“To Travel is to Live,Life is short and the World is Wide”
Anegundi = Ane + Gundi which translates to elephant + pit. Anegundi is on the northern bank of river Tungabhadra. It is said that royal elephants of Vijayanagara empire were brought here for bathing, hence the name Anegundi. Anegundi is believed to be the monkey kingdom of Kishkindha. Mysticism surrounds this ancient city.There are quite a few places you can visit – the main ones are the Anjaneya Parvat, Pampa sarovar , Ranganatha Temple and Gagan palace. Anjanadri hill is believed to be the birth place of Hanuman. Rishyamukha hill is where Sugreeva lived and Rama & Laxmana met Hanuman on this hill. It is believed that Rama and Laxmana had bathed in Pampa Sarovara.
After the trip to Badami, the next day was the exciting scooty/bike ride to Anegundi.We were ready at the designated time and proceeded for breakfast which was at Mowgli.We ordered different types of Parathas and shared with each other. After breakfast the confusion started on who was to ride with whom (which the tour leader should have sorted out/finalised the previous evening). After a lot of confusion it was found that there were more pillions than riders.
Some of the not so confident riders refused to take pillions, all this caused a lot of embarassment to the ones who could not ride.The ones who could not ride had clearly informed about their inability to ride while booking the tour and the organisers/tour leader should have sorted this out well before the D-Day. There were six lady members without a vehicle and at the last minute a 4 seater auto rickshaw was hired for these six ladies causing much inconvenience to them for the journey to Anegundi and the exciting journey turned out to quite uncomfortable.
The scooties hired were not in good condition badly maintained and one was with a defective brake.The roads leading to Anegundi were quite bad and on our return trip, a lady member suffered a fall from the scooty as its brake did not work when she landed on a pothole. The organisers – Mumbai Travellers obviously did not pay much attention towards the safety of the travellers.
Pillion riding with my roomie to Anegundi
I was fortunate and thankful that my roomie took me pillion although the scooty we rode was not well maintained and with God’s grace fortunately we did not meet with any mishap.The bad roads however were scenic with green paddy fields and coconut trees and egrets and flamingos covering the wetlands. We stopped enroute to take some photographs and after a short ride of about thirty minutes, we reached Anegundi where we got attracted to an abandoned chariot and took a few photographs.
After parking our vehicles we visited the Gagan Palace which now converted into a municipality building was closed being a Sunday. So we could only see the structure from outside.
Next we proceeded to see the Ranganatha temple, the exterior of which is very simple and one may just miss it.The temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu.
Thereafter we proceeded to Sanapur Lake where we took a short Coracle Boat ride to reach the the lake.
It was 12.30 pm and the sun was shining mercilessly on us ,so we located a shady place and settled down.
The waters of the lake was however very inviting and some of us jumped into the lake to enjoy the cool waters and some members displayed their swimming prowess.
Soon a lunch of steaming hot rice along with chicken & fish curry was served while the vegetarians had vegetables,dal,papad pickle and curd. By the time we finished lunch it was 4 pm when it was time to move on. We enjoyed the short Coracle Boat ride again. After reaching ashore, I decided to change places with a friend of mine and travelled in the autorickshaw.
Our next stop was at the Anjaneya Hill,Hanuman temple.
It was a flight of 565 steps which I managed to climb in less than an hour, taking intermittent short breaks to catch my breath and take small sips of water. Beware of the monkeys here which are a plenty to accost you and snatch your mobile/camera.After reaching the top,I headed for darshan of Hanumanji.
Photography inside the temple is prohibited. After the darshan I took some photographs and while I was busy clicking, a monkey took out my water bottle and tried opening the bottle desperately and returned it when he couldn’t succeed.We thought he was thirsty so we opened the bottle and gave it to him but he was not interested ! Perhaps the bright colour of the bottle attracted him and he was just inquisitive about the contents of the bottle 🙂
I set out to explore the place while other members went for darshan of the deity.
After exploring the place I began my descend while some members waited for the sunset.Since I didn’t wait for the sunset I requested a member of our group to share the pictures and I am grateful for the same.
I reached down around 1745 hrs and headed for a cup of tea where there are many stalls selling tea,snacks , coconut water etc. After tea, I sipped on coconut water(Rs 30).Rest of the group came down around 1845. While waiting I took some Photographs.
Some of the group members did not climb the hill and had returned to the hotel, I took a ride back with our tour leader.
We reached our Hotel around 8pm after resting for a while headed to have dinner at Nagrilla restaurant at 9 pm. Being Christmas Eve, the restaurant was very crowded and the service was very very slow.However we enjoyed the evening and had our dinner leisurely as it was our last day in the island.We returned to our room and called it a day as we had to check out early next morning.
The last day was reserved for some sightseeing – the most important place being the Vithal Temple.The planned check out time was 9 am, some of us were ready but none of the tour leaders could be seen.Our tolerance for inefficiency had run down which landed us knocking at the doors of the tour leaders who woke up after hard knocking at their doors for quite some time. We were advised to proceed for breakfast at Goutami where they would soon meet up.
We ordered English Set breakfast which was quite filling as it comprised of hash potatoes, two Toasts, cream cheese, Spinach and mushroom omlette and a big mug of coffee.The service was prompt and by 10 am we finished our breakfast and returned to the hotel only to discover that the tour leaders and some of the group members were still not ready.
The last day was reserved for cycling but with so much time lost that could not be done.We finally moved from the hotel at 12pm and by the time we crossed the river, it was 12.45 pm.Some more time was wasted in hiring the autorickshaws.At last the luggage was loaded and we made our way to Lotus Mahal.We passed the underground Shiva temple where we made a short stop (we missed this on the first day as we were late) and enjoyed a glass of refreshing lime soda(the hawker was quite entertaining as he prepared each glass and handed over to us).
The construction of the temple dates back to 14th century.The Temple remained buried for Four hundred years and was discovered in the 1980s.The underground Shiva temple is also known as the Prasanna Virupaksha temple. It is located a few metres below the ground level. The roof of the temple is at par with the present ground level while the main structure of the temple stands on a low lying area. The reason behind such a unique location for the construction of the temple is not known
It is pertinent to note that the sanctum of the temple remains submerged under stagnant water throughout the year. During the monsoon season, extending from June to August, the water level rises inside the temple and submerges the floor of the maha mantapa and other mantapas.The temple is surrounded with lush green lawns.The temple’s proximity to the nobleman’s quarters indicates that the royal family might have used the temple for their private ceremonies. Entry to the temple is free and it remains open till 6pm.Photography is permitted.
We thereafter proceeded to Lotus Mahal also known as Kamal Mahal or Chitragani Mahal. Entry inside the palace is not allowed due to safety reasons.Lotus mahal is in the Zenana Enclosure a secluded area reserved for the royal women.It is astonishing to note that this beautiful structure was left undamaged during the siege of the city.
Surrounded by walls and four watch towers on each corner,Lotus Mahal’s base begins with traditional Vijaynagar architectural style but the superstructure is representative of the Islamic architecture. After spending sometime here, taking photographs and resting on the green lawns which surrounds the enclosure.We proceeded to visit The Elephant stables and a small museum which is close to the Lotus Mahal.
An important monument in Hampi, the elephant stables is a beautiful structure which acted as shelter for the royal elephants of the Vijayanagar empire.It survived the damages of the Mughal attacks that led to the fall of the Vijayanagar empire. It was constructed in the15th century. The temple represents the amazing craftsmanship of the artisans of that era. It is one of the finest examples of Indo-Islamic style of architecture. There are eleven huge chambers, each of them large enough to accommodate two elephants at a time. There are small doorways in the walls between the arches
Another structure nearby has been considered as either the mahouts chambers or maybe guards quarters. Today, it is a mini-museum, displaying sculptures found in this enclosure.There is a stone Elephant outside the museum attracting everyone’s attention, tourists taking photographs and children trying to climb up!
After taking photographs of both the structures we proceeded to Saasivekaalu Ganesha temple.
Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple is a huge statue of Lord Ganesha, carved out of a single block of rock. It is one of the major landmarks in Hampi. Sasivekalu Ganesha is about 8 feet (2.5 metres) tall. According to the Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesha is known for his love for food. Once Ganesha consumed a lot of food due to which his stomach was on the verge of bursting. Finding no other option to stop his stomach from exploding, Ganesha caught hold of a snake and tied it around his stomach in order to prevent it from bursting open. This is the mythological incidence behind the existence of the snake tied around the Ganesha’s stomach, which is visible on the statue.Being holiday season, the place was crowded but I was lucky to have managed to take a photograph of the deity without any tourists around the statue.
Next we proceeded to Ugra Narsimha .This is the largest statue in Hampi and depicts Lord Narasimha in a terrifying or angry form. Narasimha which means half-man and half-lion is one of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. This monolithic structure, which is 6.7 m in height, has the lord sitting cross-legged position on the coil of a giant seven-headed snake Adishesha. Originally the statue also had Goddess Lakshmi sitting on lord’s lap, but according to history it was vandalised and damaged in the year 1565. The statue of Goddess Lakshmi can now be seen in Kamalapura Museum.
Next was the Badavilinga temple This is the largest Linga in Hampi. Located next to the Ugra Narsimha Statue the Linga is housed inside a chamber with an opening in the front. A close look 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 meaning 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 mythology the River Ganga (Ganges) was brought from heaven 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.
After a quick darshan we rushed to the Vithala temple our last sojurn and the most important.It is about 20 mins but we again got stuck in traffic but somehow managed to reach the temple at about 3 pm.We found buses and electric golf carts ferrying the tourists.The distance is about 2 kms from the main gate. There was a long queue for the bus and the cart so we all decided to walk. On the way we saw many other monuments like the Pushkarni.
The Vittala Temple is presumed to be the grandest of all temples and monuments in Hampi. The temple exemplifies the immense creativity and architectural excellence possessed by the sculptors and artisans of the Vijayanagara era.
Vithal Temple Complex
The Vittala temple is built in the Dravidian style of architecture. It has traits and features that are characteristic of typical south Indian temple architecture. Its elaborate and artistic carvings and magnificent architecture is unmatched by any other structure found in Hampi. The temple complex is a sprawling area that is surrounded by high compound walls and three towering gateways.
The complex has many halls, shrines and pavilions located inside it. Each of these structures is made of stone and each structure is a beauty in itself.The main attractions of the temple are the 1) Mahamantapa 2) The Musical Pillars of Ranga Mandapa 3) Stone chariot.The guide did a good job by narrating the history and significance of each.The musical notes SAREGAMA that emanated from the pillars was indeed fascinating
The Musical Pillars
We were met with huge crowds and and I was pained to see the way people were handling these precious monuments the chariot especially, people were climbing on it and taking photographs. To preserve these I think barricading is the only option!
We did not have much time in hand as we had delayed our departure from the hotel in the morning.So we had to rush through this iconic complex .It was already 4pm when we were yet to have lunch and catch the return bus at 6.15 pm.We reached Hotel Green restaurant our Lunch destination at 4:30 pm .
After freshening up, we had a quick lunch of dal rice and vegetable and spicy buttermilk to quench our thirst.The rates were pocket friendly. We were earlier informed that the autorickshaws would drop us at Hospet but were surprised to note that our luggage was being brought to the restaurant resulting in one of my friend losing her hoodie in the melee – yet another example of the chaotic arrangements by the inefficient tour leaders. Anyway, after walking for a few minutes we reached the bus stop to take a bus to Hospet. It was already 5.30 and it takes at least 30 mins to reach Hospet,there was no sign of the bus, so again 2 autos were hired obviously not enough to accommodate 18 people but we had to cram ourselves to reach Hospet.Some more time was wasted in collecting money for the charges of the guides and tickets which should have been ideally done earlier. We located a Bikaner sweet shop opposite our bus stand from where we quickly picked up some Dharwad pedas which were tasty but not expensive.(Rs 300 per kg)
After boarding the bus we all settled down and thereafter got together to chat till we halted for dinner. After dinner we all knocked off only to be woken by the bus attendant at 6.30 am when I had reached my stop.I was back home at 7 am and slept off with memories of the trip.
“Dare to live the life you always wanted”
Note: I wrote an email to Mumbai Travellers regarding my bad experience but didn’t get a satisfactory reply. I am planning to visit the place again,will plan it on my own and I am sure I will do a much better job than the mess that was created by Mumbai Travellers.If any of you want to join me next year.You can contact me at reenatravelstories @gmail.com.
Tips for the Trip
There are several ways you can reach Hampi by Train,Bus or Air
By Train & Bus You can book your ticket to Hospet.From Hospet you can take a local bus or hire an autorickshaw.
By Air closest Airport is Hubli. Distance from Hubli to Hampi is 150 kms and driving time is 3 hours.Cabs may cost between 2500-3000.
Hotels: You can choose to stay in Hospet,Hampi or the Hippie Island.There are number of Hotels/homestays in these places.In Hippe Island you can choose Goutami or Mowgli.In Hampi many tourists I met were staying in Sai Plaza and they seemed to be happy.
Sightseeing :Walking and seeing the place is best ,for every rock in Hampi has a story to tell. Or you can hire cycles/scooty/bikes which is commonly seen in Hampi. If you can’t then hire autorickshaws they charge 700-800 for full day sight seeing.Cabs are a bit more expensive they will charge around 1000-1500 for a day of sight seeing.
Food: Enjoy the local food at small eateries and f you are longing for some continental food then head to Hippie Island.You can try the restaurants I mentioned earlier.
Dont forget to carry your sunglasses,sunscreen,cap and water and of course camera for good photos.I would advice you to hire a guide they charge Rs 500 and they give valuable information.