Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Trip to Hampi: Magically sail to those Times of Glory

I am sure that many have written their travelogues on Hampi from time immemorial, err, I mean from times of Lord Ram and Hanuman till today, from times of Kishkinda of Dandakaranya with most sacred Pampa sarovara to Vijayanagara to modern day Hampi. I see this as never ending fable in praise of limitless and His love for this place. They say, you would return dejected as you would seep in the sorrow of seeing Hampi ruins, but I, have made up my mind to revisit since I am caught speechless by the imagination and infinite stories, by that of irrigation systems and structural engineering, by that of the glory and intelligence of our forefathers. Hampi- for sure is a place for those who love history, architecture and stories. It is limitless and of limitless!

I spent first 3 hours at Virupaksha temple. It is believed that this temple has been functioning uninterruptedly ever since its inception in the 7th century AD. Most of the temples here in Hampi have been damaged some way or other and not fit for Puja. If I am not wrong, there are only two functional temples in Hampi- Virupaksha and Malyavanta Raghunatha Temple, only place where Lord Ram is in sitting posture. Post Virupaksha temple, we walked the bazaar lane to reach monolithic Nandi. Another 15 min walk we were at Cave temples of Ram {kondandarama temple} and Yantroddaraka Anjaneya temple, Chakratheertha, established by Vysasatheerta in 15th century. Vyasatheerta used to often sight Anjaneya and wanted to capture him in “yantra” so that he could worship him. This is a very holy and sacred place of worship for saints {Udupi Pejavara Swamiji was initiated to Sanyasa here}. We took a coracle boat ride to Purandara Dasa mantapa, where renowned saint and poet, who gave up his wealth worth 9 crores and turned philosopher, Purandara Dasa meditated. This place is really magical. From there we walked to what is popular known as Hampi group of monuments, which consists of the Vitthala Temple with the Stone Chariot, and the musical Mandapas, and the King’s balance.

That evening I got lucky- it was last day of auspicious Karthika month of Hindu calendar and at Virupaksha temple, villagers had come over to spend their night. They lit up entire premises beautifully with diyas and there was a pallakki utsava of Shiv and Parvathi, led by elephant, Lakshmi. I was transported back in time! A Russian lady walked up to me, understood more on what was happening and left me with a sentence- “I have never experienced anything beautiful before!

Next day, we started series of temple visits with Mustard & Groundnut Ganesha, followed by Sri Krishna Temple, Ugra Narasimha Vigraha and the Badavalinga, Veerabadra temple, Lotus Mahal, Elephant’ stable, underground Shiva temple, Queen’s bath, Hazara Rama Temple, Fort area, remains of official chambers, Mahanavami Dibba {modern day parliament}, Kamalapura museum, Pattabirama temple and Malyavanta Ragunatha temple, where Ram spent 4 months, chaturmasya. I would probably end up writing books if I start writing on each one of them. Every place is for sure treat to be and I suggest you don’t pack this in a day like I did!

Last day at Hampi, we crossed over Tungabhadra River on a 10rs ticket boat to reach the other side, Virupapur Gadde. Here we started off with visiting Pampa Sarovara {purana’s say this is one among 4 sacred sarovara’s of India- includes Manasa Sarovara as well} and Sabari Caves, where Sabari waited for Lord Ram. From there, we visited some cave sites to check out 14th century unexplored paintings. Next stop was at Anegundhi Gagan Mahal palace and Ranganthaswamy temple, on the way to Vaali Parvata which has Durga temple. Post this we visited Chintamani, from where Ram shot his arrow towards Vaali who was fighting Sugreeva in neighboring hill. You’ll be reassured of Ram’s archery skills here! We climbed up Anjanadri hill, the birthplace of the Monkey god, Hanuman and ended the day with visiting mesmerizing Sanapur lake reservoir. Magical end to my journey in the Times backtracked, unexpected and unexplored!

We took the overnight Hampi Express from Bangalore and reached Hospet. Hampi is 14kms aways from Hospet- accessible by bus and auto{don’t forget to bargain!}. I came back to catch overnight bus to Bangalore at the same place. Eating at Hampi is a delight. Every restaurant has similar menu. Must tries- oats, pastas, pizza, all sort of lassies, parota’s, paddu at Brahmin’s vatara and sunset at Hemakoota hills! I spent 3 days there. Got out from the shack by 8.30am and returned at sunset. Enjoyed every meal with those trance music and drank gallons of water. Hired guides {very senior Mallikarjuna and very junior Maruthi} and did innumerous attempts to capture the mesmerizing sights in my camera. I would revisit. This is my Hampi. You, discover your Hampi- your own ruined sandalwood castle, inverted gopura on your palms and meditating Hanuman in your hearts!

A photo posted by Jaideep Rao (@jaideeprao) on
A photo posted by Jaideep Rao (@jaideeprao) on  
[Special thanks to Vikas, Archi and Adyasha for making this trip memorable]