Heritage tour – Hampi,Aihole,Pattadakal,Badami Part-I

Two years back in December when we planned for Uttara Kannada trip we had to remove heritage sites Hampi-Badami from our list due to time constraints. From then we had Hampi-Badami in our mind and time came for it after 2 years…we planned for it for this diwali (2015) vacation. After reading through various blogs and sites I made a plan of 5 day trip and prepared the itinerary and route. Hotel booking was done by our friend Anand.

My family (husband Abhijeet , daughter Saee and me) , our family friend Anand with his famliy (wife Prajakta, daughter Mukta and son Arjun) and our black beast….(without which not a single trip of ours could be planned) were all set for the heritage tour.

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Here is how we executed our trip –

12th Nov – Pune To Hospet via NH9 and NH13 (Solapur-Vijayapura-hundgund-hospet) (585 KM)

13th Nov – Stay @ Hospet

14th Nov – Hospete-Aihole-Pattadakal-Badami

15thNov – Stay@Badami

16th Nov – Badami-Pune NH4 (505KM)

Total distance travelled – 1390 KMS

Detailed tour

12th Nov – Plan was to start early morning at 5.15 AM from our home@Wakad and then picking up Anand & his family from Akurdi @5.30 AM. We managed to leave from our place at 5.20 AM after performing Diwali Padawa rituals, reached Anand’s home at 5.35 am and waited… and waited some more and then some more…

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Started from Akurdi at 6 AM…children were in sleep mode. Our first stop was at ATM center and then at Petrol pump.  After feeding our black beast at around 9 AM we had our breakfast at some restaurant on solapur highway. Few of us ordered misal-pav  – it can never fail…right? Wrong. We were proven wrong by the restaurant.

Till Solapur it was straight highway with roads in very good condition, from Solapur we took right for Vijaypura and the road conditions were bad. Again from Vijayapura it was all highway…with loads of Toll gates. In the noon we started feeling hungry and were looking for some good restaurant on highway – but to our surprise there was not a single good restaurant where you could dine in with family. Meanwhile,We had Diwali Pharal (Chakali,Ladoos, Chivda, Shev, Shakarpara) packed with us so started munching that. We came across few but all were small dhabas  and then at one of the toll gate we asked for any good restaurant nearby and we were told only Hundgund is the place where can get better place to eat. We stopped at the first decent hotel we found in Hundgund – luckily they had a separate family section and to our surprise food was super tasty. In Pune we are used to paying high bills at restaurant but here super tasty food with low cost. We all were delighted with food, service and the cost.

After lunch we started at around 3.00 PM from Hundgund. We had our booking at Hotel Royal Orchid in Hospete. Reached Hospete at around 4.30 PM. We checked in our hotel and hotel was good with lovely ambiance  and they welcomed us with nice welcome drink.

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We relaxed for some time at hotel and visited Tungbhadra dam which was around 6 Km from our hotel.

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To see the view of dam we have to park our own vehicles and get on to their bus service. Its about 3-4 kms. When we reached there, bus was full and we went standing. Bus runs after every 5-10 mins. From the top dam view is very beautiful and you can also get the garden view. After clicking some snaps we went to bus stop..as the bus came in there was rush so we waited for next bus to come. In the next bus we got seats..while returning bus stops at garden so that people who want to see garden can get down then again the bus stops at point where they have musical fountain show.And then the last stop is main gate from where you get the bus. After getting down from bus we had some raw mangoes (kairi). There are few sellers selling amla, imli, raw mangoes (all khatti mitti things…)..its yummy you know!!.

We were back to our hotel had nice dinner at their garden restaurant..food was good but the service was very slow. Now it was time to call off of our day.

13th Nov – Next day in the morning after having breakfast we started for World heritage site Hampi which is at around 12 KM form our hotel. We reached Hampi at around 10 AM and purchased some caps and hired a guide (generally a English speaking guide costs between Rs. 1600 to 2000) so that we get to know the history and basically route to all the spots in Hampi as it spread over an area more than 25 square kilometers.

First lets dig into history of Hampi. The name Hampi also mean “champion”. It is located within the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire who ruled the south India during 14th to 16th century AD. The emperor Ashoka’s minor rock edicts in Bellary district lead one to believe that this region was within the Ashokan kingdom during the 3rd century BC. A Brahmi inscription & a terracotta seal dating to the 2nd century CE were also discovered from the excavation site.The site is significant historically and architecturally. The Archaeological Survey of India continues to conduct excavations in the area, to discover additional artifacts and temples.Hampi is declared as World Heritage site by UNSECO

Hampi also has some of  mythological connection as well related to lord Shiva and also birth place of lord Hanumana and Kishkinda nagari.

Hampi is packed with temples, palaces, markets and many other ancient monuments.

First we visited Sasivekalu Ganesha on south of Hemkuta hills.On this statue one can see the snake carved around his tummy. The hand which holds modak (sweet) is broken and not reconstructed. This monolithic statue carved out of a huge boulder measures about 2.4 meters (8 feet). An open pavilion is build around the statue.

Guide telling history..

Guide telling history..

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Sasivekalu Ganesha

 

back side of ganesha

Backside of Sasivekalu Ganesha

Hemkuta hills has a group of  Jain temples.

Next was Badaviling temple –  is dedicated to the Hindu god lord Shiva. It has a 3-meter high monolithic lingam, a representation of Lord Shiva, carved out of a single rock.

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Badavilinga

Next to it is –Lakshmi – Narasimha Temple

Narasimha

This is the largest statue in Hampi. Narasimha is sitting on the coil of a giant seven-headed snake called Sesha. The heads of the snake acts as the hood above his head. The god sits in a cross-legged Yoga position with a belt supporting the knees. The statue is also referred as Ugra Narasimha. The original statue contained the image of goddess Lakshmi, sitting on his lap. But this statue has been damaged seriously during the raid leading to the fall of Vijayanagara. Even the damaged portion of such a large statue of Lakshmi carved on his lap is missing. But the goddess’s hand is visible resting on his back.

Queen’s Bath – It is located close to the entrance of the Royal Enclosure in Hampi.The Queen’s Bath is believed to be constructed by Achyuta Raya for the women of the royal family of Vijayanagara. Though named as the Queen’s Bath, it was in all probability used as the private bathing chamber of the king and his queens. It is built in the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. There is no ceiling over the bath and it is open to the sky. It is also connected to an aqueduct for fresh water supply. The building has a moat surrounding it on all sides. There is a bridge to cross the moat and reach the bath. It is believed that the moat was designed to prevent anyone from entering the building while the bath was in use. Near to Queen’s bath there is Saraswati temple. It is believed that after bath Queens used to visit this temple.

Inside of Queens Bath

Inside of Queens Bath

Shower in Queens Bath

Talarigatta Gate – was one of the main entrance points into the urban center of the capital from the riverside. The main road to Talarigatta from Kamalapura pass through this arched structure. This largely damaged structure still maintains its original intent, a gateway on the main road. A small shrine of Hanuman is located in front of the gate.

Talarigatta Gate

Talarigatta Gate

Vittala Temple is one of the most extravagant architectural showpiece of Hampi. There are many halls, pavilions and temples located inside this campus.

You cannot take your own vehicle directly to the Vittala temple. One has park it around 1.5 km away from the main temple and take the bus provided by Hampi World Heritage Area Managment Authority.

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Way to Vittala Temple

Way to Vittala Temple

Attraction in Vittala temple –

Bazar lane outside of temple

Stone Chariot

Maha-Mantapa-The main highlight of the Maha-Mantapa is its richly carved giant monolithic pillars.

Muscial hall – The outermost of the pillars are popularly called the musical pillars.

Kalayna Mantapa – the ceremonial marriage hall, it is 100-pillared hall.

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After Vittala temple – we had our lunch at Tamrind tree hotel and we were welcomed by a peacock in the parking area. This is small hotel with nice sitting area. Food was nice…especially the banana flower subzi was amazing.

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Next on the list was Royal Enclosure – the area is spread over many hundreds square meter and is scattered with many number of interesting relics – Mahanavami Dibba, King’s Audience Hall, Stepped tank.

Basically Royal enclosure area is a wide-open ground with little shelters inside.

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Then there is Zanana enclosure – was a secluded area reserved for the royal women.The major attraction is the Lotus Mahal.

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The Elephant stables is behind the Zenana Enclosure.The path to the other locations like the Elephant Stable, Guard’s Quarters and a few other temples’ runs through the center of this area. The whole area is now made into a sort of open garden with lawns.

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Next was underground Shiva temple – this temple dedicated for Lord Siva was built many meters below the ground level. For this reason, almost all the time the sanctum and the core parts of the temple are under water, restricting entry to the inner areas.

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A water canal system too is visible around the main temple. But this canal is dry and you can walk down to a point from where it’s impossible to go further. There is a small temple for Siva’s consort too near the mail shrine. The Kalyanamantapa (ceremonial marriage hall) is a great looking structure. It has been believed that this is one of the oldest temples in Hampi.

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Then it was time for Coracle ride-  Entry to this place is from the far end of the Hampi bazaar opposite to the Virupaksha temple. From this point you have walk for about 10 minutes to reach the place where you can hire coracle. You can visit Kodanda Rama Temple here. We spent half an hour riding the coracle. The pilot shows various small temples on the sides of the banks. If you ask he will also stop and you can visit the temple and come back. This was very nice, scenic ride and our kids enjoyed it a lot. You happen to see different kinds of birds also. Also if you ask the pilot he will row the boat round and round like a merry-go-round..simply amazing experience.

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After having fun ride when we were back to parking there were all monkeys on our vehicle..managed to get nice click of one of them..

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Then we visited Virupaksha temple. Virupaksha Temple is the main center of pilgrimage at Hampi and has been considered the most sacred sanctuary over the centuries. It is fully intact among the surrounding ruins and is still used in worship. It is dedicated to lord Shiva.

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While leaving temple at the entrance of the temple we met an important inmate in the temple, the elephant. The elephant trained such that only if give him 10 rupee note he gives you blessing. And that was lovely part our kids enjoyed it.

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That was the end of our yet another magnificent day…we said bye and thanks to our guide for covering most of the places in a day. Through out day whenever we asked our guide about any place..he used to say “ek din mein nahi hota..4 days to chahiye” in his typical south Indian accent.

Among the planned sites at Hampi we were left with two – Mathanga hills and Achutaraya temple. So we planned it for next day morning. Actually we wanted to see Sunrise from Mathanga hills but with small kids with us that was next to impossible to wake-up so early after having such a busy day.

We reached our hotel at Hospete had buffet dinner and called off our day.

14 Nov – After having breakfast we started at 8.30 AM for Mathanga hills Hampi. It is located at the centre of Hampi, and also the highest point, Mathanga hilltop is the best spot to get an aerial view of Hampi.The trek can take about thirty minutes. The rooftop of the Veerabhadra Temple is the  place to the sunrise and sunset of Hampi.

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Panoramic view..

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At the foot hill you will find status of Nandi- Monolithic bull. Then we visited Achyuta Rayas temple  – dedicated to Lord Tiruvengalanatha, a form of Vishnu , was constructed by a high officer in Achyuta Raya’s court and hence the name.

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There was small government shop next to police station near Hampi bazar..visited the shop and bought some khadi clothes – as a memory from Hampi.

Then we started our journey toward next heritage site – Aihole. On the way to Aihole had some Guava’s from road side sellers. And also there were plenty of sunflower farms on the road side. We stopped at one and took some snaps.

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Continued to part-II….

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