July 12, 2015

Hampi...Land of Grand Temples

Continued from where we left at Hampi, Hemkuta Hill:

As further described by Abdur Razzek: Vijaynagar is built in such a manner that seven citadels and the same number of walls enclose each other. Around the first citadel are stones of the height of a man, one half of which is sunk in the ground while the other half rises above it. These are fixed one beside the other in such a manner that no horse or foot soldier could boldly or with ease approach the citadel." 
Razzaq describes the outer citadel as a "fortress of round shape, built on the summit of a mountain, and constructed of stones and lime. It has very solid gates, the guards of which are constantly at their post, and examine everything with severe inspection." Seventh fortress is the innermost of all and most protected as it used to serve as King’s residence."
"The space which separates the first fortress from the second, and up to the third fortress, is filled with cultivated fields and with houses and gardens. In the space from the third to the seventh one meets a numberless crowd of people, many shops, and a bazaar. By the king's palace are four bazaars, placed opposite each other. Above each bazaar is a lofty arcade with a magnificent gallery, but the audience-hall of the king's palace is elevated above all the rest. The bazaars are extremely long and broad." 

Thinking and deliberating on the magnificence of this place, we were now on the legendary Hemkuta Hill, it was the time to see and experience the large number of temples, archways and pavilions. The whole hill was fortified with tall wide stonewalls, the ruined remains of which can be seen till today. Hemkuta hill with reasonably flat expanse is one of the ideal places in Hampi to cherish the sunrise and sunset. 
According to the prevailing myth, once Lord Shiva was so impressed by the dedication of a local girl "Pampa" for him that he agreed to marry her. The occasion was celebrated by the Gods and it rained gold on this hill, which gave the present name to this hill (Hema in Sanskrit language means Gold). Hence majority of temples here are dedicated to Lord Shiva, the major one being the "Virupaksha temple", located at north of this hill. This hilltop and its slopes offer a splendid view of the sprawling ruins site.

Virupaksha temple surrounded by small temples.
Virupaksha temple is the principal temple in Hampi and an important pilgrimage centre for the worshipers of lord Shiva. The annual festivals attract huge crowds, Virupaksha temple is equally sought after by the tourists and pilgrims. It believed that this is the oldest functioning temple in India, as this temple has been functioning continuously ever since its inception in the 7th century AD. Virupaksha temple has been beautifully carved with numerous images of Gods and Goddesses.

One can reach the main entrance of temple through the chariot street in front of the Hampi Bazaar, just next to where the local bus stand. From the ticket counter close to the main entrance buy the entry ticket (Rs. 5), camera ticket (Rs. 50) and video camera fee (Rs 500). What an amazing piece of architecture? 

Virupaksha temple from inside: 

From the inner sanctum:
There is a long market outside Virupaksha temple and a number of bouldered structures, all in stones. Looks like once it has been a double story market.

This huge structure of monuments is located opposite to Virupaksha temple. I do not know what it was, but the sheer colossal size is amazing:

Next destination is the temple which even Lord Vishnu found too grand to his use and returned to live in his own home. yes we are talking of the most grand monument in Hampi, Vittala temple. the present look of the temple is attributed of Krishna Devaraya, the most acclaimed ruler of Vijayanagara dynasty. Temple complex is so big that it has shrines, pavilions and many halls located inside it. The famous "Stone Chariot", face of Karnataka tourism belongs to this temple.
Intricately carved Pillars                                                                                        Musical Pillars
The major attraction of this temple are the 56 musical pillars of Ranga Mantapa, one main pillar surrounded by a set of minor pillars. Pillars are called as "SAREGAMA" pillars courtesy to the musical notes emitted by them. Every main pillar is surrounded by 7 minor pillars. These 7 pillars emit 7 different musical notes of representative musical instruments. Sound quality depends on the type of instrument, whether wind, string or percussion type of musical instrument. These musical notes coming from the pillars has been a mystery to the people around the world. Even the 2 pillars were cut by then british rulers of India to solve this musical mystery. However nothing was found inside the pillars and the secret is still unknown. The 2 cut pillars can still be seen in the temple. These pillars are a true testimony to the technological acumen of those times. 

Rightly said the brilliance of this era will never be seen again ever. The aura of this place can not be described in words, lets hear the story from the stunning structures: 





Not only the huge structures, even the roofs are also delicately carved. Now the floodlights illuminate the Vittala temple complex and offers a majestic view of the complex. Purandaradasa Festival held annually in the month of February Attracts visitors from far off places. Hampi is a place where you can wander tirelessly for days, you will surely fall in love with the rocks. I was left spell bound.

Though in ruins now, but the aura is still intact for these monuments.

The Lotus Palace:
All of these were gradually reduced to ruins as the Empire fell to the invaders coming from North India in 1565 after the Battle of Talikota and this beautiful region was mercilessly plundered. Indeed one of the biggest losses to the civilizations, “Lost was a city, a region the brilliance of which will never be seen again in future”. Hampi has been declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Ruins still held their esteem and provide glimpses into the prosperity this place has seen.

To reach Hampi:
Nearest railhead is Hospet, 13 km away and Toranagallu station, 25 Kms. There are about 10 daily trains and about 5 special trains to the station, which ply once or twice a week. From Bangalore, Hampi Express is the best option.
Nearest Airport is Bangalore, around 350 Km. from Hampi
Hampi is well connected by roads to almost every nearby city.

Keep travelling Guys...




Reactions:

8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Arun for dropping by...Hampi is too beautiful for a place which only has ruins structures,...

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Manu...I had only 1 day to cover as much I could have, but this place surely can be enjoyed over 3-4 days...

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  3. Nicely covered. Vittala temple is my favorite :D

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    Replies
    1. Hampi is a fascinating place, where stones do the talking...
      If given a chance to be posted in Hampi, I will be an archaeologist or excavator for ever...

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