Time: 04:45am | Place : HAMPI, Karnataka | 17 February 2019
Read Hampi – Day 1 here.
My pedometer read 11.9 kms on day 1 as I tumbled out of the bed at Archana Homestay in Hampi. A quaint set up in one of the many small lanes at Hampi, is beautifully poised alongside a small banana plantation adjoining a tributary from the mighty Tungabhadra river. The Tungabhadra is formed by the confluence of the Tunga and Bhadra rivers flowing from the western ghats of India. We set out at 05:30 to the nearby Matanga Hill. This hill is on the eastern side of Hampi with arguably one of the best views from its top.
After a 20 to 30 minutes trek, the view opens up overlooking the Achutaya temple. We waited there patiently till the sun peeped from behind the distant mountain ranges and numerous boulder laden hills. On the other side, the Tungabhadra flowing in her full glory lit up magically with the first light of the day. After a hot cup of chai and a mandatory or rather ritualistic photoshoot later we headed down to a local breakfast vendor for the days first meal. Hot dosas, idlis and vadas followed by another cup of chai later we headed back to our guesthouse.
Rejuvenated after a few coffees, we headed towards the Tungabhadra riverfront for our much awaited Coracle ride. A coracle is a round dinghi or boat made from local bamboo, artistically twisted into a large saucer shape. The outer surface used to be covered with animal hide to prevent water from seeping in. Now, it is covered with plastic sheets for better integrity. Usually a coracle can seat anywhere from two to six people comfortably. Our ride began from the starting point to the Vitthala temple.
Along the way, we came across numerous carvings and sculptures. Among many was a beautiful Nandi rested on a pile of boulders, probably picked up from some place and placed there by the flooded Tungabhadra. Artistically carved sculpture of a sleeping Vishnu, rock formations with holes drilled in them – this due to the high intensity whirlpools created during the floods, an array of Shivlingas – 100 in one array and a whooping 1000 in another. We got a chance to hop off the coracle and climb the large boulders to see some of these sights closely.
Drifting with the current we reached the shore in a few minutes, but not before we got a chance to shoot some beautiful birds along the river.
Warning: The Tungabhadra river has a Crocodile warning sign. Please be careful.
We had seen the Vitthala temple on day 1, so we decided to get off and walk back along the river taking a closer look at some temples and sculptures that we would have otherwise missed. Up and down a few hillocks and we reached one of the major monuments on the trail – Varaha Shivs Temple. This temple has the Varaha symbol (the one with a boar and sword). Admiring some of the fine carvings inside we spent few relaxed minutes before deciding to move on.
On our way back to the guesthouse we chose to stop over at the Achutarya Temple.
Located on the outskirts of the city, this monument welcomes its visitors with a line of shop like structures on both sides. These happened to be a jewellers market where traders from across the world traded precious stones and gems in its hay days. The magnificent temple depicts Vijayanagara architecture style of temples in its best and most improved form. This was among the last dazzling temples that were constructed in the celebrated city of Hampi prior to the decline of the Vijayanagara Empire. The Achyuta Raya temple got built during the rule of Achyuta Deva Raya, who was one of the emperors of the Vijayanagara Empire, after he succeeded elder brother Krishna Deva Raya in the 16th century.
Lunch was a leisure affair at a beautiful cafe tucked away on the rooftop of a small hotel. Lapping up a pasta we spent the rest of the hours revisiting various sites before it was time to catch our bus back.
Travelling with Travers India and my fellow travellers Neha, Akshaya, Ganesh and our tour leader Rugved was indeed a pleasure. From selfie bombing to almost getting drunk on ‘adultrated’ buttermilk, thank you for your company and all the fun.
मंज़िल उन्ही को मिलती है जिनके सपनो में जान होती है,
पंख से कुछ नहीं होता, हौसलों से उड़ान होती है !
“HAMPI in Frames” Coming Soon . . .