Yet another back to back trip.... not that I cannot take the fatigue, but the only complaint is that I have to rush up my blogs to avoid forgetting stuff (overlapping memories :P ) and in normal scenarios I take all the time in the world to write. This time it was different and so where the destinations which were worlds apart. One was focused more on the nature which is so far untouched by man while the other was how a creation by one man is destroyed by other.
The ruins of Hampi are truly magical. Usually whenever we visit a structure of the yore it will be with all probability a standalone one with few structures of the same period giving it company. But in this case nearly the entire city of half a million people is preserved and totally transports into a different world altogether, a time when King Krishnadevaraya ruled this truly flourishing city.
Day 1 (4/12/2010)
Bangalore-Anantapur-Gooty-Adoni-Mantralayam (420 kms)
This day was dedicated for travelling and a stopover at Mantralaya, the holy place of Raghavendra Swami's samadhi. Actually it was mom's wish to visit this place and a search of tourist places nearby resulted in narrowing down and deciding our final destination to be Hampi. Left early in the morning at 6 am and travelled along the airport road/Hyderabad road. This road is a part of the North-South Corridor (Kashmir-Kanyakumari) corridor, hence as expected the roads were superb and had very little traffic after the airport detour.We had more or less the entire 4 lanes all to ourselves :).
Had our breakfast at Kamat Upachar, some 5-10 mins after Chikkaballapur bypass. Food was decent. This was probably the only decent restaurant we came across along the highway for the entire ride. Just after Anantapur we bought some Guava's.... 20 bucks for nearly 10 of these huge fruits ... and they were the best I had in a really long time.... Juicy , crisp and delicious.... After we reached Gooty took a diversion towards Adoni and from here to Mantralaya. Roads are good except for the few patches enroute on this 2 lane highway. Initially we had expected a good 10 hr journey but due to the good road conditions we reached within 7 hrs.... Reached at around 1 pm, directly went for darshan and reached just in time for the prasada lunch (11 am to 2 pm ). This annadhana done in various temples across South India is a commendable and selfless act of kindness. So many people's livelihood depends upon these kind of programs (Superlike :P).
Day 2 (5/12/2010)
Mantralayam-Adoni-Bellary-Hampi (200 kms)
|Virupaksha Temple Complex|
Just about 10 kms from Hospet, there is shortcut to Hampi via Kamalapura. This route is marked by a mantapa at the entrance. In fact this village road is much-much better than NH-63 and saves nearly 20 kms of going via Hospet... Reached Kamalapura and directly went to the main centre of Hampi. Reached around noon.. Nearly 5.5 hours to traverse through 200 kms... seems pretty odd when compared to statistics of the previous day :P.
|Hampi Bazaar and Viruspaksha temple in background|
|Achutaraya Temple Complex|
After this we took a stroll along the Hampi Bazaar which is pretty much commercialized to modern times. This is supposedly the place where they used to trade rubies, gems and other precious items, but now it has Dhaba kind of hotels and memorabilia shops. In fact this centre of Hampi is where majority of the tourists are... and visit to other sites reveals very few visitors and we can explore to our hearts content.From Hampi bazaar we climbed a mountain just opposite it. There is Nandi statue. Our parents decided to rest here and me and my brother continued until we reached the Achutaraya temple complex... the first ruin we have laid our eyes upon. Very few tourists were at this place and we explored to our hearts content... one unique architecture of the temples of hampi are that there is dark passage created around the main gudi for pradakshina and illuminated badly by few holes in the wall. These passages are inhabited by bats and the fumes of their excreta is pretty much nauseating.
|The Inner Gudi|
There is a mud road right upto this temple complex and as we were parking our vehicle was witnessing some awesome silver lining from the sun hiding behind the clouds. We entered the complex and the first thing which captivates your eyes is the stone chariot... A masonry marvel... It had various inscriptions on it.. including Portuguese. The sun was making its way quickly to the horizon and the mute stones simply started to glow in the evening sun. Visited the Kings Balance (where the king used to weigh gold equivalent to his weight and donate them) and further down Purandhara Dasa Mantapa on the banks of River Tungabhadra where he used to write. Was treated with a beautiful sun-set among the boulder filled mountains. By nightfall returned back to our hotel and played UNO. My parents played it for the first time and superliked it :P.
|Mirror For the Sun|
Hampi-Bellary-Chellakere-Hiriyur-Tumkur-Bangalore (360 kms)
Today we were to complete the remaining sites of interest which was left off the previous day. First we visited some unknown temple early in the morning followed by an octagonal bath. After this we returned back to our hotel and had our breakfast. Returned back and went to Queens bath.....This Royal Splurge was beyond any of our common mans imagination. A huge tank in the centre and a great structure around it. This huge tank filled and drained just for one bath by the queen. And we thought bath tubs were waste of water. One of the caretaker showed us the various plumbing features. The water inlet where water was drawn from a stream nearly 2 km away and the point where it was drained out.
|Water Inlet: In Short Tap|
|Doors Made Of Stone|
From here we moved to Mahanavami Dibba, which were a group of monuments which was built by King Krishnadevarya in celebration of his victory in Orissa. On top of a platfrom we get a eagles eye view of the Hampi town. Nearby was the puskarani i.e. the water tank and the entire aqueduct system which has been restored. These aqueduct or in short pipes were made of solid stone and the first impression one gets after laying their eyes on them is that they are for beautification. Also there is one underground chamber nearby where the king used to hold secret meetings (Chamber of secrets :D), but alas the roof of this room has collapsed. Nevertheless the tunnel which leads to this room is in perfect condition and it was pretty exciting travelling along these pitch dark pathways.
|Tunnel To The Secret Chamber|
Further we moved to the Royal enclosure where the Royals actually resided. First was the Hazara Rama Temple which was one of the most preserved temples among the ruins. There was various depictions of Ramayan and Mahabharatha on the walls.Also the inner sanctum had 4 pillars made from stone unlike any temples in these regions. From here the royal enclosure is just a stones throw away. As we enter the Royal enclosure protected by nearly 20 foot walls the first thing which catches your attention is the Lotus Mahal which is the palace for the both the Queens of Krishnadevaraya. Also he had built 2 separate residential Mahals from Sandalwood which was completely burned down by the raid of the Deccan Sultanates and only the stone foundations remain. It is observed that the royal enclosure buildings have a lot of islamic architectural influences.
|Elephant Stables: Check Out The Domes|
Behind the palaces are the elephant and horse stables. The latter being completely destroyed. The elephant stables are huge structures keeping in the mind the original inhabitants of the place. Also there are 9 cubicles and each one has a dome at the top... the domes represent hinduism, Jainism and Islam respectively . Talk about religious tolerance. There are also 2 small museums within the Royal Enclosure which pretty much shows before and after restoration images.
|Underground Shiva Temple|
Before leaving we decided to pay a visit to the ASI Museum at Kamalapura. It had stuff like coins, weapons, pots ,photo's of excavation during the British Era, statues and other stuff which are deemed unsafe to be kept in the ruins. Also there is a miniature replica of the entire Hampi city. The entire museum can be checked out in about one hour and is pretty decent with their collections.
Finally it was time to leave for Bangalore. It was nearly noon so we decided to have our lunch in Bellary. We took the Hampi-Bellary-Hiriyur-Tumkur-Blore route since online forums said this was way better than the much popular NH-13 which is supposed to have huge craters thanks to mining trucks. So we moved back to Bellary and after Bellary the roads were really awesome. This 2 lane road was potholeless, smooth, had very less traffic and we were averaging 100+ constantly. Reached Hiriyur and joined the Golden Quadrilateral all the way to Bangalore. Had a stopover for Dinner at Kamat Upachar just after Tumkur. Reached Bangalore and awesome Flyover started from Nelamangala. Took the Nice ring road till Mysore road and right to our home avoiding any traffic bottlenecks even on a Monday evening. Took nearly 8.5 hrs from Hampi which includes lunch and dinner.
Overall a great getaway place for a family. And if anyone is an architectural freak then you have got yourself a gold mine. Immensely popular among the westerners and now I see the reason.. It was really enchanting even spending just 2 days in the ancient city. Also it is the only ancient city of such magnitude preserved in southern india , which makes it all so special.
Trip 'O' Meter ------> 1080 kms