Thursday, January 18, 2007

Day 5 : Hampi

13/10/2006 : 6:30 AM : Hampi

The scenic drive towards the heritage sites started at 6:30 AM; first stroke of dawn was romaticized by a light drizzle.

Hampi is a short 13km drive from Hospet. Crossing canals and green fields.

The first few minutes went in swirll of crowds and then the main temple followed by the 'garbha gudi' and circum abugations...and the magic set in....

Unlike all these days, noisy tourists, Souvenir shops, historic Post-office and stamps and postcards, whirrs and clicks of the cameras....

Hampi was founded in the middle of 14th century by Hakka and Bukka', learnt at school. You can still glimpse the pomp and vigor, the wealth n splendor, art and architecture, magnificence and opulence of Vijaynagar in its ruins.The city was looted, sacked, burnt and destroyed in 1565 AD, by the Muslim rulers. Rocky hills and the mighty TungaBhadra River, which flows through the rugged landscape; One can imagine the splendor and richness of Vijaynagar, from the remains and ruins, spread over 26 kms. One of the largest empires in the history of India!

1] With entering Hampi, you see some Mohammadean tombs, which displays 'Bahamani' style of architecture.

2] Sasivekaalu Ganesh : A 2.5 mt tall molithic Ganesha, which dates back to 1506 AD, is just marvelous.

3] Hemakuta group of Temples. Hemakuta hills has a scattering of early ruins.

4] Virupaksha Temple is the main Temple of attraction and the only place where pooja is performed even to this day. There is a magnificent shrine dedicated to Virupaksha the deity of the Vijaynagar rulers. The temple encloses a Raaga mantapa, Sabha mantapa, Kalyana mantapa & a kitchen, apart from the sanctum sanctorum. The pillared Raaga mantapa is beautifully painted. The temple is flocked and spoilt by human activity, which is visible by the very signs. The inverted image of the gopura on the wall, is admirable. A narrow stream of River Tungabhadra flows besides the temple, which then descends through the kitchen of Virupaksha Temple.

5] The Virupaksha Bazaar or Hampi Bazaar, which runs 32m wide and 728m long, with shop like structures on either side, build using stone. Hampi Bazar : a market place, where fairs were held.

6] KadalekaLu Ganesha

7] The magnificent monolithic Nearby is the 6.7mt tall monolith LakshmiNarasimha; the coils of Adishesha; the seven hood as canopy.....just makes one spellbound. This had a huge arch-Kirthimukha torana covering made of Sandle-wood, which was set ablaze by the Muslim rulers. The four arms of the statue as well his consort, goddess Lakshmi has been destroyed. Unimaginable!

8] Badavilinga Temple : The gigantic Shiva Linga is located next to LakshmiNarasimha. It is 3 mt high and stands submerged in water, which flows through a ancient canal.

9] Uddana Virabhadra Temple, houses a 16ft tall sculpture.

10] Chandikeshwara Temple

11] Akka-Tangi Guddha

12] Prasanna Virupaksha aka Underground ShivaLinga - the roof of which is at the ground level. The temple houses a Garbhagriha, Antarala, Ardhamantapa, Mahamantapa and Dwajastanbha.

13] Administration Block

14] Mohammadan Watch Tower, Band Tower, Mosque - Cannons and watch towers...

15] Mint enclosure

16] Hazara Rama Temple

17] Zenana Enclosure - is enclosed by tall structural walls. The enclosure houses a Treasury, Queens residence, JalMahal, Lotus Mahal, Watch Tower, The museum is heart felting, but potography prohibited, with the ancient picture in grey and the present day picture in multi colours, a comparitive study.

18] Lotus mahal - This two storeyed structure with recessed archways, opening to the sun like petals of Lotus, dates back to 16th century, is located in the Zenana enclosure. Here's a integration of Hindu and Islamic style of architecture.

19] Elephant Enclosure - The Elephant stables have arched entrances and domes.

20] Hazara Rama Temple : lies at the heart of the royal centre, with finely carved pillars, depicting incarnations of Vishnu . The exteriors of the temple have sculptures illustrating Ramayana.

21] Royal Enclosure - is the biggest of all, spanning an area of 59 thousand sq. m. The massive audience hall, ornamental doors, Public Bath and the Mahanavami Dibbha where Dasara was celebrated for all 10 days. The Mahanaami Dibbha is a 3 tired stone platform.

22] Queen's Bath - situated in the citadel area, this is a large pentagonal structue, with plain exterior and very ornate interior. The bath is 15 sq and 1.8m deep. It is surrounded by delicately arched corridors and balconies. The lotus shaped fountain is just mesmerizing! The entire structure is protected by a wide, deep moat.

23] Octogonal Bath

24] Vithala Temple - The most splendid is undoubtly the Vithala Temple. The 56 pillars in the main hall produce musical notes when struck. We went on moving from grandeur to grandeur, chamber to chamber, despite the bustle of everyday life.The sculpture here is just incredible. This is relatively in good state. The outer pillars are known as the 'Musical Pillars'. The temple houses the well known 'Stone Chariot', in the courtyard - which has carved stone wheels which revolve. 56 musical pillars, each producing a unique sound. Underground temple, and Kalyana, Bhajana, Sabha, Nirutya, Kitchen, Utsava.

25] The king's Balance - where the king was weighed.

26] Achuta Raya Temple : The Tirvengalanatha temple built during the reigh of Achuta Deva Raya is know by the name of the ruler. The temple is in ruins. Old stone bridge across TB river.

Untiring tourists....
The air of mystic clings to it.

Mango Tree - wispering plaintains and other trees set in a lush serene plot of the lakeshore in luxurious and elegant without being opulent. We were in need of bland and boring food. withing minutes we were rattling the spoons against the plates. Hampi was the only place where were saw lot many foreign backpackers, tours and traders, all haggling, quarrelling, bargaining and negotiating. Never miss a visit at this restaurant while @ Hampi.

Temperature was dipping and the sun was slowly going down the horizon, i stood there with my camera poised; clouds played a prank. It was not a shoppers/collectors route. Just got the tourist brochure cliche to file-up.

With the end of the day, ended the trip, but the sight would stay etched in mind.

Towards Mysore....

200km of more potholes than road. the heart throbbing in my mouth Back to NH4. We were welcomed to NH4 by pitter-patter of rain on the glass. Blessed! :-) The roads are a dream come true! So what if the driving is a bit aggressive. This was the most excited of all days, the much awiated, planned and draemt, but realized, my imaginations were not even in par with those structures. Interesting tid-bits from history. Familiar yet EXOTIC, brethless sights they were...

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