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Old 29th February 2016, 10:41   #1
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Default Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire

Being a history buff, Hampi has been on my to do list for a while now. The last time I visited Hampi was in 2007 and we were 4 men who just wanted to hit the road & chase the wind. The destination did not matter then.

But this time I wanted to do justice to this open air museum. I invested time in reading what I could find and the entire experience was exhilarating & at the same time mind numbing.

For ease of reading, I am going to break down this travelogue into 2 sections:
The Past: Where I will highlight whatever little history I have been able to absorb. You can completely skip this section if you prefer the current over the past

The Present: Will cover the journey, stay & other facts to consider while planning a Hampi trip

Thinking about the big picture
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-t1.jpg
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Old 29th February 2016, 11:22   #2
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Default The Past - A bloody affair

The Past - A bloody affair

Mythological context:
Hampi has several mytholigical references & gets its name from Pampa – the daughter of bramha who married lord shiva. The Virupaksha temple is dedicated to lord shiva and the means 'the one with the oblique eye' – Source & more history

Virupaksha temple
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-past1.jpg

It is also believed that Kishkindha – the monkey kingdom of Vali & Sugriva was located in the surroundings of hampi. Anjanadri hill is beleived to be the birth place of lord hanuman.

Anjanadri Hill as seen from Vittala temple - ~500 odd steps to climb to the top.
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-past2.jpg
Refer mpksuhas's thread for a view from the top of Anjanadri hill

Relatively new history:

Based on what I have read from multiple sources, Here is a quick reference guide to the history of Hampi
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-past3.jpg

My search for the history, geography and places of interest in Hampi led me to the following sources, which are my primary sources for any information that I share here:
1. http://hampi.in/ - Great website with detailed plans as well as enough information for the average traveller
2. A forgotten empire - by Fernao Nunes. Nunes was a portuguese traveller who visited Vijaynagara empire during the reign of Krishna Deva Raya
3. A forgotten empire - by Robert Sewell. This is a translation of the above book and also includes references from other Portuguese as well as Persian travellers.

A new beginning

Quote:
Muhammad Taghlaq of Delhi, having reduced Gujarat, marched southwards through the Dakhan Balaghat, or high lands above the western ghats, and a little previous to the year 1336 seized the town and fortress of Anegundi. Its chief was slain, with all the members of his family. After a futile attempt to govern this territory by means of a deputy, Muhammad raised to the dignity of chief of the state its late minister, a man whom Nuniz calls 'Deorao,' for 'Deva Raya or Harihara Deva I. The new chief founded the city of Vijayanagar on the south bank of the river opposite Anegundi and made his residence there, with the aid of the great religious teacher Madhava, wisely holding that to place the river between him and the ever-marauding Moslems was to establish himself and his people in a condition of greater security than before. He was succeeded by 'one called Bucarao' (Bukka), who reigned thirty-seven years
This is how the kingdom of Vijayanagar supposedly began and Bukka is believed to have consolidated all the Hindu rulers under vijaynagar in the short span of 30 odd years. This feat was achieved in this short span primarily because the smaller hindu states feared the moslem sultans of deccan will occupy their lands and wipe out all hindu dynasties

Hampi is believed to have been a thriving city at its peak under Krishnadeva raya. Quoting from the letter that was believed to be written by Domingo Paes – a Portuguese traveller who visited Hampi during 1520-22

Quote:
The size of this city I do not write here, because it cannot all be seen from any one spot, but I climbed a hill whence I could see a great part of it; I could not see it all because it lies between several ranges of hills. What I saw from thence seemed to me as large as Rome, and very beautiful to the sight; there are many groves of trees within it, in the gardens of the houses, and many conduits of water which flow into the midst of it, and in places there are lakes; and the king has close to his palace a palm-grove and other rich-bearing fruit-trees

The people in this city are countless in number, so much so that I do not wish to write it down for fear it should be thought fabulous; but I declare that no troops, horse or foot, could break their way through any street or lane, so great are the numbers of the people
and elephants
Below is another extract from A forgotten empire – As stated by Nicolo Conti an italian traveller who is said to have visited Vijaynagar in 1420/21 AD

Quote:
"The great city of Bizenegalia is situated near very steep mountains. The circumference of the city is sixty miles; its walls are carried up to the mountains and enclose the valleys at their foot, so that its extent is thereby increased. In this city there are estimated to be ninety thousand men fit to bear arms."
Rober Sewell further clarifies the above statement
Quote:
I must here interpose a correction. There were no "mountains" properly so called at Vijayanagar; only a confused and tumbled mass of rocky hills, some rising to considerable altitude. The extent of its lines of defences was extraordinary. Lofty and massive stone walls everywhere crossed the valleys, and led up to and mounted over the hillsides. The outer lines stretched unbroken across the level country for several miles. The hollows and valleys between the boulder-covered heights were filled with habitations, poor and squalid doubtless, in most instances, but interspersed with the stone-built dwellings of the nobles, merchants, and upper classes of the vast community; except where the elaborately constructed water-channels of the Rayas enabled the land to be irrigated; and in these parts rich gardens and woods, and luxurious crops of rice and sugar-cane, abounded. Here and there were wonderfully carved temples and fanes to Hindu deities, with Brahmanical colleges and schools attached to the more important amongst their number.

The remains of palaces, temples, walls, and gateways are still to be seen, and these abound not only on the site of Vijayanagar proper, but also on the north side of the swiftly rushing river, where stood the stately citadel of Anegundi, the mother of the empire-city. The population of this double city was immense, and the area occupied by it very extensive. From the last fortification to the south, beyond the present town of Hospett, to the extreme point of the defences of Anegundi on the north, the distance is about twelve miles. From the extreme western line of walls in the plain to the last of the eastern works amongst the hills lying in the direction of Daroji and Kampli the interval measures about ten miles. Within this area we find the remains of the structures of which I have spoken. The hovels have disappeared, and the debris lies many feet thick over the old ground-level. But the channels are still in working order, and wherever they exist will be found rich crops, tall and stately trees, and a tangle of luxuriant vegetation. On the rocks above are the ruins of buildings and temples and walls, and in many places small shrines stand out, built on the jutting edges of great boulders or on the pinnacles of lofty crags, in places that would seem inaccessible to anything but monkeys and birds.

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Old 29th February 2016, 11:57   #3
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Default The Past - A bloody affair

The Past - A bloody affair (contd.)

Based on this, there are multiple section of history that one can cover while visiting Hampi. On reserching online, I stumbled upon this map that lists almost all the notable places of interest in and around Hampi.

Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-past4.png
Source - http://hampi.in/

Based on what I have read, I find 2 interesting pieces of information

1.The Kings of Vijayanagar were in constant conflict with the Sultans of Deccan – This pre-dated Babur and his capture of Delhi i.e before the Moghul empire came into existence. Every ruler of Vijayanagar at some point or the other was fighting with the one or many of the deccan sultans and apart from the battle of raichur in 1520, the Hindu rulers of Vijayanagar did not win much and ended up paying vast sums of ransom & taxes to the Deccan sultans.

Dynasties of Vijayanagar
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-past5.jpg

2.The Portuguese influence – Some passages in 'A forgotten empire' clearly mention the support that Krishnadeva Raya received from the Portuguese to defeat Adil Shah at Raichur in 1520
Quote:
Its fall was due in great measure to the assistance rendered by some Portuguese, headed by Christovao de Figueiredo, who with their arquebusses picked off the defenders from the walls, and thus enabled the besiegers to approach close to the lines of fortification and pull down the stones of which they were formed
The most renowned King
History remembers Krishnadeva raya for his military prowess as well as his cultural influence.

Quote:
At the beginning of his reign Krishna built a GOPURA or tower, and repaired another, at the Hampe temple, which had been built by the first kings in honour of Madhavacharya, the founder of the fortunes of Vijayanagar. The great KRISHNASVAMI temple was built by him in 1513, after his return from the successful campaign in the east. In the same year he commenced the temple of HAZARA RAMASVAMI at the palace, the architecture of which leads Mr. Rea to think that it was not finished till a later period.
The Vittala Temple (krishnasvami temple) and the Hazar Rama temple are some of the most famous landmarks in hampi today

Gopura of Virupaksha temple While the base solid granite, the top of the goupura is made using a mixture of bricks and wood as was one of the tallest in Karnataka till the recent past. Wooden rafters are visible in the square openings.
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-past7.jpg

Quote:
In 1528 was constructed one of the most curious and interesting monuments to be seen in the city. This is an enormous statue of the god Vishnu in his AVATARA as Narasimha, the man-lion. It was hewn out of a single boulder of granite, which lay near the south-western angle of the Krishnasvami temple, and the king bestowed a grant of lands for its maintenance.
Refers to the yoga narasimha statue south of hemakuta hill

Yoga Narasimha Statue Folklore mentions that the statue was built because Lord Narasimha had supposedly done penance here after killing hiranyakashipu. Lord Lakshmi supposedly made the Narasimha sit down and tied the yoga band around his legs. People also mention that the statue originaly included goddess lakshmi seated on Lord Narasimha's leg but was destroyed by the deccan sultans.
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-past9.jpg

Trade flourished and the empire grew with the king building a big lake with the help of Portuguese engineers near hospet.

The bazaar outside Virupaksha temple While visiting the ruins around the kings palace & vittala temple, we see many such similar ruins.
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-past6.jpg

The fall of Vijayanagar

The four moslem deccan princes unite to out an end to the threat that was vijaynagar and managed to do so at the battle of Talikota.

Quote:
The Nizam Shah's front was covered by six hundred pieces of ordnance disposed in three lines, in the first of which were heavy guns, then the smaller ones, with light swivel guns in the rear.
600 pieces of firearms must have been quiet a big arsenal at that point in time and inflicted great damage to center of the vijayagar army.

Quote:
The third day saw the beginning of the end. The victorious Mussulmans had halted on the field of battle for rest and refreshment, but now they had reached the capital, and from that time forward for a space of five months Vijayanagar knew no rest. The enemy had come to destroy, and they carried out their object relentlessly. They slaughtered the people without mercy, broke down the temples and palaces; and wreaked such savage vengeance on the abode of the kings, that, with the exception of a few great stone-built temples and walls, nothing now remains but a heap of ruins to mark the spot where once the stately buildings stood. They demolished the statues, and even succeeded in breaking the limbs of the huge Narasimha monolith. Nothing seemed to escape them. They broke up the pavilions standing on the huge platform from which the kings used to watch the festivals, and overthrew all the carved work. They lit huge fires in the magnificently decorated buildings forming the temple of Vitthalasvami near the river, and smashed its exquisite stone sculptures. With fire and sword, with crowbars and axes, they carried on day after day their work of destruction. Never perhaps in the history of the world has such havoc been wrought, and wrought so suddenly, on so splendid a city; teeming with a wealthy and industrious population in the full plenitude of prosperity one day, and on the next seized, pillaged, and reduced to ruins, amid scenes of savage massacre and horrors beggaring description.
Sunset over the ruins of a forgotten empire
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-past8.jpg

Quote:
Sassetti, who was in India from 1578 to 1588, confirms the others as to Portuguese loss of trade on the ruin of the city: "The traffic was so large that it is impossible to imagine it; the place was immensely large; and it was inhabited by people rich, not with richness like ours, but with richness like that of the Crassi and the others of those old days…. And such merchandise! Diamonds, rubies, pearls … and besides all that, the horse trade. That alone produced a revenue in the city (Goa) of 120 to 150 thousand ducats, which now reaches only 6 thousand."

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Old 29th February 2016, 15:38   #4
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Default The Present - A flicker of grandeur

And so I went to the ruins of a forgotten place to try and experience its magic. After walking trough those lonely buildings and staring at broken art, you are left with a sense of longing. It feels akin to looking at a dried peepul leaf - its wonderful because its so delicate & at the same time you feel sad because its no longer alive.

The gateway
Domingo Paes claims that there were 7 walls around the city of Hampi, which extended from kudligi, hospet, anegundi, kampli & sandur. What remains today is just a very small part of a large defence system.
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e0.jpg

Hemakuta hill
Hemakuta hill has many small shrines and temples located on it and the most famous is the Ganesha temples and the Shiva temple
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e1.jpg
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e3.jpg

Watchtower
A great place to watch the sunset and soak in the experience of a broken world
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e2.jpg

A small shrine on Heakuta
Wonder why the branches of this tree point upwards and has no leave but does flower
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e4.jpg

Virupaksha temple & other jain shrines
The mixture of architectural styles in hampi is very unique - indo saracenic, jain, dravidian and many others co exist.
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e5.jpg
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e6.jpg

Vishnu stories in a Shiva temple
Shaivites & Vaishnavites don’t usually coexist in a temple and in this case you can clearly see Vishnu being portrayed in different avatars in a shiva temple. The guide claims that the dye used is almost 600 years old and is vegetable dye.I find that hard to believe as the painting on the ceiling has not survived the test of time.
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e7.jpg

Pinhole camera
Very rudimentary pin hole camera that captures the shadow of the gopuram in the Virupaksha temple
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e8.jpg

Coloured
Red earth used to color the pillars
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e9.jpg

Temple elephant
Lakshmi the 28 year old temple elephant
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e10.jpg

Vittala temple
Gopuram of the famous Vittala temple which houses the musical pillars
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e11.jpg

Bazaar
One of the many bazaars in hampi. Trying to imagine how it would be to walk through this place when it was packed with merchants selling pearls, diamonds & rubies. Reminds me of malgudi days for some reason.
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e13.jpg

Musical pillars
This hall contains the pillars where the guides showcase the music that reverberates through the stone columns. The main temple with 56 pillars is closed for renovation and hence you need to make do with the music from this hall. Sounds beautiful though!
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e14.jpg

White tree of Vijayanagar
Reminds me of the white tree of gondor in Minas tirith - LOTR. This barren tree is the perfect symbol for hampi as it is today. While desolation is the end result, it does make you wonder why you would destroy something so beautiful and not covet it
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e15.jpg

Vittala temple - Main hall with 56 musical pillars
Each pillar is supposed make a different sound because of the dimensions of the pillar and these are not hollow pillars. Each cluster is hewn from a single slab of granite and the sound it makes is indicated by the musical instrument held by the courtesan carved on the pillar
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e16.jpg
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e18.jpg

The stone chariot
No introduction required
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e17.jpg

Lotus mahal
The top of this structure supposedly has water channels from which water flows into bamboo conduits that are present inside the structure. The water then drips onto the walls to keep it cool when the heat outside is unbearable. The arches are indo saracenic while the decoration on top of the arch is typical south indian
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e19.jpg
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e20.jpg
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e21.jpg

Elephant stables
11 royal elephants & each had its own stable and mahouts. Wonderful symmetry
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e22.jpg
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e23.jpg

Queens bath

Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e24.jpg

Lost in contemplation
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-e25.jpg

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Old 29th February 2016, 16:07   #5
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Default The Present - A sunset to remember

The plan was to drive up malyawanta hill and watch the sun set over hampi from the ranganatha swamy temple. A late start from Hyatt plus traffic on the road ensured that I was late and hence had to settle for watching the sunset from the watch tower on hemakuta hill. Anjanadri hill is also considered to be a great place to view a sunset over hampi.

dying flame
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-s1.jpg

framed
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-s3.jpg

silhouette
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-s4.1.jpg
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-s4.jpg

monkeying around
The monkey are pretty well behaved and dont trouble you unless you carry food in an open cover or bag. Some even ate groundnut and peas from your hand
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-s5.jpg

Fade to black
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-s2.jpg
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-s5.5.jpg
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-s6.jpg

The drive back to Hyatt was misery. With trucks on high beam bearing down on you & pitch black broken roads, all you can do is drive at 40 kmph and hope that you dont go off the road when you are momentarily blinded by monster trucks. Some of them had 4 headlights of which 2 would flicker

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Old 29th February 2016, 16:21   #6
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Default The Present - Journey & Destination

The Present - Journey & Destination

Onward Journey: Bangalore - Hiriyur - Chellekare - Bellary - Tornagalu
- Bangalore - Hiriyur is 6 lane except for one section in tumkur where you need to weave in & out of slow moving trucks.
- Chellakere - Bellary bypass is around 170 km and the truck traffic was relatively lower than what I expected.
- Could easily do 70-80 kmph as the roads are good but the problem is speedbrakers. If you are driving a low GC car, then these could be a pain to negotiate.
- Bellary bypass - Hyatt has broken roads, monster speed brakers and significantly high truck traffic

Stay at Hyatt Place Hampi
I had booked my stay at the Hyatt Place in Tornagalu, which is part of the Vidyanagar township run by Jindal Steel. While the rooms are clean and in general the place is good, its nothing great and doesn’t really live up to its "Hyatt" tag. Even the food is just about par and hence my rating for the entire stay & experience at Hyatt would be a 3/5

JSW plant - Its a sight to see at night!
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-hy1.jpg

Hyatt place - reminds me of my 40 year old college building
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-hy2.jpg

Swimming pool
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-hy3.jpg

Tank at the parking lot
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-hy4.jpg

Roads of vidyanagr
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-hy5.jpg
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-hy6.jpg
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-hy7.jpg
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-hy8.jpg

Driving from Hyatt Palace - Hampi
Need to drive on SH63:Bellary - Hospet road and then take a diversion onto SH131 to get to hampi. SH63 is a again has high truck density but sections of bar roads were fixed and some were being fixed over the last weekend. SH131 is beautiful piece of winding tarmac on which you will find JLR Sloth bear resort & the new Orange county that will open soon.

Somewhere on SH131
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-hy9.jpg

Return Journey: Hampi - Hospet - NH13 - Chitradurga - Bangalore
NH13 is truckers paradise. The road is broken and a lot narrower than the Hiriyur - Chellakere - Bellary road. Add to that speed brakers in front of every small hamlet and even some unmarked ones in front of a few petrol bunks. Trucks, speed brakers, broken & narrow roads makes for an unnerving drive and the 130 km from Hopset to Chitradurga took nearly 2 hours 45 min.

My 2 cents
1. Stay closer to Hampi - there are enough and more luxury/mid range places around hampi now including a new Clarks Inn which is right at the end of kamalapur road
2. Avoid NH13 as much as possible. Its less stressful to go via Hiriyur - Bellary bypass - Hospet
3. Get a good guide. Makes all the difference when it comes to experiencing the magic
4. Watch the sunset from any of the sunset points - its totally worth whatever pains you need to take to get to see it

Thanks for reading.
Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire-h10.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 2nd March 2016 at 10:39. Reason: Hiriyur :)
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Old 29th February 2016, 16:36   #7
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Default re: Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 29th February 2016, 17:49   #8
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Default re: Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire

Very nice and well composed pictures. You have captured the history and essence of Hampi beautifully. Thanks for sharing!!!
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Old 29th February 2016, 18:28   #9
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Hospete being my mother's native, I have visited Hampi since I was kid. So, whenever i see, read or hear anything about Hampi, i get excited and feel i should have been born 500 years earlier to experience the glory of Vijayanagar empire!
Thanks for such a wonderful pictures and special thanks to that 'bit' of history.
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Old 29th February 2016, 18:51   #10
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Well deserved 5 star rating travelogue procrj

You have covered most of the aspects of Hampi with some amazing pictures which is really pushing me to take my cheetah to this place, as I haven't been here once in my lifetime. Wish I get some time and plan this.
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Old 29th February 2016, 20:22   #11
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Default re: Hampi: A journey to the forgotten empire

Quote:
Originally Posted by sukhoi30 View Post
Very nice and well composed pictures. You have captured the history and essence of Hampi beautifully. Thanks for sharing!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by kavensri View Post
Thanks for such a wonderful pictures and special thanks to that 'bit' of history.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fusionbang View Post
Well deserved 5 star rating travelogue procrj
You have covered most of the aspects of Hampi with some amazing pictures which is really pushing me to take my cheetah to this place, as I haven't been here once in my lifetime. Wish I get some time and plan this.
Thanks Sukhoi30, Kavensri & Fusionbang. All pic credits go to my better half.

@Fusionbang - Its extremely hot right now and after 11 am, you just cant step out in the heat. you will be better off going in Aug/Sep just after first rains.
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Old 1st March 2016, 07:16   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by procrj View Post
My 2 cents
1. Stay closer to Hampi - there are enough and more luxury/mid range places around hampi now including a new Clarks Inn which is right at the end of kamalapur road
2. Avoid NH13 as much as possible. Its less stressful to go via Hiriur - Bellary bypass - Hospet
3. Get a good guide. Makes all the difference when it comes to experiencing the magic
4. Watch the sunset from any of the sunset points - its totally worth whatever pains you need to take to get to see it
Thanks for a wonderful travelogue and great pictures
I agree on most of those points except the one on NH13. Like you mentioned, I was apprehensive about that route till I took it after visiting the Chitradurga Fort. Road condition was fine, had speed breakers at some places but not umanageable. And it had a fair share of truck traffic as well but made sense since we stayed at Hospet. We took the same route for return as well and it was fine. If you see the route thread you will see a lot of people having various contradictory opinions about the NH13 route and the Hiriyur one based on their experiences, so I guess it is "to each his own"

Did you visit any other places nearby ? Anjanadri hill, etc ?
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Old 1st March 2016, 07:26   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NPV View Post
I guess it is "to each his own"
Amen to that
Quote:
Did you visit any other places nearby ? Anjanadri hill, etc ?
I was unable to cover a lot of places that I was interested in because it was extremely hot & my son was having a hard time in the heat. I plan to visit again after the rains to cover the other places of interest - primarily Anegundi, Anjanadri hill, Bukka's aqueduct, Pampa sarovar, Chandramousilwara temple and the 2 km trek along the river.
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Old 1st March 2016, 07:37   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by procrj View Post
I was unable to cover a lot of places that I was interested in because it was extremely hot & my son was having a hard time in the heat. I plan to visit again after the rains to cover the other places of interest - primarily Anegundi, Anjanadri hill, Bukka's aqueduct, Pampa sarovar, Chandramousilwara temple and the 2 km trek along the river.
You may also be interested in doing the trek on the rocks parallel to the river that leads from Vittala temple to Virupaksha temple via the Yanthrodharaka Anjaneya temple and the Nandi (monolithic bull). We could not do this due to lack of time.
We also missed the Matanga Hill, the Jain temple, Bheema's Gateway, underground Shiva temple, Pattabhirama temple, ASI museum, etc. And the Daroji bear sanctuary that is about 12 Km from Kamalapur.

There is also an old temple once you cross the railway tracks from Hospet towards Kamalapur - this is called the "Ananthashayana Gudi", again this one is for the next visit for us. So much to see, need a lot of time!

Last edited by NPV : 1st March 2016 at 07:40.
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Old 1st March 2016, 11:07   #15
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Awesome read and nice coverage of history with present day sightseeing of course! And it is very much evident that you are loving your red dwarf rides more than before!

Like you said it's hotter now there but relatively less crowd. Once summer holidays begin, we may see rise in crowd again. The best time to visit this place would be Aug/Sept when rains are not in their full glory or early Nov/ Dec.
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