Myself along with my colleagues planned for a trip to Hampi (26,27 Aug 2006).For that we've booked for a tourist package from KSTDC which includes Hampi, Tungabadra dam and Mantralaya.But unfortunately the trip got cancelled because of seats not getting filled. Then we booked KSRTC bus for going till Hospet and then to Hampi by local transportation.We stayed at KSTDC's Mayura hotel.Its located nearer to Hampi (around 4 kms) and 12 kms away from Hospet. There are daily trip packages from KSTDC to Hampi and TB dam. So we opted for that and started out.
On the way itself, we saw some of the ruins which were once part of a great empire(14th-16th century A.D). Hampi was the capital city of Vijayanagara empire with a area of more than 60 sq. km. The place is surrounded by rocks.
First we visited Virupaksha temple where the deity is Virupaksha lingam and Hampa devi.(City derived its name from goddess name)
It has a big gopuram and is in the banks of Tungabadra river. There is a place in this temple where you can see the inverted image of the Gopura (concept of pinhole camera) Vijayanagara empire got established by Hukka and Bukkha with the assistance and advice of Sri Vidyaranya (Sringeri mutt) and the notion is to establish a Hindu kingdom. At that time, there was a domination of Muslim rulers (Golconda, Bijapur, Bamini). This temple has Vidyaranya mutt inside its premises.
Seeing the flow of Tungabadra river from here is a beauty.
You can see some hills around here which are mentioned in our epics viz. Rishimukha parvadham, Anjanadevi parvadham(Hanuman's mother is Anjanadevi and it's told that he born here) and Mathanga hill (Sunset point, highest place here).
Next we visited Kadalakale vinayaka (Peanut vinayaka) temple.
He got that name since he's in that shape and the notable thing is "It is a monolithic sculpture of 18 ft. tall, i.e.. built with a single stone" Near to that, one more temple is there.Its "Mustard vinayaka" (which is also monolithic and 11ft. tall) and our guide said that this temple is built for lower caste people(?).
There are other temples built by King Krishnadevaraya and his brother, viz. Balakrishna temple, Hazararama temple. Then we went to Veerbhadra swami temple (one of few saivite temples).
These rulers are Vaishnavites.So we can see many vaishnavite temples here and very few saivite temples. We visited Badavilinga (Badavi means poor man) where there is a water source which will be perennial throughout the year.
Near to this place, there is a "Ugranarasimha" statue which is really an artistic marvel. Artists and sculptors says that this is the most beautiful and excellent artwork done by Vijayanagara rulers.
On the way, we saw Balakrishna temple (built after he conquered Orissa and married the princess of Orissa)
Then we went to Zanana enclosure which has the queen's palace, Lotus mahal, Elephant stable etc. Once you enter this place, you can see the base of queen's palace first and then the lotus mahal. Lotus mahal was built on Indo-Islamic architecture and it has cooling system.
Then we saw the elephant stable and mahout's quarters. There are some watchtowers visible here. On the way, we saw mint and a underground temple also.
Our next place of exploration was Hazararama temple which was built and known for its architectural beauty.
At the entrance, there is a hanuman sculpture carved on a stone.
Inside the temple, there are lot of statues and sculptures carved on the walls of temple and gopura. Some of them are, Mahisasura mardhini, Events from Ramayana like "Hanuman meeting sitadevi in Ashokavanam" "War with Ravana".. , Buddha.
Then we proceeded to King's palace and its enclosure. This covers a vast area. The entrance doors made up of stone are kept in the floor now. Elephants were used to open them when they were in use. First, we saw Mahanavami dibba, a place where festivals and processions (like Dasara) took place. We climbed it (using stairs) and got a good view of the entire place. We saw the aqueduct system used for water transportation into the palace.
The other places are: Secret chamber used for discussions, King's durbar, Pooja room, Dancing hall, Swimming pool, Well built on Egyptian architecture and dining place for soldiers (around 3 lakh!!). You can see the dining plate used for the soldiers (made up of stone and fixed to the ground). It takes more time to roam around here and it is better if you can go here before mid afternoon.
We went to Museum maintained by ASI(Archaeological Survey of India) where we saw sculptures, coins, pens(Ezhutthaani), palmleaf inscriptions (written in old kannada, Sanskrit, devanagari), weapons etc. You can see the photos there in which they showed some of the places before and after excavation. FYI, this museum is closed on Wednesday.
Next, we went to Vittala temple. Outside the temple, we saw the bazaar. When I entered the temple, I liked its praharam.
We saw the stone chariot (beautiful one) and musical pillars.
These musical pillars have sculptures with some instrument and it makes sound similar to that instrument when we strike the pillars and there is a pillar which can make "sabdaswaras". Its really a remarkable architectural skill they had while selecting and carving the stone for constructing these pillars. In one place, you can notice the plan of the temple carved on the wall.
After roaming around here, we left Hampi.
We went to Tungabadra dam, which is around 8km from Hospet. Reservoir was almost full and the waves are roaring. On this day, we couldn't go to Gardens and viewpoint since KSTDC people asked us to come earlier. So we came here the next day evening too. This time we climbed the rocky path to view point and had a good view of dam from there. We took some nice snaps from this viewpoint.
Then we went to Garden here and saw the dancing fountain(after 7 pm).We left this place and reached Hospet. From there, we started back with some tiredness and lot of memories.
P.S: Hampi was declared as "Endangered" World heritage site by UNESCO sometime back and now it is out of that endangered list. Thanks to ASI for maintaining this place well and our guide for describing about these places.A professor (with his family) accompanied us in the trip and he also gave some good explanation. Bicycles are available in KSTDC hotel (Mayura) which is just 4 km. from Hampi. It is interesting to make a bicycle trip to these places along with friends. Pack yourselves with enough water because the place is quite sunny.