Rain, Ruins and Remembrance
Hello All.... This one is the 'special' one. It took me too long to decide a place for travelling solo. I was little hesitant to choose a place from southern part of India as the July end was approaching monsoon but my strong will and passion for traveling made me to choose the beautiful ruins of Hampi.
I always wanted to visit this place but was not very sure about the success due to the uncertain rainfall. It says when you want something from all your heart you make the most out of it. It happened for me. Lets start the journey or more like a time travel.
Tungabhadra from Hampi
Hampi is a small ancient village in the south Indian state of Karnataka. This small village got the holy Tungabhadra river, beautiful mountains and the mesmerizing ruins of Vijayanagar Dynasty. Ninety percent of the village is covered with the scattered pieces of ruins. The whole ambiance will freeze you in that time and your 'seeing' would fall short in quenching your thirst.
Routs, Booking and Hotels:
Let me start with the routs. Hampi is very well connected with other parts of India. There is no airport in Hampi.
The nearest airport is Hubli (HBX) which is 144 km away from Hampi.
The nearest railway station is Hospet Junction (HPT) which is 11 km away from Hampi.
There are few bus stops like Hospet, Kamalapur and Hampi . Kamalapur is the closest one .
As a resident of Hyderabad I took a bus to travel Hampi. It took almost nine hours to reach Hampi. The bus booking can be done easily through redbus, yatra and makemytrip. If you are traveling from Hyderabad then choose Go tours and travels . They are best in business and believe in hundred percent customer satisfaction. I enjoyed their service.
As far as the booking is concerned You will get several sites to book hotels and home stays. I prefer home stay while traveling alone. So I referred booking.com and booked 'The Riverside Homestay' which is situated at the heart of Hampi. The location is fantastic and one can witness the Tungabhadra river and Birupaksha temple from the rooftop of the home stay. This home stay runs by a humble family. They are very caring and professional. I had a very good stay over there. There are several home stays and hotels in Hampi. Price varies from season to season. Try to visit hampi in off season to experience the solitude and peace it offers.
Places to visit in hampi
It is completely your own choice how you want to travel in Hampi. The easiest way is to hire a two wheeler or a bicycle to experience the extraordinary sites of Hampi. As I do not trust my driving I booked an auto to cover the places which are far from Hampi. The person was very helpful and more than that he took me to the places from where I could experience the best views of Hampi. His phone number could be shared in personal request. Lets start the story of temple Hopping.
Krishna Temple :
This outstanding temple was built by the king Krishnadevaraya in 1513 AD to celebrate the conquest of eastern kingdom of Udayagiri of Orissa. The mail idol was Balakrishna (Lord Krishna as infant) but at present the idol is displayed in the state museum of chennai. This is a must visit because this rare piece of architecture holds the epic stories carved on walls of tower. This is truly an intact specimen of Vijayanagara dynasty. Just opposite to this temple you can find the ruins of Krishna Bazar.
Ruins of Krishan Bazar (one of the five bazars of Hampi)
There were five famous bazars (markets) in Hampi. people used to sell gems and jewels in this market. How amazing !!
Lakshmi Narshima Temple
This piece of art is the largest statue in Hampi. Narshima( half man- half lion) is sitting on a seven headed coiled snake which is known as 'Sesha Nag'. The ferocious appearance of Narshima made this known as 'Ugra Narshima'. The sculpture of lakshmi is missing here as it got completely destroyed due to the fall of Vijayanagara. Standing in front of this huge , powerful sculpture reminds our small entity and force you to stitch the missing pieces of myths to reveal the story behind it.
This is a three meters monolithic stone carved Shiva linga situated in a water bed inside a small ruined shrine . It is huge in size and really gather thoughts about the expertise it requires to build a free standing sculpture like this. The room is quite small with a closed entrance. People can view it from outside.
Shiva linga of Badaviling temple
Underground Shiva Temple (Prasanna virupaksha temple)
This is another attraction in Hampi. There are many small ruins and shrines are scattered throughout Hampi. This underground Shiva temple got maintained very nicely though the main idol is missing here. You need to walk through the woods and take steps down to access the entrance . Though there is not much to see here but a bit of adventure to see how does an underground temple looks like?
|Underground Shiva Temple|
Lotus Mahal and Elephant Stable
Hampi tour is incomplete without visiting this beautiful temple. This temple is situated in Zenana enclosure which manifests the beauty of Indo- islamic architecture. This segregated royal temple is under renovation and was used by the royal women of Vijayanagara dynasty.
|lotus temple, Hampi photo@sahelibasu|
Elephant Stable, is another marvelous 15th century architecture situated in this premise . This is more like a rectangular elongated architecture divided into many small sector/ cabins were used as elephant stable. Its is unbelievable to see that the royal dynasty did not miss a single chance to show the grand gesture and royalty. It has eleven dome shaped interconnected chambers with a front open courtyard. The domes shows different styles such as circular, octagonal, ribbed and filled with patterns. This is an remarkable example of Indo-Islamic style of Vijayanagara dynasty.
Elephant stable, Hampi
Mahanavami Dibba and Pushkarini
This is the tallest structure one can notice when entering in the royal enclosure. From distance it appears more like a tall rectangular stone platform but as you go close the beauty emerges. This giant structure has three layers. There are two staircases which leads to the top of the platform. The front one is highly decorated with elephants both sides and other royal animals carved on the railing and beams. King Krishnadevaraya made this to perform war games, army march, sports and musical performance during Navaratri festival most importantly. Once you reach to the top you can experience the vast ruins around. It feels more like a ruined territory where you are alone standing between two era and trying to unveil the mystery, myth and mechanism. Each and every corner of Hampi will surprise you because they do not look similar.
Mahanavami Dibba, Hampi
Another marvelous example of an well executed artistic construction is the great Pushkarini (Stepped tank)of Hampi. It has mesmerized me with its symmetry and synchronization. It has multiple steps in each platform. Square in shape this stepped tank was the main water source in the temple compound. The whole structure is stone carved and it is breath taking to see the organized repetitive patterns. It is said that the royal queen used to fetch water by herself during the Navaratri festival. It is considered as one of the most sacred tanks exists in Hampi.
Pushkarini(stepped tank), hampi
The next two destinations are quite modern and I did not like much are the 'Queens bath' and 'Hampi museum' where most of the things they have plastered and in the museum the statues are not original but they have a huge collection and records of the time periods.
I will end my blog mentioning the three giant and best architectures which makes the Hampi worlds open museum.
Vijaya Vittala Temple (UNESCO heritage site)
This is the most spectacular and enchanted architecture in Hampi. It has so much of variety in style which can't be found anywhere in Hampi. This temple is situated in the north eastern part of Hampi, near the banks of Tungabhadra river. The whole temple compound is spectacular but two architectures which are making this site inevitable is the stone chariot and musical pillar temple.
Visiting times: morning 8.30am- 5.00pm all days
Entry fee: 40 rps for Indians(same ticket can be used in Hampi museum, lotus temple and Vittala temple)
Once you enter in the premise you can find a small station with a queue of visitors.there are small shuttles which will drop you to the Vittala temple gate as the distance is 1.5 km. you can take a walk and reach by yourself as well.
This temple is dated back to 15th century and made by the kind Devaraya II. later on most of the parts are extended and beautified by the famous king Krishnadevaraya of Viajanagara Dynasty. His contribution played an important role in the present look of the temple.
Musical Pillar temple:
Musical pillar temple, Hampi
This temple is presumed to be the finest example among all ruins of Hampi. This musical pillar temple is the example of the dynasty's marvelous creative and architectural excellence. This was built in Dravidian style and it has 56 musical pillars. They sound the basic notes of 'SA RE GA MA PA ' when tapped gently. At present visitors are not allowed in this temple as there are instances of damage. This temple is under renovation. The cluster of pillars are curved out of a single monolithic stone. The emission of musical notes from the pillars is mystery and it fascinates people from decades.
The stone chariot is situated in the courtyard of the temple. This is one of the famous rathas between the three rathas in India which are situated in Konark(Orissa) and Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu). This is actually a shrine designed in a shape of chariot dedicated to the Garuda. As per Hindu mythology Garuda is the carrier of lord Vishnu. This temple is dedicated to the lord vishnu and Vittala is one of the incarnations of Vishnu. This marvelous chariot is a supreme example of the creative thoughts and curving.
Stone Chariot, Hampi
At present this is the only temple where the idol get worshiped. This temple is dedicated to lord shiva. This temple was constructed under commander Dandesha in the empire of King Dev raya II. This was started in form of a little shrine but later on it expanded with a huge temple campus and several small temples inside. The eastern gateway is the greatest among all. It is 50 meter in height which mesmerize the visitors with its grandeur. In the courtyard there is a pillar monastery where one can pay the holy visit to the lord Shiva. There are numerous paintings on the ceiling but most of them are hard to recognize but still they are so artistic which will catch you sight definitely.
At the main chamber photography is prohibited and visitor needs to join the queue to notice lord Shiva. There are gangs of monkeys in the temple premise but they are not harmful. This is a must visit.
Virupaksha temple, Hampi
This is one of my favourite temples in Hampi. This has always less visitors and situated in little remote this temple will give you a different feel of solitude. This marvelous piece if architecture was made in 1534 AD. This temple is situated between Matanga hills and Gandhamadhan Parvat(Mountain). This temple displays the Vijayanagara architecture style but unfortunately it is in ruin stage.
Timing: Any time throughout week
Entry fee: no
Temple view from far
I suggest to visit this place early in the morning to have best experience. Hardly you will get people around you and you walk freely to the each corner of the temple. The temple premise holds many small shrines and mandapas . All of them are beautifully carved and gives true sense of artistic gesture.
Last but not the least my trek to Matanga hills. It is not possible to complete my trip without an adventure. Matanga hills was very close to my home stay in Hmapi. This place is famous for the Sunrise and Sunset view. I started from 5.15 am in the morning. It took 30 Minutes to trek up. The mesmerizing view of sleepy Hampi is unforgettable. Trails are marked but have to be careful because there are no proper steps. By taking the support of other rocks one can climb to the top. Do not miss this small adventure to fulfill your memory jar of Hampi.
View of Hampi from Matanga hills
Here it comes to an end. My solo Hampi trip was really successful. I meet good people and felt more confident than before. Always travel solo to understand the new place and discover yourself and your capability.
Bye Guys!! See you soon ...