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Registration for Kalindi Pass trek, 10th AUG to 27th AUG 2017 is open

Monday, January 27, 2014


Day 0  (24 Jan 2014) - 9 50 pm to 7 AM

Having registered for the event, pretty early, I eagerly waited for the day to come. 24 January 2014 was the day, and I was rearing to go. This was a photography event, but photography was second on my mind, I was more interested travelling out of town, visiting a new place, adding some more memorable moments. And indeed it turned out better than what I anticipated. Apart from the quality time, which I spent, whole event turned out with lots of surprises, which in the end left me with only one option, to write a bigger blog post.

I came to Shantala silks at around 9 50 pm, and was waiting for the vehicle to arrive. Once the cab arrived people started boarding the cab and I went back to put the luggage inside the boot which was big, (enough to hold 15+ full size backpacks). When I boarded the cab I occupied the last seat, where I met Jawahar. I spoke to him for a while and soon (even before Jalahalli cross) he was off to sleep. I was joined by Pramod at Jalahalli cross. I spoke to him about our usual IT stuffs and soon spoke with Vasanth too, who was sitting in the last but one seat, to my front.
I too was dozed off to sleep only to be woken up by some pot holes along the NH 13. We were not being tossed up in the last seat, but it was not so comfortable either. Luckily I managed to catch some sleep and wake up only after reaching Hospet, where we were kind of doing circles, trying to find the shortest route to Kamalapura. In Hospet, one thing I noticed was the sizable number of people who were engaged in morning walks. That came as a surprise to me, (and I guess even to Dr Harish too who told me, about it later), who was expecting a sleepy town.
Day 1 (25 Jan 2014) - 7:20 AM to 9 30 AM

We reached Kamalapura around 7:20 am, and we made our way to the Mayura KSTDC guest house. The accommodation had quite a huge campus. It was at a distance from the main road, hence, ensuring lots of parking space, lots of space to roam around, and very less noise. It also guaranteed a nice place for camp fire. Did we carry any wood for camp fire? More about it shortly. There were two dormitories which were made available for us, and soon people starting getting freshened up. Till I got a turn to get freshened up, Vinay, Dr Harish, Harsha and me, went out to Kamalapura, to get some much needed stuffs.

At around 9 30 am odd, once everyone was ready, we started from the KSTDC guest house towards the LOST CITY of Hampi. It felt good, really good, to be back after so many years. We had to have our breakfast, before that, Vinay, Dr Harish and Ram or Sumant (not sure who) got down and paid a visit to the Information Officer at Kamalapura, to fix our Itinerary so that we could make most out of the two days. Finally around 15 minutes later all of them were back. We were also in luck as the Information Officer also got us hooked up our guide for the next two days, Satish, who would be waiting for us at the Virupaksha temple.
Then we headed out to a nearby hotel which seemed to be nice as told by the Officer earlier. It was good, but it turned out to be too slow and we lost some time and it impacted us and we ended up not making it to the Sunset point on Mathunga Hill on Day 1. More on that later. Also in the KSTDC accommodation we had lots of other people, infact a whole group of architecture students from Delhi. ( Got this info from the Officer, who told he himself would have accompanied us, in case he was not occupied with this group). But none the less, our guide packed an equal punch. (who also belted out some emotional, appreciative lines towards end of day 2, while we were about to depart to Bangalore).
Day 1 (25 Jan 2014) - 10 45 AM to 2 PM

We met our guide Satish and proceeded towards Virupaksha temple. Virupaksha temple is the oldest and the principal temple in Hampi. Virupaksha is a form of Shiva. On the way we could see a huge shuttered structure, most likely the chariot, we could see the Hampi market. As we enter we can find a 3 headed Basavanna to our left. Also very close to the entrance we could see an inscription of Varaha. Our guide Satish told us that, this has been inscribed so that, enemies / invaders would retreat on the sight of this. We saw such an inscription on couple of other temples too. We entered into the temple, and completed the Darshan. The guide showed us few paintings which were present on the ceiling and he also explained to us the significance of few of them. There are also shrines of Goddess Pampa and Bhuvaneshwari. We went there too. Also there were couple of places within the temple premises very close to the shrines where our guide could show us the natural camera. The inverted shadow of the temple Gopura is very very clearly visible in natural light through  a small opening in the wall.

1_VirupakshaTemple 
2_VirupakshaTemple 3_VirupakshaTemple We then made our way out of the Virupaksha temple via the North exit, and proceeded towards the banks of Tungabhadra river. We could see Coracles transporting people from one side of the river to another. Our guide told us, there were few cafes on the other side of the river which catered to foreign tourists (probably with their style of food). We did not venture out into the other side instead we came back and proceeded towards our next site of visit. 2_TungaBhadra We (or rather Satish) chose, Hemakuta Hills, the entrance to which starts with a right turn the moment we come out of Virupaksha temple. (Left while we enter the temple). Hemakuta Hill also has another entrance via Sasivekalu Ganesha temple. We started with this route and exited via Sasivekalu Ganesha temple. Hemakuta hill provided a great view of the Virupaksha temple.1_HemakutaHill
3_HemakutaHill
4_HemakutaHill Satish also showed us Anjandri Hill from the Hemakuta slope. Anjandri hill is the birth place of Lord Hanuman. A number of temples on the Hemakuta hill are dedicated to Lord Shiva. We could see the Moola Virupaksha temple atop the Hemakuta hill. Hemakuta hill provided us with ample opportunity for photography, also a chance to explore some of the temples around.  Due to the architectural style the temples on Hemakuta hill are referred to as Jain Temples. Our guide too told us this place was indeed called Jain Basadi. In one of the neatly maintained temple in the campus I could see a carving of Lord Hanuman and there was a temple dedicated to Lord Rama and Sita too.
2_SasiveKaaluGanesha We then made our way to the Sasive kaalu Ganesha temple, which was on the way, when we descended from the Hemakuta hill. After coming out of temple campus, we made our way to Sri Balakrishna temple. 2_BalakrishnaTemple
1_Pushkarini
We could see lot of carvings in the temple premises. Also Satish showed us a fish which was inscribed with its head pointing in the outwards direction. He told that this was infact a indication of where there was a water source. The water source pointed to the Krishna Bazaar. The sacred tank (Pushkarini) of the temple is located right next to the Krishna Bazaar. After spending 20+ minutes of time we then proceeded towards the Lakshmi Narasimha temple. It is also called Ugra Narasimha temple, based on the terrifying facial expression and protruding eyes. We then made our way to BadavaLinga temple, which is located next to the Ugra Narasimha temple. The place where Shiva Linga is installed is always filled with water. In the picture below, you can notice the temple priest who was down in water offering flowers to the Shiva Linga. After visiting Badava Linga temple we then decided to take a break for lunch.
2_BadavaLinga 3_UgraNarasimhaTemple
Day 1 (25 Jan 2014) - 2 PM to 3 25 PM
Vinay had chosen Mango Tree restaurant for lunch. He chose this restaurant based on the feedback received from the BASC team, who had been there previously. We once again made our way to the Virupaksha temple, instead of entering the temple, we took a right turn before the entrance which led us to the hotel. Its over here, one gentleman recognized Pramod and as a result, our itinerary for Day 2 just got better. He was Mr Pampaiah Swamy. He is a conservationist and also a photographer and acts as a field guide at Daroji Bear Sanctuary. Pramod turned out not only an avid bird watcher but also an author. He has written a book and he and Mr Pampaiah Swamy had worked together. And very soon I realized I was in ELITE company, what more to say !1_MangoTree
  
About the hotel, well, it was crowded, with lots of foreign tourists. We had done an advance booking, but there was a delay in getting in.  We waited patiently for 15 minutes, when the first batch of 11 guys went inside. Meanwhile Sumanth brought a Papaya from a shop in the same street and even found a knife to peel it and started eating as well. Next it was turn for 6 more guys to get in the hotel. Finally the remaining guys also entered. The hotel had an arrangement to sit on the floor (on a soft cushion), with small tables provided for placing the plates. So the whole team of 19 chose to sit on the floor. It felt good, the food too was good. All in all a good experience minus the delay. So there was a delay of 40 minutes in the morning and now another 40 minutes. But the whole bunch of guys were so enthusiastic, this delay was automatically sidelined.

Day 1 (25 Jan 2014) - 3 25 PM to 6 00 PM
After lunch we proceeded towards Kadalekaalu Ganesha temple. This idol of Ganesha resembles a Bengal gram. Later we moved on to Kodandarama temple. We were supposed to come to this place later, but I guess, it did not happen. We could not see the Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana statues in the temple.
1_Chakratheertha Opposite to the temple we could see people taking a plunge in the river. We then proceeded towards Sugreeva's cave. Sugreeva's cave had foot impressions of Lord Rama and Sita. About the history of this place, I have a conflicting thought based on what is available in the website and what our guide told us, hence not writing about it. Later we moved on to see Chakrathirtha. This is considered to the holiest bathing place in the Tungabhadra river. Few bunch of people moved closer to the water to get pictures, I stayed back and took shelter under the shade. 2_SugreevaCave
1_VijayaVittalaTemple 2_VijayaVittalaTEmple Next place to visit was Vijaya Vittala temple which was few minutes walk from the Chakrathirtha. Our guide Satish was in a hurry to get everyone going, since we had to watch sunset at Mathunga hill the same day. It did not happen there were couple of reasons to it, will tell about it shortly. Vijaya Vittala temple is one of the main attractions in Hampi, the Stone chariot is all about legendary stuff. Two elephants can be seen to the front of the chariot, it feels they are pulling the chariot. Satish told originally there were horses pulling the chariot, and have been replaced by elephants. He also told the back wheel on the left could be spun indicating the chariot movement, since its difficult to move around the entire stone chariot, this option was incorporated. Opposite to the stone chariot we can see the Vittala temple. The musical pillars can be found in the main hall. This place was closely guarded with no entry to any visitors, to avoid further damage to it. Hence we could not see much of the pillars in close up. All in all a nice place to spend your evening time, though the crowd was a bit more. We engaged in a few group photos, especially in front of the Stone chariot, which made our Hampi trip a little more memorable.1_ElectricVehicle It was time to head to Mathunga hill for the sunset, since no vehicles are allowed at a  close proximity of the Vijaya Vittala temple, we had to chose an electric vehicle which would drop us a good 3/4th kilometer away from Vijaya Vittala temple, where our van was supposed to arrive. It was close to 6 PM and we were about to start to Mathunga hill. But when we took a headcount, we were running short of two people. I once observed Pramod was missing in the group picture which we took at VijayaVittala temple, and asked someone about it. He told me he is in the temple premises only. Pramod and who else, we were quite curious to know. When we tried to call him, we could not reach him since there was no network coverage in the area. That is the reason they too have not been able to call us. Our guide Satish told us, that he would go back to Vijaya Vittala temple to pick them up.
While our guide Satish was mid way, Vinay was able to communicate with Pramod to realize they were not in the Vijaya Vittala temple, but infact they had not followed us since Chakrathirtha. Vasant was along with Pramod, so he was the second missing person. They decided against coming to VijayaVittala temple instead they headed back to Kamalapura KSTDC accommodation, and told us to come there directly. Hence we recalled Satish and headed back to Kamalapura. It was almost sunset time, Satish told, we will not be able to make it to Mathunga hill for sunset since it needed bit of climbing, as a result, we too went back to Kamalapura. On the way we said goodbye to Satish, he asked us what time we would be starting tomorrow. We fixed up a common time for tomorrow.
Day 1 (25 Jan 2014) - 7 PM to 10 45 PM
We were back at the KSTDC guest house, Pramod and Vasant were back too. Pramod told the auto rickshaw guys were overcharging, to drop them to Vijaya Vittala temple hence they landed directly at Kamalapura. We freshened up. Needed wood for camp fire. So Vinay along with few others went in the van to fetch wood and drinking water, while Dr Harish and me explored the restaurant. Dr Harish had tea and I had strong coffee. It felt good, we sat there for sometime watching the television. Hindi version of Singham movie was shown on Star plus, so we spent some time watching the movie.1_CampFire
Pretty soon, Vinay came back with the wood and we were off with the campfire. Introduction session started and some interesting conversations happened. Around 9 15 pm odd, most guys left for having dinner. I guess most people tried the buffet version, but Dr Harish and me, wanted to place order and get some food, Dr Harish was looking for some egg dishes hence that chalked out few extra time. Finished dinner and came back to room around 10 45 PM. Infact Mr Pampaiah Swamy had come to the guest house and was showing some of his photography works, so I missed out on that.

Instead of sleeping in the room Dr Harish and I decided to sleep in the corridor, laying the mattresses on the floor. Outside it was much cooler, so we decided to go for it. While most of the guys were off to sleep, we decided to have one small walk before getting to bed and headed to the main entrance of our block (where our dormitories were located). Sat there for 15 - 20 minutes applied Odomos (Mosquito repellant) and we were off to bed.
Day 2 (26 Jan 2014) - 4 30 AM to 8 30 AM
I had a neat sleep, I was awaken at around 4 30 AM, by Afzal who was ready and all geared up to leave the guest house to watch the morning sunrise. Pretty enthusiastic I must say. Along with him Pritayan and Satish too were heading out. All three of them got ready and made their way out. Me, sensing a chance to freshen up, got my things sorted out and headed out for a bath. Once I completed Vasanth too had woken up and I guess he too took bath. With nothing much to do that early, I went to bed once again and got up around 6 45 AM.
I quickly moved the mattresses to their original location, and started packing. Yes we were vacating the dormitories. By 8 30 AM everyone had packed their luggage and was ready, but Prithayan, Afzal and Satish had not yet arrived. Vinay could reach out to them and told them to arrive at a hotel in Kamalapura. We packed their luggage too and started in the van. It was guess 9 AM by then. Our guide was waiting for us at the hotel.
Day 2 (26 Jan 2014) - 9 45 AM to 1 40 PM.

We quickly completed breakfast and headed out to Malyavanta Raghunatha swamy (hill) temple. We could see priests doing Bhajan over there, Satish told us the Bhajans are going non stop for the last 4 years all through the day as well as the night. Two priests would take turns each comprising of 2 hours. The temple was locked initially, but Satish brought the priest who opened it up for us. Inside the temple we could see statues of Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana. There is also a place right within the temple premises where we can do Pradakshina around the temple. Rock has been carved out to make way for devotees who wish to do Pradakshina. Infact the temple is carved out of a single rock. (Correct me if I am wrong).

1_MalyavanthaRaghunathaHill 2_MalyanvanthaRaghunathaTemple 3_MalyavanthaRaghunathaHill
4_MalyavanthaRaghunathaHill There is an opening at back which leads us to a cliff. On the way to the cliff we can see a large number of Shiva Linga and Nandi carvings on the rock. Satish told us Lord Rama had done pooja over here. Once reaching the cliff we were treated to a nice view of Hampi. All the main entrance doors to Hampi can be seen from this cliff. After coming out of the temple we proceeded left, where few stairs lead us to other temples. These were destroyed. We took few pictures, and while coming down, to the left, I noticed a temple with a huge huge carving of Lord Hanuman. It was very pleasant and intact infact. 1_AnjandriHill
We then headed to Queen's bath. Satish told it was meant for queen for water games. There is a pond in the middle and there are structures projecting into the pond. Couple of the balconies were destroyed. Rest were intact and it was a nice place for some more pictures. At a small distance from Queen's bath was the royal enclosure. At the entrance we could see the doors made out of stone. These were infact the main doors. Satish told us they were broken and discarded while invasion only to be found while excavation. They were huge in size. 1_QueensComplex
2_QueensComplex We first made our way to Mahanavami Dibba. This is the tallest structure in the royal enclosure and there are two stairs using which we could reach the top. We again took some pictures, while Satish showed us, the different structures present in the royal enclosure. (King's Audience Hall and The Stepped tank, also the underground judgement decision chamber.) 1_PalaceDoors
1_MahanavamiDibba
2_SteppedTank
We then headed to the Stepped tank. Satish told us this was rather a recent excavation based on the elevated (stone) water passage which was pointing downwards. It infact signified that, it was a water source. There were carvings on the stepped tank. We were not allowed to venture into it. We then made our way to the secret decision making chamber. Satish told us it was used for consultation purposes while making decisions since it would maintain privacy. Satish then showed us the Kings Audience hall. Currently it was single floored, but he showed us huge pillars to the side and told it used to be a 2 storey structure and showed the staircases which would lead us to level 2.
2_KingsPalace
At a distance from the King's audience hall was a structure made out of a single stone slab. Satish told us, it was supposed to hold water to feed horses. The horses were infact brought by the kingsmen who used to come to the hall, to meet the king or to make judgements. He also showed us the place (two pillars) where the guilty person would be tied up till the judgement was made. 
3_HazaraRamaTemple 2_HazaraRamaTemple After the royal enclosure, we moved to the HazaraRama temple which is at a very small distance from the enclosure. On the walls of the temple are some of the inscriptions, which indicated events of Ramayana. When Lord Hanuman visited Lanka, in front of Ravana, he used his tail to elevate himself, this can be found. Also Lord Hanuman set Lanka on fire, Satish showed us this too. When Rama and Lakshmana were in pursuit of the golden deer, the deer changed its form to half man / half deer, which has also been carved out here. And Rama taking aim at the golden deer is also present on the walls. Inside a different stone has been used, which is relatively cool.
After visiting the temple, we sat down at the temple entrance for some time, and Kiran sang some Kannada songs. Everyone were quite impressed with his singing skills, later Vinay and Rajani chipped in too. It was a welcome change. 1_ElephantStable 1_LotusMahal We then proceed to the Zenana Enclosure which was at a small distance from the Hazara Rama temple. It houses a museum, the Lotus Mahal and the elephant stable. We first headed to the Lotus Mahal. Then to the elephant stable. It was a nice architectural piece. The stable had a big lawn in front and many guys took time to slowly capture this beauty. The stable could hold 11 elephants and the dome for each stable differed from other.
Infact I could see 2 each of the same type. We then moved to the museum, which housed some artifacts obtained during excavation, some pottery and old pictures of Hampi prior to restoration and after restoration.
Meanwhile Vinay was trying to get everyone to move quickly as lunch was waiting for us. Yes, Pampaiah Swamy had made arrangements for our lunch on day 2. It was indeed very kind gesture of him and equal thanks to Pramod for accompanying us during this trip. Not everyone is this lucky.

Day 2 (26 Jan 2014) - 2 35 PM to 3 40 PM.
Pampaiah swamy's residence was at Kamalapura, we freshened up over there and headed out to a nearby location for lunch. Food was Jolada Rotti, Khadak Rotti, Sajji rotti, Badanekaayi palya, kaalu palya, Shenga chutney pudi, Gurol pudi, Holge (obattu), butter milk, curd, rice and rasam + banana. what more to ask for. VIP lunch out of nowhere. Had nice food, thoroughly enjoyed it. We said good bye to Pampaiah swamy and headed out back to Hampi.
Day 2 (26 Jan 2014) - 4 PM to 7 45 PM.
Now we had only the sunshine at Mathunga hill planned. But on the way we visited the Monolithic Bull. It faces the Shiva's shrine ie Virupaksha temple. Few steps to climb up and then down, we were at the Achyutaraya temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is a huge one.1_MonolithicBull
 1_MathungaHillClimb
1_MathungaHillSunset
Took few minutes time to take some pictures. Just now I read this temple could be reached from the Kodandarama temple. (which we missed out that day). Ahh..so we could have come through that way yesterday. Meanwhile, I could see many people from our group heading up the Mathunga hill. I too started quickly hoping to catch a glimpse of the sunset. We were there in time for sunset. Infact there was plenty of time to spare before the sunset. We engaged in few conversations. We could see few other tourists too coming up in order to catch the sunset. Finally the sun began to fade and quickly we realized we could not get the perfect sunset as we anticipated as there were plenty of clouds which were blocking, causing the sun, not to be visible. It was tough luck, but I enjoyed the climb, enjoyed the view, enjoyed the company. What more to ask. 
Now it was time to descend. Dr Harish and me were last to descend. Meanwhile, Vinay after calling out for us multiple times, made his way through the same way as we came up. Satish and other group of 13 people got down via a different route and after few minutes Dr Harish and me followed in the route shown by Satish. Descend was simple we regrouped at the monolithic bull.  We decided to call Pampaiah Swamy and ask him if we could use his residence to freshen up. We got the nod and we headed out to Kamalapura one last time. Spent some nice time, freshened up and at around 7 45 PM we decided to say good bye to Kamalapura. We planned to stop for dinner at Hospet.
Day 2 (26 Jan 2014) - 7 45 PM to 9 40 PM.

We stopped at Hospet for Day 2 dinner. Everyone had an option to choose what to eat. I remember Harsha and Lavanya going for a Hyderabadi Biryani restaurant nearby. Dr Harish, Vasant and me headed out to Hotel Shanbhag . Meanwhile, Afzal and Pritayan managed to have watermelon for dinner. While we finished lunch and were heading out, Vinay came to the hotel too. After few minutes we regrouped and started our journey back to Bangalore. Reached Bangalore around 6+ AM. And this brought to an end of one more awesome outing with BASC.

Thanks to everyone for their tremendous company. Special thanks to Vinay for organizing, especially for the carefully crafted dates, since it was not too hot/humid. There was cool breeze flow at most places. Thanks to Pramod and Pampaiah Swamy who added nice twist to our itinerary. Special thanks going out to our guide Satish, who while leaving Hampi told us that, he was feeling sad that we were leaving. He also told he enjoyed our company and told us to come once more.
1_OurGuideSatish
Written by: Sandeep Kulkarni
Post 2
We started our journey from Shantala Silks, near Majestic at 10:40 pm on Friday night and headed towards Hospet taluk of Bellary district. In the morning we reached Kamlapur and got two decent dormitories in a KSTDC hotel – Mayura. We had breakfast in Kamlapur and then started for Hampi.
Day 1:
Hampi – our photography trek starts at grand Virupaksha Temple – a grand tall structure 165 ft high, has 10 floors, couldn’t find who built it. It is named after lord Virupaksh (or Pampapati). From here onwards guide Satish was with us. Inside this temple, there are two towers - Raya tower on the left and Kalyan Mantapa on the right. We were told that lathe machines were employed to cut some pillars. One can find deities and dancers cast in clutter-free sculptures everywhere. Saw royal emblems Suraj, Chand, Khadag and Varah. The ceiling of Raya tower is full of paintings depicting gods and deities. We saw Big Goparam where a pinhole camera type setup allows us to see inverted image of Virupaksh temple. Water stream visible outside is part of Tungabhadra river.  4_VirupakshaTemple
 5_VirupakshaTemple We moved to Hemakut temples. We visited Sasivekalu Ganesh. It is believed that a mustard merchant built this, it has Ganesh sitting in the lap of mother Parvati.
2_HemakutaHill Next stop was Krishna Temple in front of Krishna bazar and Pushkarni. Here onwards we see most of the temples have ground floor mostly intact (made of solid large stones) but upper part of the temples (made of bricks and may be gypsum) are largely broken or destroyed.  2_KrishnaBazaar
We saw Narsimha temple (large idol of Narsimha with serpent hood), Badavilinga temple (monolithic shiv linga in huge stone) and Prasanna Anjany temple (Lord Hanuman).
By now we were very hungry and we went to Mango Tree restaurant. I felt food was ok but a bit expensive due to tourists; it was full of tourists literally and had sitting arrangement as well.

6_UgraNarasimhaTemple
5_SasiveKaaluGaneshaWe moved to right (facing Virupaksh temple). We saw Achyutaraya temple, Varah temple, Sugreev guha, Purandar mantapa and King’s balance. It is believed that King’s balance was used to weigh kings in Diamonds and distribute to the poor.
4_AchyutaRayaTemple
3_SugreevaCave Next we moved to Vijaya Vittala temple which also has world famous Stone Chariot. What a grand view of Stone chariot with sun rays coming on it! Chariot and some colorful paintings! We took many photographs there! Next to Stone Chariot are two temples – Vijaya Vittala temple – whose major pillars had smaller pillars in it, a very different shape! And second temple right in front of Chariot under maintenance. We spotted some parrots and gave them some attention. 
6_VijayaVittalaTempleOutside Vijay Vittala temple, there are some eco-friendly rides available to take you 1 km ahead towards Kamlapur. It was late to see sunset, we abandoned the idea, started towards KSTDC hotel. We reached hotel, had camp-fire, some nice introductions and finally food in Hotel canteen. To me, here food was filling and tasted good. That’s it for the day.
Day 2:
We started our day 2 of journey with a visit to Raghunath temple where bhajans/mantras are on for four years continuously. It is believed that Ram-Lakshman stayed here. We spent some time (in fact a lot of time) on the back side of this temple for sight-seeing and took many pictures.  7_MalyavanthaRaghunathaSwamyHill
We spotted a row of Shiv-lings inscribed in stone rock. Outside this temple we went up for top view of the temple and surroundings and again spent a lot of time there. 8_MalyavanthaRaghunathaSwamyHill Next we visited Queen’s bath. It was planned and secured with wide square-canal at periphery. Good sculptures on the ceiling and there are 4 proper exits to recycle water.  3_QueensEnclosure We moved to nearby Mahanavami Dibba from where we saw some ruins of bath house, stages for dance and announcement, water canal built using large stones, pool, etc. There is one secret chamber, believed to be used by Kings for consultation for important matters. 4_MahanavamiDibba
Next we saw Hazararam temple. In front of this temple there is tall pillar also visible from Mahanavami Dibba. Outside walls of this temple are beautifully carved with elephants, horses, soldiers, dancers, etc. Inside, on right side there is a small temple having Ramayan stories written everywhere. Main Hazararam temple has a lot carved sculptures from Ramayan and Hindu gods. We find here: Ram-Sita-Lakshman, Hanuman, bangle shaped work on stone, lady dancing on snake, a deity with many hands, arrow fights carved in stone, etc.
5_HazaraRamaTemple
4_LotusMahal Now we move towards Lotus Temple, nicely built! Nearby this there is museum and a Janana (for Ladies) enclosure. Lotus temple here is very different from other temples which have carved pillars. Lotus temple has simple pillars and curved/arched entrance – typically seen in northern part of India. No deities or object sculpted on the outside of the temple.  2_ElephantStable
Near Lotus temple we saw Hathi Shala (Elephants’ Stable) - a domed and arched structure. There are 6 doms atop and 11 arched entrances to the stable. It was used for state elephants.
We were hungry by now for sure. One of the friends in the group had arranged for a friend’s place to get fresh and then lunch in Kamlapur and yes food was awesome, especially brinjal and sweet chapathi with gud – like puranpoli. Thank you Mr Pampaiya Swami for the stay and food. We had enough rest at that house and saw some great pictures!
4_MonolithicBull
Back to trek: we saw a large monolithic statue of Nandi in front of stage seen from Virupaksh temple. We were heading towards Vittala temple and to climb for sun set. I was amazed to see this place! What a place this would have been in its prime days of glory. There is market and an assembly point in front of Vittala temple. Here are two structures in front of each other. While climbing for sun set point we took many pictures of this place and surroundings. 3_MarketFrom top of sun set point we also saw Virupaksh temple, Kalyan Mantapa, Tungabhadra river stream, Krishna market, etc. It was cloudy at horizon so we had little chance of a great sun set. Anyway we got sliced sun or say one by two sun :) and then orange cherry! We headed back towards our bus. We bid adieu to guide Satish and came back to friend’s friend’s place. We had a break full of songs. We started back for Bangalore, had dinner on the way in Hospet. Arabic grapes juice was awesome there! We reached back to Bangalore on Monday early morning with good memories and new friends. 4_MathungaHillAtop
5_MathungaHillSunset Thank you Satish for showing majestic Hampi in few hours and to Vinay our trip organizer and others to make this trip a memorable one. I wish to see you folks again in some other trip.
Quick Guide: Hampi is about 12 kms from Hospet taluk of Bellary district in Karnataka and Kamlapur is the nearest landmark near Hampi. You can rent a dormitory of 10 beds on per day basis in KSTDC hotel – Mayura and should checkout before 10:00 am. You can find other places to stay in Kamlapur and Hampi as well. Before heading to Hampi, read a little about Vijayanagara Empire, Sangama dynasty, Saluva dynasty, Tuluva dynasty, king Harihar, Bukka, Narsimharay, Krishnadevaray, Achutaray etc.
Written by: Rajendra
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Date: 25 & 26 January 2014.
Expenses per head: 1296/- includes cost for hired vehicle, accomdation at Mayura KSTDC (Kamalapura), guide fees, miscellaneous(wood for campfire, drinking water), 2 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner.
Composed by: Sandeep Kulkarni
Event organized by: Vinay KGS
The team: Satish Anand, Sandeep Kulkarni, Prithayan Barua, Afzal, Rajani, Sumant, Dr.Harish Babu, Harsha, Nandhini, Ram Roop, Jawahar, Roopashri, Rajendra, Kaushik C, Pramod Subbarao, Vasanth Kumar, Kiran, Vinay

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