Majestic, Mystical, Magical Hampi…

I must say daydreamed and tripped.

Hampi is the place I was planning to explore since last 2 years and now when I am on the verge of shifting out of Kolhapur, a hippie in me wanted it more desperately.

Finally we decided to take off…

After a long journey (7 hrs drive from Kolhapur) and without much to see outside the car window, we finally entered the area. But then, when we saw the rocky mountains, we realised that next 3 days were going to take us to a completely different era.

Hospet is the nearest town to Hampi, about 14 kms & is well connected with different places. But we choose to stay closer to Hampi that is in Kamalapur. It is a neighbouring village where all the Hampi residents have been shifted due to UNESCO activities.

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Rocky hills around the Hampi

Here is the brief insight of the place I dreamt of:

Hampi previously known as Pampa Kshetra, Kishkinda Kshetra, Bhaskara Khsetra.

Like all the ancient places, Hampi too has its own set of myths. It goes something like this: Two local chiefs, Hakka & Bukka, report of an unusual sight they saw during a hunting journey to their guru. A hare chased by their hound suddenly turns brave and start chasing back the hound. Vidyaranya, the guru, tells them that the place is special and asks them to set up their local capital at this place. And the seed of an Empire was sown.

The history of this region can be pushed back to the Mauryan period. But mainly by the end of the 13th century, affected by Islamic invasion, southern powers resisted and raised “The Vijaynagara Empire”. The Sangama brothers Harihara and Bukka carved a Kingdom between 1336-1342 AD and founded this splendid city Vijaynagara with Hampi as its capital. Over the next two centuries (1336 AD – 1565 AD) four dynasties ruled Vijayanagar. History of Vijayanagar has been a saga of resistance against the Northern Sultanates as well as building of its spectacular capital in Hampi. However this city never regained its original glory after its dramatic fall and destruction in 1565 AD.

This region speaks volumes of history, Hampi is also believed to be the ancient “Kishkinda” of Ramayana period. The name Hampi was derived from the word “Pampa” which is the old name of Tungbhadra river, on whose bank the city is situated.

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Whenever I go to historical places like forts, palaces, temples, lakes I always imagine its heyday times and I just go numb every single time. The picture stands in front of me… people wearing traditional dresses, jewellery are roaming around… Tongas, Bullock Carts, Chariots running on the roads… women are busy with daily chores like grocery buying or shopping (obviously 😉 😛 )… the place would have lightened and decorated at special occasions and festivals… I always picture the place at peak of its blossom era.  I feel ecstatic. Yeah I am a dreamy person.

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Adjacent surrounding of Vijaya Vitthal Mandir 

Even after a hectic journey, of course for the drivers 😛 , we decided to start the exploration (as I call it). We hired a Tour Guide, a must have, for next couple of days. With very little time on hand, with the setting sun in sight, we started with Vijaya Vitthal Mandir, the most beautiful site in Hampi (according to me). As we reached there, we left our car in a parking lot and transferred to battery operated vehicle to reach the temple arena. Otherwise it is a very nice idea to take a long walk through the walkway, but as we were running out of time we decided to go with the vehicle. Our tour guide told the story that saint Pundalik escaped with the Vitthal Murti when Hampi was attacked and the same murti placed in Pandharpur, Maharashtra. We were going through an array of stone pillars and pushkarni (water tanks formed as ponds) on the right hand side and huge boulders on the left hand side. One can actually get the taste of carvings of the main temple and its massive area on the way itself. The big entrance welcomed us and we entered into a totally charged up atmosphere. A stone chariot, massive mandaps, beautiful carved pillars, a centuries old tree… I felt like I was becoming invisible to the world. ( I was so charged by the view that I forgot to capture it 😦 )

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My boy posing for cam 🙂

The whole architecture has been set up around the stone chariot. There are number of mandaps surrounding the chariot. The left side is covered with beautiful carved pillared halls known as waiting halls. There is a “Sangeet Mandap”, a music hall I got most amazed by. We still can hear the beautiful sound of chimes when we tap the pillars with our fingers and to our amusement, our guide told us that these pillars were solid, unlike what we thought of it being hollow. He even showed us ruined pillar remains. The circle completes with “Bhajan Mandap”, a prayer hall. The main hall at the center is “Utsav Mandap”, this place might have witnessed grand festivals, royal weddings, puja rituals and the glory at its time. Over enthusiast tourist have already damaged the musical pillars of this hall and rightfully so, the entry to this hall is barred for the tourists. But a good thing is repairing and fixing of this hall is in progress and soon we will get to see the mandap in well condition, thanks to UNESCO. The temple was built in The King Achyutdevraya dynasty and hence it is also known as Achyutraya Temple. One can get the full picturesque panoramic view from nearby hill.

I was magnetized by so many intrinsic carvings of dancers, soldiers, elephants and horses, swans, forms of Narsimha, stone loops & various sculptures all created in granite. At the same time we were hypnotized by folklores, myths & unbelievable art we were witnessing.

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The main attraction of this place – Stone Chariot
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Waiting Halls
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Garbhagriha
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Utsav Mandap
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Musical Pillars at Utsav Mandap
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A different kind of pillars in Sangeet Mandap
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Random view
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Bhajan Mandap
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an old tree
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from the hill

I was getting strange feelings when I was about to leave the place but I had no other choice with limited time at hand… there was still so much on my bucket list.

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Leaving the place 😦

We moved to the Malyavanta hill to see Raghunathaswamy temple. The workmanship here is beautiful and the location of this temple is very peaceful. It is believed that Ram, Lakshman & Sita when in vanvas lived here for some time. The pujas are still performed in this temple so you get that divine feeling here unlike many other temples in Hampi. But what I loved the most is the hillock behind the temple.

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Raghunathaswamy temple

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Hillock behind the temple

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sunset view

At the end of the day I saw three important pillars of my life sitting there and enjoying the view… that was the most beautiful sight for me that time.

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My family enjoying the view

I sat there for a while to watch the sunset. The sun has already left the golden glow behind and I was summarizing today’s events…how empires rise and fall. I have seen so little of this empire till now, will I be able to explore all the things in a next day?

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