Hampi is about 750 kms from Bombay
- Optimistic hope of making it to the Hermitage for the Parsi-Anglo-Indian (go figure) lunch asserted by our hosts
- No cell phone coverage or TV, a total guest capacity of seven and eco-everything.....
(IIP) - Hampi is about 750 kms from Bombay. We decided to take it easy and meander a bit along the way. Stop and smell the sugarcane, so to speak. While searching online for overnighter options en route, I stumbled upon a fascinating place. The Hermitage is a secluded 45-acre working farm in the middle of the forested Western Ghats, about an hour further down Belgaum. It's like a cool home stay ranch -the slight difference being the electric fencing keeping bears and wildcats out.
We started really early on the excellent Mumbai-Belgaum highway, in the optimistic hope of making it to the Hermitage for the Parsi-Anglo-Indian (go figure) lunch asserted by our hosts. Even with the inevitable directional missteps, the relatively fewer breaks afforded by strangely enlarged bladder capacities of my companions in the car meant that we just about made it there in time for lunch. After a wonderfully eccentric repast (much like the owners themselves), we had a chance to soak in our surroundings. The place is an absolute hidden gem, the operative word being hidden. You literally have to go off the road into a forest trail, be convinced that you've lost your way (the directions include being "on the lookout for paintings of owls, which may or may not be there") and worry sick about the state of your tires before you finally sight it.
With no cell phone coverage or TV, a total guest capacity of seven and eco-everything, it is the place to get away from it all. You can read, take guided forest hikes, tank up on hot spiced rum, swim under a waterfall or just kick back and breathe in air way fresher than at Aer.
Hampi is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. It is 353 km from Bangalore and 74 km away from Bellary. Hosapete(Hospet), 13 km away, is the nearest railway head. Guntakal Jn S.C.Railway just 99 km from Guntakal, which is also on the banks of Tunghabhadra, in AP is some 150 km away
Hampi has various notable Hindu temples with some vedanta theology inside the temples, some of which are still active places of worship.Among the most notable are:
• Achyutaraya Temple
• BadaviLinga :This is the largest Linga image in Hampi. Located next to the Lakshmi Narasimha statue the Linga is housed inside a chamber with an opening in the front. A close look on this icon can reveal three eyes (depicting the three eyes of Shiva) carved on it. Legend has it that this was commissioned by a peasant woman and hence the name (Badva means poor in local tongue).The sanctum in which the Linga is installed is always filled with water as a water channel is made to flow through it.According to Hindu theology the River Ganga (Ganges) was brought from swarga to earth to quench the drought. But the river was so forceful that it could split the earth into two pieces if allowed to fall on earth. Lord Shiva consented to take the impact by allowing the torrent of Ganga to fall on his matted hair. Thus helping to release a smooth flowing river on to earth from his hair. As an iconic representation of this, in Siva temples you can spot a dripping pot hanged over the Linga.
• Chandramauleshwara Temple
• Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy temple was constructed in the ancient style of architecture, the temple of Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy stands 3 km down the road. Its inner walls flaunt peculiar and interesting motifs of fish and marine creatures.
• Hazara Rama Temple Complex: This ruined temple complex is well known for elaborate frescoes from the Hindu theosophy and a sprawling courtyard well-laid with gardens. It is well known for more than many thousand carvings & inscriptions on & in the temple depicting the mighty story of Ramayana. It has about 1000 carvings & inscriptions depicting the story of Ramayana.
• Jain Temple : Reliefs of Jain temples are present in this area hat includes Hemkut Jain temples, Ratnantraykut, Parsvanath Charan and Ganigatti jain temple. Most of the idols are now missing from these temples. Ruins suggest that these temples belong to 14th century.
• Krishna Temple Complex: This is an ASI protected monument, which was built in 1513 CE during the reign of king Krishnadevaraya after his successful campaign against the Gajapatis of Orissa. There is a halegannada (old Kannada) stone inscription by Krishnadevaraya dating to 1513 CE in the premises just before the temple. This temple was abandoned since the fall of Vijayanagara and there is no active worship today. Krishna temple bazaar has been excavated through the last decade, and restoration work is still in progress. The temple has the Sacred Tank or the Pushkarani located on its eastern side.
• Vittala Temple Complex:This is perhaps the most famous and well-known among the ruins of Hampi. The iconic stone chariot in the vicinity of this temple complex is a symbol of Karnataka Tourism. Unfortunately it had a brick tower above it which was demolished.Of late, floodlights have been installed in the temple complex that provide illumination at dusk, thereby adding to the grandeur of the architecture.
The great “swing-pavilion” of this temple is one of the technical marvels of Vijayanagara architecture. The temple houses the famous musical pillars.
The road leading to the temple was once a market where the horses were traded. Even today, we can see the ruins of the market on both the sides of the road. The temple contains the images of foreigners like Persians selling horses.
• Muslim Sunni masjid
• Preksha temple and groups
• Saasivekaalu Ganesha
• Virupaksha Temple known as the Pampavathi temple, it is an ancient temple situated in the Hampi Bazaar. It predates the founding of the Vijayanagara empire. The temple has three gopuras (entrance towers). A large 160-foot (49 m) high tower as its main entrance towards east, a smaller second entrance tower leading to inner temple courtyard after the main gopura, and another one towards north known as the Kanakagiri gopura, leading to a small enclosure with subsidiary shrines and eventually to the river Tungabhadra. The smaller inner gopura and the beautiful mandapa (an open pillared hall or pavillion) were dedicated to the temple by king Krishnadevaraya on his coronation in 1510 CE, making them over 500 years old. The Apart from Shiva, the temple complex also contains shrines of the erotica statues Bhuvaneshwari and Pampa.
• Prasanna Virupaksha Temple: This temple is also popularly known as the “Underground Shiva temple” as it was almost covered up in the ground before being excavated.
• Yantrodharaka Anjaneya temple