Hampi – The city of victory…


Over the past couple of decades, both Sangeetha & me have been to Hampi several times – as part of our school trips, during our college days, with family and friends… But given the fact that there is so much to see, you can go there on multiple occasions and each time you’ll see something that you have missed earlier… Hampi is best experienced at a liesurely pace, over a couple of days.

This trip is from June 2007, when we had gone to Davanagere and on the way back, we went to Hampi, spent a few hours there and then drove on to Bangalore.
Though this particular trip was just for half a day and we covered only the main monuments, a much more detailed visit came later on day 6 of our our 7 day drive around Karnataka. I will not go into the historical details about Hampi since there is a wealth of information available on the net.

Since our visit was during the monsoons, the sky was overcast for most of the day and the drive was really pleasant with the sun playing hide and seek between the clouds…

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

The Tungabhadra dam was full to the brim and all the crest gates had been opened up…

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

The old bridge across the river was almost submerged…

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

We came across this huge truck transporting a huge industrial component. If you look carefully, the trailor has 8 wheels per row. So 96 wheels on the trailor and 10 wheels on the tractor unit… 106 wheels in all !

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

We hired a local guide to take us around and every once in a while we would run towards the rearest shelter since it was raining intermittently.

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

The one monument that has become a trademark for Hampi… the exquisite stone chariot in the Vitthala temple complex.
This photo from 1856 shows that the Chariot originally had a gopuram on top. I remember reading somewhere that the Gopuram was dismantled by a British officer since it was dilapidated and it’s weight was causing the chariot to crack. I also read elsewhere that there were two stone horses that were carved as if pulling the chariot… these were destroyed sometime in history by either invaders or perhaps the local denizens, in a quest to find treasure. Another simple explnanation could be that the stone horses were simply carted away centuries ago, to be installed elsewhere… in a temple or even in somebody’s mansion.

We took this photo at a temple in Chidambaram during our Tamilnadu temple trip. Perhaps the stone chariot in Hampi once had horses similar to this…

The chariot… in 2007.

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

We enjoyed walking around all the improtant monuments and listening to the interesting stories narrated by the guide… of course, some of his tales are quite baseless. But then again, if you do your research before going to Hampi, you’ll probably know more than the guide !

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

The Tungabhadra was in full flow… almost crossing the danger level. Some of the monuments on the banks of the river had been inaundated…

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

The existence of this stepped tank was unknown till the mid 1980s. Archeologists working on renovating the monuments were intrgiued by the fact that one of the aqueducts carrying water into the palace complex area seemed to have an outlet over a seemingly plain area. When the area was excavated, this beautiful tank emerged from beneath the centuries of dirt, mud and silt.

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

It is quite painful to see the systematic destruction and the subsequent vandalism all through Hampi. The faces of most of the carvings have been defaced…

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

Granite is one of the toughest materials to work with and it was used extensively throughout Hampi. Though the Hoysala temples may be much more intricate, the level of detailing that was achieved by the artisans of Hampi is notjhing short of miraculous…

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

Scenes from the Ramayana, carved on the outer walls of the Hazara rama temple…

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

This is the famous Lotus Mahal, an example of architecture from the later Vijayanagara period. Note the similarities with the Chandragiri palace near Tirupati.

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

The Elephant stables…

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

The Lakshmi Narasimha idol… (Not Ugra narasimha), the Idol of Lakshmi sitting on his lap has been hacked off, but you can see the remains of an arm wrapped around Narasimha on the left side of the idol.

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

The ‘Badavalinga’ – whose base is perennially submerged in water… Many guides will spin an aura of mystery around the source of the water and say something like "The base of the linga is never dry; and source of the water is a mystery…". This time around we had a very practical guide and when someone asked about the source of the water, he showed us the irrigation canals nearby which bring water to the fields around the temple and mentioned that the same water circulates into this temple as well…

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

The Sasuvekalu Ganesha…

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

The much bigger Kadlekalu Ganesha…

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

We ended our trip with a visit to the Virupaksha temple…

Hampi, Viajayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya, Hospet, Virupaksha

Sometime in the future, we intend to do a full three or four day trip to Hampi and explore the place thoroughly… preferably armed with a DSLR 🙂




2 comments to...
“Hampi – The city of victory…”
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g.hanumantha ramasagara hospet

hampi


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Purva

One of my best travel experiences so far has been in Hampi. My friend and I spent hours walking around the rocks and sitting at regular intervals just to admire the marvel this place is. The best part about this place is that it is not commercialised as yet. It is untouched. However, I hear a big hotel chain is coming around Hospet.Sadly, this means its ‘rawness’ and ‘innocence’ will get lost sooner or later.




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