We got up hurriedly in the morning, eager to explore Hampi. We went to Mango Tree restaurant for breakfast. It is a treat of restaurant, with great interiors and continental dishes. Italian,Thai,Iran,Mexicani etc were some to mention. Being a suburbs type of area it was avoided by Indian tourists but was full of International Tourists.
The most fascinating things about Mango tree were the artistic walls with beautiful paintings and the seating arrangement on the floor.
After having our fill we started for a long and exciting day.
(There are around 70 spots to visit, all at a stone’s throw away from each other. I have listed a few significant spots below to spark your interest)
We continued from where we left the previous night. The majestic Virupaksha Temple. The temple structure was under repairs for protecting the monument. Each pillar of the temple was carved with beautiful pictures. Perhaps they had a story to tell. The pond at the temple was a scenic beauty at depths, a lot of devotees sat down here for breakfast. A group of chattering monkeys watched them closely expecting some tasty bites.
Temples on the Hemakuta Hill
Just outside the Virupaksha temple on the left is the Hemakuta Hill. The Granite Slope of the sacred Hemakuta hill is dotted with shrines. The slope is fortified from three sides. More than thirty shrines stand on the hill. This area was famous for its temples and was used by common people. Now, there are many security guards of ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) guiding the tourists to stay away from slippery and dangerous stones.
On the hill there are temples which have inscriptions that tell you anecdotes about the area. Sadly, it was written in an old script, difficult to read, but I could recognize a few letters which were similar to Kannada.
The scene of Hemakuta hill at the time of sunset views like a golden one. The topmost point of the Hemakuta Hill is called the Sunset point. The view from here is really breath taking and one is forced to take many clicks.
Sasivekalu Ganesha is situated on south eastern slope of Hemakuta hillock, four armed Ganesha referred to as Sasivekalu (Mustard Seed) Ganesha it is 2.4 mtrs high.
Kadlekalu Ganesha – is so called because the shape of its belly resembles Kadlekalu (unsplit Bengal gram). The seated Ganesha sculpture is four armed. It is 4.5 mts high and carved out of a single boulder. Well, think of the effort that went into carving this sculpture. I did look like a tiny Bengal gram next to this sculpture.
Krishna Temple – built in 1513 A.D. by Sri Krishnadevaraya after invading Orrisa, He brought the Krishna statue form Udayagiri and constructed a temple with huge towers surrounding it for protection. The temple marks the height and glory of Vijayanagar Empire and shows their strength.
Krishna Bazaar – One of the major commercial hub of the kingdom where mainly businesses of pulses and grains too place. Rubies, diamonds and all precious stones were also sold on the streets. This gives you the feel of Vijayanagar Empire’s prosperity. I did look around under a couple of stones expecting to find some diamonds.
Badavi Linga Temple – A fascinating site, a Linga about 12 feet tall carved out of one single rock, one of the largest in Hampi and is submerged 3 feet under water. A gigantic tree outside the Linga site created a mysterious atmosphere and Saurabh chanted “Har Har Mahadev”.
Laxmi Narayan temple – Popularly known as Ugra Narashima, depicting Lakshmi Narashima 4th Incarnation of Lord Vishnu, with a height of 6.7 meters it is one of the finest examples of Vijayanagar sculptures. The roof of the chamber enshrine is mostly eroded. The statues itself has been excessively damaged. The face of the idol has been damaged giving a feel of Angered Narasimha.
Prasanna Virupaksha Temple – Or the Underground Shiva temple as the roof of the Temple is below the ground level. Being in Low Temple area there is water flow around the temple and it remains cool throughout the years. I went to the innermost sanctum of temple to see the Shiva Linga, but instead was greeted by a colony of bats which flew past me.
The Royal Enclosure – The nucleus of the Capital city of Vijayanagar consisting of
- King’s Platform – It housed a courtyard which had an auditorium with 100 sandalwood pillars where Vedic scholars and royal priests gathered.
- Stepped Tank – It is a square shaped stepped tank built with black stones. Water was fed into the tank through huge channels. The engineering of the stone pillars and channels was an architectural feat achieved.
- Mahanavami Dibba – This pyramidal, three tired stone platform rising to a height of 8mtrs is located in the North East of the Royal Enclosure. It is the most important ceremonial structure built with granite and subsequently encased sculptured schist stone. A few tourists pretending to be know it all’s were indicating that this was exactly the place where the shoot of the coronation of “Bhallal Dev” in Bahubali – The Conclusion took place. FYI: It is not.
Stepped Tank Mahanavami DIbba
Hazararama Temple – Only Temple to be situated in the core zone of Royal Enclosure dedicated to Vishnu as lord Rama. It is one of the finest examples of a compact Dravida Vimana type. The Temple is known for sculpted friezes depicting The Ramayana Story in its three tiers.
Queen’s Palace Basement – It is said the entire Palace was built of pure Sandalwood. It was burned down during the attack by sultans and what remains of its beauty now is just the Basement.
Elephant Stables – The giant building has 11 rooms built for housing Royal elephants with small doors connecting each room. It has a two storeyed building which is mostly destroyed but still round Gummatas remain which are in good condition.
Small doors connecting the elephant stables
Queen’s Bath – Located in the South east of the royal enclosure. It consists of changing rooms and a bath. The bath has a brilliant system of water supply with water flowing from the Kamalapura lake. The sanitation and water Flow system around the Bath is quite incredible.
Most of the structures outside the main fort have been destroyed, what remains are the ruins of a lavish kingdom which once flourished.
One is sucked into the glory of the great Vijayanagar kingdom which once stood here. We covered various other fascinating monuments each with its own unique tale to tell.
Next stop – Vijaya Vittala temple and the renowned Stone Chariot for Day 3
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