If you read Day 1’s blog, you already know that we had an early wakeup call today at 4 AM. Inspite of everyone doing their best, we left the hotel around 6 AM in the morning. The ride from Hospet to Hampi was pleasant and we were excited to continue our exploration of Temples and ruins of Hampi for a second day running.
Getting up early, helped us catch a beautiful sunrise while on the way and it gave us time to grab a quick cup of coffee/tea before the Vitthala temple opened. We were the first people in the parking lot & that helps a lot. You will find out why in a bit.
No tour of temples and ruins of Hampi is ever complete without visiting the Vitthala temple. It’s the pinnacle of the architecture, creativity and innovation of the Vijayanagara empire.
A friendly tip – Once you arrive, head straight for the main temple & cover all the attractions which fall on the way on the return leg.
The temple has so many outstanding bits, that it’s difficult to summarise it in a couple of paragraphs. If you are the sort whose interested in architecture and history, please get the book that’s sold by the hawkers near the temple complex. Costs mere ₹150, but gives you a good idea about all the temples and ruins of Hampi.
This is one of the 2 temples in Hampi, where you need to buy tickets, the other being Lotus Mahal complex. The same ticket is valid for both temples and its ₹30 for Indians. For foreigners it’s ₹500.
The main monuments within the temple include – Main shrine, devi shrine, kalyana mandapa, utsava mandapa, a 100 pillared mandapa & the much famed Stone Chariot; which actually has a Garuda shrine in the front. The famous Stone Chariot also features on the new Indian ₹50 note.
Also, please get a guide for this temple. It’s going to be worth every penny as the entire temple is filled with historical and architectural gems that would be invisible to the unexperienced eye.
It’s also believed that original deity of the temple was moved to the Vitthala temple in Pandharpur. Hence, the popular Vitthala bhajan also mentions Vitthala as Kanada Vitthala (Vitthala from Karnataka)
We spent good couple of hours roaming around this huge temple complex first on our own, followed by the tour with the guide.
Vitthala Bazaar & Lokapavani
Located to the right of the Vitthala temple, the bazaar marks a series of stone pillars erected on both sides of the road leading to the Shiva temple at the end. During old times, these pillared side walks would act as a super market with different shops on both sides of the road (much like the flea markets of today).
The Shiva temple lies at the end of the Vitthala bazaar located to the right of the Vitthala temple. This temple is also known as Brahma Vitthala temple.
The temple is mostly famous for the Ramayana friezes found on the walls of the main gate (Mahadwara).
It’s a picturesque pond located on the way to the Vitthala temple. Its a great place to click some good photos and is hardly 5 meters to the right of the pathway leading upto the temple.
Kudure Gombe Mandapa
This beautiful mandapa is located on the left hand side of the pathway leading to Vitthala temple. The most striking pieces of architecture in this mandapa are the pillars of horse riders in the front. The mandapa has a small shrine with garbha-griha inside.
If you are coming by your own car, then this mandapa will be the first monument you cover on the way to Vitthala temple. It’s an Utsava mandapa that was used during celebrations for alighting the deities.
After that we had brunch at one of the roadside shops just outside the parking. And I also purchased this book called Hampi – World Heritage Area by Dr. Vasudevan.
Most of the information in this blog is a combination of what I heard from the guide, locals, my own research and this book. I would definitely ask you to get one as it can also serve as a souvenir. The guy quoted me ₹200 but I bargained and bought it for ₹150.
Next stop was Anjaneya hill & temple, which we had skipped yesterday. Photos and details are already mentioned in Day 1 blog. Post that we had lunch at Dream Mango restaurant. The food was amazing and would definitely recommend this place. It’s also got a very nice vibe and calmness about the restaurant that shields you from the hot weather of Hampi.
Post lunch, we started moving towards the Royal enclosure and the first stop was the Queen’s Bath. It’s a big square structure with an ordinary exterior but a more ornate interior. The square bath has steps that lead to the central square well like structure.
The bath area is around 15 sq. m and has a depth of 1.8m.
This area is spread out over 95000 sq. mts. and has monuments built for the royalty. It has numerous monuments like:
- Mahanavami Dibba – An elevated platform where the king used to sit and enjoy the 10 day long Dasara festival. The platform is pyramidical in nature and tapers towards the top. It’s made up of both granite as well as schist stones which have carvings and sculptures depicting animals, royal portraits, foreign travellers, hunting scenes, acrobats etc.
- Stepped tank – Acted as the public bath.
- Underground shrine
- Bhuvana Vijaya – The King’s audience hall.
Hazaara Ramachandra temple & Pansupari Bazaar
The name Hazaara means courtyard or thousand. The Ramchandra temple was named so because its located in the courtyard of the palace complex. The temple also has numerous depictions of sculptures of Rama from Ramayana.
The striking part of this temple are the 4 chitrakhanda pillars made up of polished black stone. Just outside the temple is a long bazaar made up of shrines, tanks & series of mandapas. As per inscriptions, the street is known as Kramuka-parnapana vidhi (pan-supari street). Hence the name of the bazaar.
A leisure place for the queen. As per the guide the pillars had pipes inbuilt into them, so during summers when the climate was hot, water could be poured through the walls to keep the palace cool. This is also one of the few monuments in Vijayanagara which was build under a secular style of architecture.
A great exhibit of the grand architecture and the secular construction of the Vijayanagara empire. Just like Lotus Mahal this monument has a combination of both Hindu and Muslim architectural constructs. There are 11 arches which act as elephants stables.
The complex closes around 6 PM and after that we headed back to our hotel in Hospet. On the way we got a glimpse of another stunning sunset from a lake on the way. This sunset was the perfect way to wrap up our trip to Hampi. In case you are travelling to Mumbai, you would now be catching your sleeper bus back home. In our case, we continued our journey to Gokarna.
I am not very tempted to write a blog about Gokarna since its well covered by lot of foreigners in detail. Instead, I will be soon writing about our day trip to Mirjan Fort & Yana Caves from Gokarna. So, I hope you will subscribe to the blog and my Youtube channel.
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