and there they remaind six months, searching under houses and in all places for money and other things that were hidden, and then they departed to their own kingdoms"
(Cesare Frederici - Italian Traveller 1567 AD)

With the fall of Vijayanagar Kingdom, the last main citadel of Hindu Empire fall.

It was the Vijayanagar, which protected the temples and culture of South India. After the fall, the descendents took the charge to protect these for another century from their bastions of Penukonda and Chandragiri, before giving the baton to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

After the loss of Talikota, the Hampi, once the prosperous capital of mighty Vijayanagar empire went into oblivion.

".....The enemy had come to destroy and they carried out their objects relentlessly... Nothing seemed to escape them. They set fire to shops and houses and smashed the exquisite stone sculptures in the temples. With fire and sword, with crowbars and axes, they carried on day after day their work of destruction. Never perhaps in the history of the world has such havoc been wrought, and wrought so suddenly, on so splendid a city; teeming with a wealthy and industrious in the full plentitude of prosperity one day, and on the next seized, pillaged and reduced to ruins, amid scenes of savage massacre and horrors beggaring description."

~ A Forgotten Empire by Robert Sewell.

It was a ghost town after the war of Talikota.

Only in 18th and 19th century some British explorers and civil officers started working to find out details about Hampi.

The more I read about this place, the more I got fascinated.

"The Forgotten Empire" a book written by Robert Sewell is one of the very good books which gives light on the Vijayanagar empire.

Yes, it is a forgotten empire. Why?

Because, We dont know about this.....Perhaps because we dont want to know about this.

"A nation which forgets its history has no future" said Winston Churchill.

We know Rome, we appreciate the ancient Roman buildings and architecture. This is good.

But alas we have forgotten the Hampi.

"...the size of the city I do not write here, because it can not be seen from one spot, but I climbed a hill whence I could see a great part of it"
(Domingo Paes - Portuguese Traveller 1520 AD)

Krishna Dev Raya was the most powerful king of the Vijayanagar. About him the Portuguse Traveller Domingo Paes (1520-21) writes...

"...the King is accustomed to drink everyday three quarter pint of oil of gingelly before daylight and anoints himself all over with the same oil; he covers his loins with a small cloth and takes in his arms great weights made of earthen ware and then taking a sword, he excercises himself with it till he has sweated out all the oil and then he wrestles with one of the wrestlers. After this labour he mounts a horse and gallops about the plain in one direction and another till dawn, foor he does this all before daybreak. Then he goes to wash himself and after he is washed he gos to where his pagoda is inside the palace and makes his orisons and ceremonies according to custom. Thence he goes to a building made in the shape of a porch without walls, which has many pillars hung with cloths right up to the top, and with the walls handsomely painted; it has on each sidetwo figures of women very well made. In such a building he despatches his work with those men who bear office in his kingdom and govern his cities;and his favourite talk with them. The greatest favourite is an old man called Temeresea he commands the whole household and to him all the great lords act as to the King."

April 22, friday was holiday so a long weekend. It gave me an oppertunity to visit Hampi again and refresh the memories.

This was my third trip to Hampi.

First trip was in 2003 with Pravin, it was a weekend trip.

Second was in 2004, it was a short trip with Ravi Kumar, Anil and Pundareeka.

This third trip, I scheduled for three days. I was accompanied with friend Saroj.

Hampi is located in the Hospet Talluk of Bellary District of north Karnatka. There are direct trains to Hospet from Bangalore, Hyderabad and many other stations. Hospet is also a convenient place to stay. Hampi is about 14 Kms from Hospet. A lot of auto/buses etc. are available.

From Bangalore/Hyderabad, Buses are also available.These places are about 360 KMs from Hampi.

Hampi ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The ruins of the empire is spread over the area of about 35 sq km.

The area is simply stunning and one will be in awe of the millions of boulders surrounding the area. Within this landscape lies an oasis with lush palm, banana, and mango trees nestled near the river. Hampi is a great place to spend a few days wandering around and discovering the rich, vibrant history.

The name Hampi is evolved from Pampa, the ancient name of the river Tungabhadra. Also Pampa is the daughter of Bhramha, the Creator. She was a devoted worshiper of Shiva. Impressed by her dedication Shiva offered her a boon and she opted to marry him! The place thus came to be known as Pampakshetra and Shiva as Pampapati.

It is an ideal spot for people who are interested in history.

Train from Bangalore reached Hospet at around 7 AM. Now many good hotels are at Hospet. During my first visit, there were not so many.

After getting alighted, we walked about a KM and then took a room at Hotel Siddhartha Residency. Hotel is good and is equipped with a restaurent.

We had three days at disposal, so plan was like this:

Day 1: Take an auto for the day and cover the Hampi as much as possible.
Day 2: Morning half an auto trip to Anegundi (across the river TungaBhadra) and second half at TungaBhadra Dam.
Day3: Another visit to Hampi and the Archaelogical Museum at Kamlaapura.

Day 1
We hired an auto for the day. It was off season (best time to visit Hampi is November to February, but its very crowded then). So we negotiated for about Rs 650/-. You can bargain further. Except November to February, it is a off season as its quite hot otherwise.

The first stop was Virupaksha Temple.

Virupaksha Temple is also known as the PampaPati temple, it is a Shiva temple situated in the Hampi Bazaar. It predates the founding of the Vijayanagar empire. The temple has a high tower (Gipuram) at its entrance. Apart from Shiva, the temple complex also contains shrines of the goddesses Bhuvaneshwari and Pampa.

The inner Gopuram is said to be constructed by Krishnadev Raya.

From the courtyard one can see a glimpse of temples at Hemkoot Hills.

I went to temple and prayed to Lord Shambhu,the master of all!

You are the sun, the moon, the air, the fire, the water, the sky (ether/space), and the earth (the five elements or `bhuta's). You are the Self which is omnipresent . Thus people describe in words every attribute as yours . On the other hand, I do not know any fundamental principle or thing or substance, which you are not!
(Shiv Mahiman Strotram Shloka 26)

The two big chariots infront of the temple, greets the visitors.

The inside courtyard is beautifully decorated with carvings and the roof is adorened with paintings.

Our next stop was Hemkuta Hills.

The Hemakuta Hill in Hampi is the place, where Shiva did his penance before marrying Pampa. On Shiva’s marriage with Pampa, Gods from the heaven showered gold on the place. This hill in Hampi is called Heamakuta, literally means heap of gold.

Hemkuta Hills are full of temples. The first attraction here is the temple of Kadalekalu Ganesha. The belly of this statue resembles a Bengal Gram (Kadalekalu, in local language) and hence the name.

A sanctum is built around the statue. The open hall constructed by unusually slender and tall pillars. Each of them is highly ornate with different themes.

This 4.5 meters (15 feet) tall statue is one among the largest sculptures in Hampi. From here the view of Hampi and surrounding hills is just superb!

We proceeded further and roamed on this hill for more than an hour. Lord Anshumaan was glowing with great vigour but it did not stopped us in our exploration.

A number of temples located here are made in "Trikutachala" style. That is, three shrines positioned perpendicular to the next face a common central hall. These are in fact one of the oldest clusters of temples in Hampi, much older than the empire itself.

Further up there is a pond in the courtyard of a shrine. This shrine called the Mula (the original) Virupaksha temple, which is older than the grand Virupaksha temple. This is one of the few shrines in this area that are under worship.

Just behind this is a tiny chamber like shrine with a pyramid roof. A Hanuman image is installed inside the shrine. This is said to be one of the finest spots to witness a Hampi sunrise/sunset.

When we moved further up, we can spot the two storied southern gateway to the hilltop. This area too has a number of temples built in the pre-Vijayanagara style architecture. Some of them even spots tall monolithic lamp posts inform of it. The exit through the gateway leads you to a short flight of steps carved on the rock surface. This flight of steps brings you to the Sasivekalu Ganesha statue.

One can easily spend a couple of hours hang around and check out various movements on this hill top. Though located at the very core of Hampi, the relative calm of the place is a pleasant surprise.

Initial part of the hill is quite dirty and our authorities and locals should take care of this to preserve this godly place.

We descended slowly from the Hemkuta Hills and proceeded towards Sasivekalu (Mustard) Ganesha nearby. On this statue a snake has been carved around the tummy of the Lord. This monolithic statue carved out of a huge boulder measures about 2.4 meters (8 feet). An open pavillion is build around the statue. According to inscriptions found nearby this pavilion was built by a trader from Chandragiri in 1506 AD, in memory of one of the Vijayanagara king – Narasimha II (1491-1505 AD).

Hampi, can be witnessed by a person as an epitome of human imaginations carved out in stones.These stones, once a play tools of brave Baali and Sugreeva clan were so finely worked upon by the artisans!!

From here we went to Krishna Temple. This was constructed by Krishna Deva Raya in 1513 AD to mark his victory over Kalinga (Utkala or Orissa).

The idol of Krishna was brought from Udayagiri in present day Orissa. This idol is now placed in the state museum at Chennai. A huge slab installed inside the courtyard of the temple states the story of this temple and the conquest of Utkala (Kalinga or Orissa).

Near the west gate of the temple campus you can spot a narrow passage leading to a large rectangular building. Made in Islamic style architecture this was probably a granary attached to the temple.

The entrances to the temple hall flanged with impressive carvings. Many small shrines and pillared halls adorn the temple compound. The temple kitchen is located at the south east of the main shrine. The main tower at the east is an impressive sight with numerous carvings on it. One can see the carvings of the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu in this temple.

The main road to Hampi passes through the temple campus. You can spot a small pavilion with a rectangular stone container in front of the temple across the road. This was used to store grains for the ritual purpose in the temple festivals.

There is huge Krishna Bazar infront of the temple and Pushkarni.

Though after great efforts of ASI, the temples in Hampi are slowly becomg unable to bear the brunt of time.

Nearby is the monolith Idol of Lakshmi Narasimha. The idol of Goddess Lakshmi is missing now but her right hand can still be seen. Next to this is a huge Shiva Lingam, called as "Badwa Linga" said to be established by a poor lady.

Furthere there is Chandikesvara Temple. This temple is especially notable for its pillared front hall. The main hall is decorated with many pillars; most of them are richly carved with Vaishnava themes.

Further down on road is Uddana Veerabhadra Temple.
Taking refuge in Coconut water, we went further on main road to Underground Shiva Temple.

This temple was built below the ground level. Hence almost all the time the sanctum and the core parts of the temple are under water, restricting entry to the inner areas. It has been believed that this is one of the oldest temples in Hampi.

A series of steps along the axis of the tower and the sanctum leads to the inner part of the temple. The main hall in front of the shrine is huge with massive cubical pillars. Depending upon the water level you may be able to proceed to the sanctum area.

There is a beautiful lawn built around the temple.

Next stop was Dandanaik's enclosure, Mohammaden watch tower, Zanana Enclosure, Mahanavami Dibba and Royal enclosures.

Over looking the Noble Men’s Quarter, the primary intent of the Muslim watchtower was to guard the DandaNaik’s Enclosure. This is the first structure you would notice at the DandaNaik’s Enclosure on approaching from the Underground Shiva Temple.

DandaNaik’s Enclosure area may be split into three sections. The northwestern area that houses the Mohammadan Watch Tower, the Mosque, the Band Tower, the seat of DandaNaik and the Shiva temple just outside of it.

The northeast area houses the palace base of Vira Harihara; And the southeast section that is popularly known as the Mint area.

Some circular basements here were the graneries.

Just ahead of these are Royal enclosures and Mahanavami Dibba.

What remains of the erstwhile palaces are at the best grand plinths and ornate foundations. About half a dozen structures remains in the Royal area are designated as the basement of palaces. A few of them are in the DandaNaik’s Enclosure area, one opposite to the Mahanavami Dibba , another one believed to be of the queen’s palace inside the Zenana Enclosure and a couple of smaller ones are located near the Octagonal Bath.

Most of these have one thing in common, the style of the bases. Typically the basements of palaces are multi-cornered multi-layered with elephant balustrades at the entrance.

Infront of the entrance to the Mohammaden Watch Tower, there are "NobleMen's Quarters. Though now only basement has left. The ruins of the foundations spread out over a valley among the foot of small rocky hills. Most of the residential quarters are rectangular in shape.

The main structure, we noticed in the Royal enclosures is, the Mahanavami Dibba. It is the tallest structure in the area. The whole structure is made as a giant square structure in three layers.

There are mainly two stairways to reach the top. The front one (east facing) is highly decorated on either sides with carvings of elephants, horses etc. On the top there is nothing special to see except the great views on the campus around it. At the back of the platform a twin staircase is located. Probably this was used as a service staircase during the ceremonies.

King Krishnadevaraya constructed this. He used this platform to watch the army march-pasts, war games, aquatic sports, shows of the royal animals, musical performances and also the most important Navarathri celebrations, the nine day state festival.

As we moved further from the Mahanavami Dibba, there was a stepped pond and further up was a swimming pool.This whole area is criss-crossed with a network of canals. Here there are a number of stone aqueducts connecting 20 or so wells and ponds.

The stepped Pond is very beautiful and remarkable for its structure.

Adjacent to the Royal enclosures is the HazarRam Temple. It is said to be a private temple for the king and the royal family. Perhaps the temple got its name Hazara Rama (a thousand Rama) Temple owing to this multitude of these Ramayana panels on its walls.

A sprawling lawn located at the north of this temple is an easy landmark you can spot from a distance. The dusty path that connects the Royal Enclosure with the Zenena Enclosure passes along the temple courtyard.

In front of this temple is the Paan Supari (Beatle Nut) Bazaar. Though it is said that infact this market was for diamonds and gold.

Nearby lies the stone doors. The original structure to which these massive doors were attached to is not known. From the size of it, one can be easily guess that these adorned the entrance of an important royal building.

A little further from the HazarRam Temple, there is Zanana Enclosure. It includes the Lotus Palace, Elephant Stable and guards quarters.

Lotus Mahal is a two-storied arched pavilion. It is sadi to be used by the King for the meetings with senior officers. It is also known as Chitragani Mahal. It’s peculiar to note that this is one of the beautiful structures that were left undamaged during the siege of the city after the fall in Talikota. However there are some signs of mutilations on a few sculptures placed on the outer surface.

The Queen’s Palace (visible only the basement) is located at the middle of this area.

Opposite to the palace base, across the central path, at the east lie the remains of a water pavilion. This is basically a decorated platform at the center of a shallow pool. This low laying spot is the first you would visit once inside the enclosure.

Three watchtowers can be seen at the corners of the enclosed area.

The Royal Treasury building too was located in this enclosure. At the northwest corner there is a rectangular building. Some believes that it was the quarters of the eunuch guards protected this area. The structure has a simple entry at the east. A corridor runs all around inside with arches at regular intervals. The absence of windows and light inside makes it believe that this was at the best a kind of store rather than a living space.

There are the traces of a number of unnamed structures and a separation walls inside the campus.

The whole Zenana enclosure is encircled with a tall and broad walls made out of cut stones.

The series of big enclosures at the end was used to keep the Royal Elephants.

Outside the Zanana enlosure is Ranga Temple. We went further behind the Zanana Enclosures and rested for some time in a Jaina Temple. Nearby are a few more ruins, one of them is known as Tenali Rama's Pavillion. Perhaps it was the home of  legendary Tenali Rama.

Further up the road is Srinagarada Hebbagailu or the Beautiful Gateway. This was one of the main entrance points to the inner core of the capital. It is said to be so huge a gateway that a couple of shrines were functioning inside the structure. What is left today is the tower-less structure with remains of many temple structures around.

This is a relatively lonely area except the cattle herds and the lone shepherds move around near the large grass field. 

From Zenena Enclosure, it’s at about half a kilometer. From the Octagonal Bath it’s about 2 kilometer.

It was getting late afternoon now. We the IT industry creatures, the clan of airconditioned habituals, were finding it a little hard to sustain the glory and shine of Lord Anshumaan.

So decided to go for lunch now. Anand, the auto driver suggested the KSTDC Hotel at KamlaaPura.

On the way, we stopped at the Queens' Bath.

This building is made with a veranda around facing a big open pond at the middle. It is surrounded by many balconies. An aqueduct terminates in the pond. At one end of the veranda there is a flight of steps giving access to the pool.

Nearby are loacted the Saraswati Temple and Chandrashekhar Temple.

A little further these temples one can find the ruins of Octagonal Bath.

We took the lunch at KSTDC Mayura hotel at Kamlaapura. It was a buffet, not very great. Very simple food.

We were very tired by now. But still two main attractions were left. Vitthala Temple complex and Maalyavanta Hills.

Shri Vijaya Vitthala Temple is the most amazing monument in Hampi and is portrayed as the icon for Hampi togeather with Lakshmi Narasimha Idol.

One need to walk about a KM or can take a battery operated vehicle to reach here.

The main sanctum was in repair now, so we could not go inside. It is said that the original temple was built by the inital rulers of Vijayanagar and there was a lot of later additions done by KrishnaDeva Raya.

The sanctum is also famous for musical pillars. These are a total of 56 in numbers. It is said that when ther are hit, they produce the sound of Indian classic music. We could not try as the sanctum is under repair now.

The stone chariot in this temple is an icon. It represents the amazing creativity of the artists. Temple chariots are often mobile reproductions of a temple. The stone chariot here is in turn a static version of the mobile temple chariot.

Behind of Vitthala Temple there is TungaBhadra River. There is a structure (Mandap) named after Purandara Das, a saint (around 1540 AD). Probably it is here the saint would have composed the devotional songs. Even today the songs composed by him are sung at the Carnatic music concerts. He is believed to have composed more than 75,000 classical compositions.

On the way there are a two storeyed gateway and also the Kings' Balance. It is said that King was measured here with grains and Gold/Diamonds.

Now it was time for our last attraction of the day. The Maalyavant Raghunath Temple at Maalyavant Hills. As auto goes till there so there was no hesitation, otherwsie we were too tired.

The temple is unique in the sense that it is said that Lord Raam with brother Lakshman stayed here in this cave during the rainy seasons. From here Hanuman and other braves went to search mother Sita.

This cave has now been converted into a temple. "Akhand Raamayan" was in progress making the place even more blissful.

Behind the temple, there is a small Shiva temple inside a cave. It is said that Lord Raam used to worship Lord Shiva here. The priest or the Sadhu there talked to me very kindly and told many related stories.

The view from here of the surrounding is just fantastic. It is said that sunset is very beautiful from here. Unfortunately for us the clouds covered the sky and we miss the oppertunity.

One can see the Kishkindha, Rishimukh, Gandhamadan and Matanga Hills from here.

We returned back to our hotel. A good dinner and the benevolent and merciful mother "Raatri Devi" took us in her lap in the form of sleep.

Day 2
Next day after breakfast we again took the auto to visit the area of Anegundi. This is on the other side of TungaBhadra River. There are two ways, one can cross the river at Purandara Mandap behind Vitthala temple by round boats and then take an auto. Or otherwise take an auto to go via road route. This road route is little longer.

The hill top Hanuman temple is believed to be the birthplace of Hanuman. It can be easily spotted as this hill temple and stairs leading to it is whitewashed.

The temple is of high importance to the worshippers. The Ramayana is recited inside the temple continuously. There are a total of 582 steps leading to the temple and with that hot noon, it took me 4-5 stops in between as I finally reached this blessed place. There were not many people and I was delighted to be at this wonderful  and peaceful place.

The view from the hilltop is marvellous. The whole of the ruins sites as well as the TungaBhadra river is visible stretching into the horizon.

One should be carful to carry the drinking water.

I was a bit confused with it being known as Lord Hamunaan Birth Place. A hill called Anjaneri near the town of Triambak in Nashik district of Maharashtra is aslo said to be his birth place.

Anegundi derives its name given by the then capital city of the Vijayanagar rulers, which literally means 'elephant pit' in Kannada, where the elephants of the Vijayanagar kings were kept.

The next important stop was the Pampa Sarovar.

This is very important pilgrimage center and ancient texts have mentioed about it. Surrounded by hills from three sides, this not a very big pond, was filled with white Lotus flowers. Infront of the pond is a temple dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Shiva & his consort Parvathi (Pampa).

Then we passed through the Gavai Ranganath swamy temple. It is on some height and we tired of climbing the Kishkindha Hills for Hanuman temple, did not shown interest. Nearby is a Durga Temple, which does not need that much ascend and the merciful mother gave us the oppertunity to visit her blissful abode.

Lord Anshumaan was more intense today and I was sweating profously. But still being in a blissful place, took over all the tiredness. Mind was relaxed and happy.

We now went to Anegundi town. It was a fortified town and initial capital of Vijainagar Kings. The gate welcomes with the statue of KrishnaDeva Raya. A small palace of that era exists today but nothing great about it left now. Nearby Ranganath Temple is quite famous.

While on our return path, Anand, the auto driver took us towards Sanaapur Resrvoir. It is a very nice place to be. It is a huge water body with stunning views.

Now it was time to return back to Hampi. We passed through an aqueduct called as "Bukka's Aqueduct". Bukka was one of the founders of the Vijayanagar Empire. This stone aquiduct he probably got constructed to link the Anegundi to Hampi across the TungaBhadra river. Now it is in very dilapidated state. Only a few pillars are left to tell their magnificent past.

We returned back to hotel to take some much needed rest and lunch.

We started for TungaBhadra Dam about 7 KMs from Hampi to spend our evening.

TungaBhadra Dam is a vast reservoir consructed in 1960s with the vision of engineer sir V. S. Thirumalae Ayyangar.

The administration has converted the adjacent area into a Vrindavan Garden, Mysore like park with Deer, Rabbit and some birds enclosures. It also includes a musical fountain and an aquarium.

The ambience is wonderful, fresh air and relatively calm place. A nice place for family outing.

We spent a couple of hours here.

When we started back for Hampi, it was already dark. We directly headed towards hotel, took dinner and slept after planning for third and final day of our trip.

The auto charged us Rs 750/- for trip to Anegundi. You can bargain further.

Day 3
We took a bus to Hampi from Hospet. The plan was to explore a few things behind the Virupaksha Temple as well as Archaelogical Museum at Kamlaapura. Kamlaapura is about 5 Kms from Hampi and on the bus route between Hampi and Hospet.

The bus stand at Hampi is just adjavent to Virupaksha Temple and infront of Hemkuta Hills. We staretd our exploration from infront of the Virupaksha Temple through the Hampi Bazar. I was a little surprised to see that there is encrochment by the people on ancient Bazar. Even the local police station is in of such structure, which was perhaps a shop in Vijayanagar days.

There is a photo Gallery on the left side at the end of the Bazar. This has photographs taken by a British explorer.

At the end of the Bazar, a huge Nandi infront of the Virpaksha Temple greeted us.The view of Virupaksha Temple is stunning from here.

On the right side one can see the Matanga Hills. This is named after Rishi Matang, who used to do penance here and has cursed Baali so Baali did not dare come there. So his estranged brother Sugreeva lived happily here.

We proceeded further. The route is ascending in nature and rockey. We passed through a small shrine dedicated to Hanuman and reached the Achutaya Raya Temple.

Achyutaraya was half brother of Krishnadeva Raya. This temple is said to constructed in 1534 AD. On one side is Matanga Hill and other side is Gandhamaadan Hill.

AchyutayaRaya Temple is a quite peaceful place, a little away from more highlighted places. Hence one can explre the temple in peace. This was the last big project completed before the Vijayanagar was turned into rubbles by the jealous Sultans of Bijapur, Berar, Bidar, AhmedNagar and Golkunda.

Infront of AchyutaRaya Temple is the place for Courtesan ladies on one side and Pushkarni, the sacred temple pond on other side.

There is some restoration work going on a temple infront of the AchyutaRaya Temple. If we go further, we will reach Vitthala Temple through the path via Kings Balance.

We returned back via Ranganath Temple and spend some time at the shore of TungaBhadra.View from here is breathtaking and even at that time of noon, the breeze was cool and refreshing.

We took the "Kampa Bhupa" route and reached Hampi to take bus to Kamlaapura, 5 Kms away.

The Archaelogical Museum at Kamlaapura is worth vising. One can see a lot of sculputres that have been received during exploration here. It gives some light about The Shaiva, Vaishnava traditions that prospered here. Also it houses some coins, weapons and arms of that era.There are some photo graphs of the explored places before and after the excavations. Which were a little surprising to me. Nothing was visible earlier and after digging some magnificent structure surfaced!!

This was an end to our 3 day sojourn to my beloved place of Hampi. There are so many places to visit here that I can say with guarantee that I could not cover all the places. Probabaly it may take minimum of a week to explore this place.

The best season to visit here is from November to February. But at these times, the place is a bit crowded.

I saw many foreign tourists staying in relative peacful hamlet of Anegundi and exploring the area on hired two wheelers.

Sunday night 8:30 PM, we took the Hampi Express back to Bangalore at 6:30 AM.

Long Live the spirit of Vijayanagar. My salute to those braves who worked to protect the Dharma in South!!


14 comments:

  1. excelent writing..gud one :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Alok,
    BTB where do you get these information. I believe you are a voracious reader. I wish you luck to explore the most parts of the world. it is a well written article.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hampi is a marvel of India and it's ruins narrate the gloriousness of Vijaynagar empire.
    Every stone of Vijaynagar empire has a history hidden inside. The traveller and Author of this blog is trying to unfold the stories of each of the boulder and stones. The vastness of such a grand ruin may well beyond the capacity of an ordinary human being to understand what all went wrong at this place and how such a great flourishing empire stand deserted today.
    I believe that the author is putting a conscious effort to make people understand the importance of Vijaynagar, He is taking great pains to visit the places to understand the story of previous 500-600 years based on the ruins-the current form in which we see it standing and then corellate the history of his actual feelings with the refernces of past historians. The narratives of such a place is not as simple as a normal human being may think, it requires complete dedication from his side and I must appluad the blog-author for this great cause. Though Alok may think that he is satisfying his personal interests by visting places and writing blogs, I tend to believe thet he is doing it for a greater cause of making people aware about it's history and make them try to understand it. A very great cause. I sincerely hope that intersted people must add to his work/visits/studies or may join him for the support to make Indian history more accurate and comprehensive.

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  6. hi..thanks for the post.Are you planning any holiday trip with family.i will suggest you the places br hills resort and also near by place k gudi resort..its a nice place to enjoy with family..do visit..

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  7. Thank you for valuable information.
    Hare Krishna!
    Chandan Yatra Das
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  8. Hampi is a world celebrated antiquated remnants site of civilisations of the past.
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  9. Wonderful post about Hampi. Thanks for sharing about this post, love to travel this place, this blog really helps people to plan for trips. If anyone wants to travel this place, book bus tickets in VRL Travels.

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  13. very nice and useful information ...

    please also visit to look option places to visit in shimla

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