HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression

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Photo of Hampi, Karnataka, India by Ramya Balakrishna

Pablo Picasso once said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

Hampi the temple town built on the banks of Tungabhadra River is also known as Kishkindha Kshetra, Was once the richest city during its prime. The magnificent group of monuments in Hampi is recognized as UNESCO World Heritage site.Hampi is a fun escapade to culture both modern and historic, A blend of magnificent monuments, sculptures with ruins, boulders amidst the greens with a pleasant breeze and a laid back setting with parties.

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

So here we were at Hampi, This was Photography workshop called a Shoot at Site collaboration between Beyond Pixels and Get Beyond Limits.

The Photography workshop was to understand the various innovations and detailing in photography. Hampi felt like an ideal hotspot for the photography experiments with all the boulders, ancient history, grasslands, paddy fields and add a river to this setting.

Shoot at site Itinerary:

Day 1:

Hilltop trek:

Our journey began with a trek to a hilltop small Hanuman temple. We trekked through the boulders found some beautiful spots to capture landscape photos.

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna
Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

Then there was a session about photography though DSLR and various innovative photography techniques, under the boulders.

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

A very informative session to control the features the DSLR offers. After the session, we had the vast landscape to test all the techniques and improvise.

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

Bokeh Photography

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

Portrait

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna
Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

After this venture, we had hearty lunch.

Sunset point at Hemakunt Hills:

Beyond Virupaksha temple further are hilltop ruins and the sunset spot.

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna
Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna
Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

We took a boat ride across to the temple.

The temple is magnificent with huge (Gopuram) Monumental tower with carvings. This is a prominent feature of Hindu temples built in Dravidian style. The temple and the surroundings feel really peaceful to sit by hemakunt hills and view a beautiful sunset. The dramatic colors are precious.

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

Silhouette

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna
Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

Flare Photography

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna
Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

After sunset we walked back to the river and took the coracle ride back.

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

We walked through the restaurants and some jewelry shops by the road and found a musical store. A small place with many versatile instruments. Guitars, ukulele, flute and harmonium as well. So the shop vendors were actually performers in the nearby restaurant and so when I and my friend entered the shop we were all excited to sing with them. We had our own JAM session of “DUM MARO DUM” A Bollywood song. Fun guys who are settled in Hampi.

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

The modern Hampi springs you the jock of traditions, monuments, sculptures which transport us back to the ancient culture, architecture also the lifestyle. Well, the lifestyle I must say is filled with tourists. The city of Hampi one of the major hotspot for hippies. The food, fun, singing and parties all day and night transforms into a simple yet a dynamic party spot. Our evening was laid back with food party, singing, and dancing.

Patterns

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

Party started once we got back. The restaurants were super crowded with people laying back in the bed beside the table and puffing off life and enjoying. We also ended up playing truth or dare but mostly entertaining dares. We all danced and had sumptuous food. We parted for the night promising to wake up early for the sunrise at Anjaneya hill.

Day 2:

Sunrise at Anjaneya hill:

Anjaneya hill has a Hanuman temple at the peak. It is located close to Anegundi village across Tungabhadra river. According to mythology Hanuman the monkey God is believed to have born here. Anjaneya hill is also known as Monkey hill. We started our trek to this hill at 5:00 AM.

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna
Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

Monochrome

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

The Hanuman temple has the arc and a flag on top. The beautiful sunrise between the backdrop of the temple arc and grasslands spread across with stream of water in between is one of the most stunning sites to watch. I made myself comfortable in a boulder.

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

The breezy early morning wind and histrionic colors ahead was blissful.

The peace and quiet blending with such beautiful scenery ahead with the early morning winds is the moment that one can cherish forever.

After breakfast, we left for our journey to visit Hampi’s World Heritage Site.

Hampi World Heritage Site:

We started our journey again through virupaksha temple and walked through the lakeside over boulders to reach the Golden Chariot. This route was offbeat and had many fun viewpoints also few stone sculptures just lying across the lake.

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna
Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna
Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna
Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna
Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

There was a Dussehra procession with elephants walking ahead and a sculpture of Goddess Durga.

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

You can also rent bicycles and mopeds instead of the walk but walk took us through the ups and downs of the boulders which otherwise we would have missed.

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna
Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

There was a coracle ride to cross the lake. One small age old temple with stone carvings was one to mention right across the lakeshore. When the water level rises one cannot enter that temple.

Finally, we reached the most awaited Vitthala Temple Complex.

Vitthala Temple Complex:

The Golden Chariot

Photo of Hampi, Karnataka, India by Ramya Balakrishna
Photo of Hampi, Karnataka, India by Ramya Balakrishna

The Vitthala Temple complex is a primary attraction of Vijayanagar empire. This temple complex alone is constructed as a huge Mantap surrounded by large pillars and Golden Chariot ahead. Hampi was the last capital of the great Hindu kingdom of Vijaynagar. There are over 1600 surviving remains, that includes shrines, forts, and memorial structures.

The ruins in Hampi now takes us through a journey of the sculptors and their figurines, patience of each artist to build such glorious stories in each stone. Each stone has virtues of men carved, some depict one virtue some depict many. Few stones had the God’s dancing, “Nataraj”, proudly known as Lord Shiva’s outburst in the form of dance, Ganesha with multiple musical instruments “The Musical Ganesha”. Our Kishkindha lord hanuman proudly steals the show with most of the stories revolving around him. The carvings are in vertical pillars, in circular ceilings and the arc high above.

So proud are we to witness such artists in play that with their art we are transformed to the time when the statues were carved, and these virtues were felt. The best part is these virtues like love, hate, the push and pull can still be felt in mankind and humans. While Generations pass between then and now, Mankind has the same feelings.

Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna
Photo of HAMPI, Where every Sculpture has an expression by Ramya Balakrishna

We should truly take a bow to God and men that created such beautiful sculptures, for their years of patience to carve on each stone, depicting a story, a dance, a virtue that lasts as sculptures on the wall for years to come and interpretations to be made, each sculptor has his hand print in each carving of his and years passed even after they left this earth, yet they have their sculptures that they left behind... Achievements that are priceless.

“To Travel is to inspire and to be inspired"

- Ramya

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