Saturday, September 11, 2004

Exploring Hampi Day 2


We were supposed to get up and catch the sunrise at Hampi but it was not to be.
here is pic of what the sunrise looked like... absolutely glorious!!! This picture is courtesy one of the RTMC members.(I forget the name I am sorry)

While the others went ahead before 6:00 in the morning, we slept it out and started off after a lazy breakfast. The weather was just great... rain clouds were present but besides some drizzle the day was clear... thus started our exploration... here is pic of what the sunrise looked like... absolutely glorious!!!

Queens Bath:
A old bathing place which the Queen used. It had its own changing rooms and great viewpoints. This bath was open to the sky and surrounded with a moat. Though the building looks quite simple from outside one can only imagine the granduer inside the building.

Mahanavami Dibba:
This is an enomous area where kings once sat on gem-studded golden thrones and watched processions pass by. The platform sports densely carved bands of horses, soldiers and depictions of the various aspects of courtly life. There is a pyramid like structure which has nice carvings on it.. The irrigation system runs through it..

There is a beautiful tank called Pushkarani which looks like an optical Illusion with its so many steps there... the whole Tank looks like it was built with black granite...

I explored further and found another amphitheatre like area and a seat where the kings must have sat..and watched some show or the other... or maybe it was another tank for the kings and queens to enjoy the beautiful man made lake...

This place has lot of other small ruins which you can explore with leisure... I wish I had more time...

Hazara Rama: a typical Dravidian temple... and this has lot of sculptures depicting the story of Ramayana in three tiers describing the whole story till after the birth of his twins Lav and Kush.. The sculpting is the wall is worth spending time. There is a hanuman sculpture here.. Hampi was previously also the capital of the Monkey People... and it was known and Kishkinta... thats why the stress on Ramayana

Lotus Mahal : A small enclosure inside huge grounds. the walls which protect this enclosure is still there.. and one needs to see how uniquely the walls have been placed ..One would imagine royalty coming here and relaxing... the mahal itself is a small place surrounded by huge grounds.

You need to buy a ticket to enter this place which is valid for the Vittala temple too.

Elephant Stables: - As you walk through the green lawns in Lotus Mahal... you come across the elephant stables which seem like huge... rooms .. one can imagine how much care they were given ... this being an important mode of transpot there

Guards House - To one side of the tables there was another huge building which many ignored and went off.. We went ahead .. i was pretty curious what this building was meant for. It had one elephant statue resting at the gateway One of the natives, dangling his legs ... and with a nonchalant attitude told us that it was the guard's house... It was a huge building... with lot of artifacts and a nice garden... the building was at a height... I guess so that the guards could survey what was going on......

Nobelman's Quarters: This was a little further from the Lotus Mahal.. and we went ahead to explore the Nobleman's Quarters... a huge space of land with collapsed building blocks... gives the impression of a huge chunk of population might have existed in this area.. you can go up the steps to have a panoramic view of the area... the guards might have stood at that very point to surveyed all the nobleman... or soldiers...

Sister Rocks
this is a marvel to see,.. imagine two cards inclined and balancing each other by touching it at the top.. now imagine two huge round stones doing the same thing and touching each other just at a point and standing like that... Awesome.. According to a myth, these stones are two sisters who have been turned into stone.

Lakshmi Narasimha - A huge monolith statue which is sometimes mistaken for Ugra Narasimha.. A huge piece of architecture which is difficult to imagine that it has survived all the years to be a witness to all of the wacky specimens... like us.... People mistake it for Ugra Narasimha but it has been specifally mentioned that this is Lakshmi narasimha..

Badavilinga : Next to the Narasimha.. there is this amazing 12 ft Shivalinga known as the Badavi Linga.. this has always water around it since a canal passes through it..

Krishna Temple: This is an old temple built by Krishnadevraya in 1523. We found a young boy dressed as hanuman and willing to dance if we gave him money... we shooed him away and took some photographs... of the nice pillars.. what struck me was the eerie silence in these temples... but I could imagine devotees thronging here for their pujas... There are many small temples inside this temple.

This is on the way to Krishna Temple.. thought that the gates with the Jeep looked really cool..

Mustard Ganesha:
This is a huge monolith of Ganesha which you can go and see... we did not wait around this statue as we had a lot of things to cover. This is also one of a kind statue very well made. This statue is 12 ft tall and is placed in the open with a mantapa.

Virupaksha Temple:
This is one of the main temples in Hampi. We did not spend much time inside this temple as there was a huge crowd singing and dancing there... The road in front of this temple is flanked by shops and restaurants.

Here we halted for lunch... in one of the small restaurants which had boldly written captions " Recommended by Lonely Planet" . This place caters more to foreigners so if you are ordering toast and omlete you will get it faster. There is a unique thali known as " African Thali, which we did not have the stomach to try. I ordered some pineapple pancakes, lassi and sandwiches which came pretty fast rather than the indian thalis which my friends ordered.

We called in the gang who by this time were scattered. Some tried to take a short cut and got duped by auto.
DO NOT try taking shortcuts. All of the things can be seen one after the other so you can chill out and take your bike around and park and walk where you wanted to see stuff.

So while the gang was having lunch, we walked by the side of the river Tungabhadra...

Suddenly for some reason I remembered the song...

By the rivers of Babylon..
There we at down
there we wept
when we remembered the bygones... ( ok i made that up instead of Zion)

Pondering at the ruins and the huge area of what might have been I felt somewhat sad and melancholic.
Market Place:
The market place is just opposite the Virupaksha Temple .. This is a huge area and once upon a time it used to be the market area for the people living in that kingdom. At present this place is used as an amphitheatre during dance festivals and all that.

Vittala Temple:
This is one of the most beautiful places in Hampi. This contains the essence of Hampi, I must say. It contains a huge area of monuments. The river Tungabhadra flows by its side... Inside the grounds you have the Vijaya Vittala temple containing musical pillars... a guide can show you how it sounds by beating it with the help of the knuckles... clicked some shots here too... This temple is full of beautifully sculpted works of lotus, swans, etc...

Just in front of this temple is the stone Chariot which is like a work of art. Its reminiscent of the Sun Temple in Konark. It was raining that day.. and though it ws not the right moment for photography.. i could not resist taking some shots

Kings Balance:
Outside the Vijaya Vittala Temple complex to your right, a few yards away you will find the Kings Balance where the king used to weigh himself with golds and diamonds and that weight used to be distributed among the poor.

Then to chill out we relaxed by the river banks of Tungabhadra drinking tea from a small shack... it was that time of the day when the birds go home and farmers come back from the fields... bliss...

We came to back to the Hotel. The gang decided to go to the Tungabhadra Dam where there would be some musical fountain display and all that. Some from the gang relaxed. We did the same... chilled out .. had dinner and waited for the guys to come back..

The guys were back and they decided that they would light a campfire and have a great time. While I was busy with our friends, the rest of the guys chilled out by the fire with some good drinks...

Day 3