Hampi - Carnival of Carvings

Tripoto
Photo of Hampi - Carnival of Carvings by Balu
Day 1
Photo of Hampi, Karnataka, India by Balu

My first visit to Hampi - a UNESCO World Heritage Site is in the Bellary District of Karnataka. Hampi was the centre of the Vijayanagara Empire capital in the 14th-century. A different experience for someone like me who is in love only with the mountains. Also, this being my first group trip with few like minded friends.

After a long drive from Bangalore, we checked into Hotel Clarks Inn. This is the best place to stay there. This is just 3 km from Hampi in Kamalapur.

The most famous Sunset at Hampi. Awesome view from the top of Hemakuta hill.

Photo of Hampi - Carnival of Carvings by Balu

Our first visit was to Lakshmi Narasimha - 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. This shrine is located 200 meters south of the Krishna Temple. Adjacent to this is the Shiva lingam, another master piece.

A good sight of the topography of the Krishna Temple from Hemakuta hill.

Photo of Hampi - Carnival of Carvings by Balu

The Place you will never miss is the Krishna temple - built by the Krishnadevaraya in 1513 AD to celebrate the conquest of the eastern kingdom of Udayagiri (State of Orissa).

The main idol installed in the temple was the figure of Balakrishna (Lord Krishna as infant). This idol is now displayed in the state museum at Chennai. A huge slab installed inside the courtyard of the temple states the story of this temple and the conquest of Ulkala.

Monolythic Lord Ganesha. You go behind Ganesha & you can notice Parvathy is hugging him from behind. Master Piece.

Photo of Hampi - Carnival of Carvings by Balu
Photo of Hampi - Carnival of Carvings by Balu

Hemakuta hill ruins

Photo of Hampi - Carnival of Carvings by Balu

Hemakuta hill has large number of temples, archways and pavilions. The whole of the hill was fortified with tall wide stonewalls, the ruined remains of which can be still be seen.

You can see the long pavilions esp in front of the temples. There were shops in the market street. They were supposed to be the trading area for diamonds & other jewellery.

There are also six Jain temples and monuments and a Muslim mosque and tomb. The architecture is built from the abundant local stone; the dominant style is Dravidian, with roots in the developments in Hindu arts and architecture.

Shops in the market street

Photo of Hampi - Carnival of Carvings by Balu

Abandoned Nandhi in the middle of a rock mountain during our coracle ride.

Photo of Hampi - Carnival of Carvings by Balu
Photo of Hampi - Carnival of Carvings by Balu
Photo of Hampi - Carnival of Carvings by Balu
Photo of Hampi - Carnival of Carvings by Balu
Photo of Hampi - Carnival of Carvings by Balu
Photo of Hampi - Carnival of Carvings by Balu
Photo of Hampi - Carnival of Carvings by Balu

Stone Chariot - is actually not a chariot, but a shrine built like a chariot. This is located inside the Vitthala Temple campus. In mythology Lord Vitthala is an aspect of Lord Vishnu. Garuda (lord of eagles) is the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. The Stone Chariot once contained the icon on Garuda, though the shrine is empty now. The chariot is built on a rectangular platform of a feet or so high. All around this base platform is carved with mythical battle scenes. In front of the chariot two elephants are positioned as if they are pulling the chariot. Originally two horses were carved in that position.

Photo of Hampi - Carnival of Carvings by Balu

View of the Vitthala temple campus

Photo of Hampi - Carnival of Carvings by Balu

Queen's bath

Photo of Hampi - Carnival of Carvings by Balu

Queen's bath - was a royal pleasure complex for the king and his wives. It’s an assuming rectangular building from outside. But when you get inside, the story is different. The whole building is made with a veranda around facing a big open pond at the middle. Projecting into the pond are many balconies. An aqueduct terminates in the pond. The balconies are decorated with tiny windows and supported by lotus bud tipped brackets. The whole pool is open to the sky. It is believed that once fragrant flowers and perfumed water filled this bathing pool. At one end of the veranda you can see a flight of steps giving access to the pool.

There are plenty of such places to talk about, but if you have to know the list of places to see .. then it goes on like this

1. Krishna temple

2. Vitthala temple complex

3. Sri Virupaksha Temple

4. Queen's bath

5. Hemakuta Hill Temple Complex

6. Lakshmi Narasimha Temple

7. Archaeological Museum

8. Hampi Bazaar

9. Matanga hill

10. Hippie Island (though I did not visit this place)

Avoid hampi in Summer. Best time to visit is Nov / Dec. Its either hot or very hot and so choose the right time.

Have a great trip.

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