Birding Trip to Nandur Madhmeshwar

Nandur Madhmeshwar wildlife sanctuary is situated in the Niphad Tehsil of Nashik District in Maharashtra. This sanctuary is a hub for thousands of resident and migratory birds. The sanctuary comprises the catchment area of the dam which was constructed across the Godavari River just below the confluence of Kodwa and Godavari rivers at Nandur Madhmeshwar. The water released from Gangapur and Darana water reservoirs is stored at Nandur Madhmeshwar dam and is subsequently released from here through canals for irrigation purposes. Due to this the water level is always fluctuating at Nandur Madhmeshwar dam. The sanctuary is spread over a protected area of 10000 hectares.

There are more than 230 species of birds found here out of which 80 are migratory species. Other than birds many other interesting forms of wildlife can also be spotted in this sanctuary. Nearly 24 species of fishes have been recorded in the reservoir.

The entry fee for the sanctuary is Rs. 30/- per head and Rs. 30/- for vehicle. They will issue a fanciful receipt which does not state any department or authority but simply says “Receipt for Payment to Government”. There are few machans erected by the department from where you can stand and watch the birds. But these were not of much use to us as the water level was too low and we have to walk few kilometres to reach the water body to see the birds.

How to Reach:
The nearest airport is Aurangabad at a distance of 180 km.
The nearest railway station is Niphad at a distance of 12 km on Mumbai-Bhusawal line.
The sanctuary is approachable by road from Nashik on the Aurangabad highway which is 30 km away from Nashik via Niphad. It is very near to Vinsur MIDC Naka.

Accommodation:
There are tents available for stay which is managed by the Forest/water department. Food can be arranged through the local villagers. But the wash room facilities are very poor. Also there is a government guest house which I was told is not very clean or well maintained. But this guest house is surrounded by lot of trees and you can see many birds around this place. A local villager Mr. Amol Darade who is a bird enthusiast himself, can arrange accommodation in a private villa if you could inform him in advance. The villa which is situated in the middle of a vineyard is really a very nice place and the caretaker a highly accommodative local guy, will arrange food from the nearby restaurant. Mr. Darade will also provide you with guides who will assist you in reaching the locations where you can spot the birds. These guides are equipped with binoculars and are really helpful in locating and identifying the birds. The charges are Rs. 400/- for a four hour trip. Mr. Amol can be contacted on 08007858599.

Also Niphad area is famous for vineyards & wineries which are very close to the sanctuary. In fact you can combine the birding trip with a visit to one of the many wineries and vineyards which are located within 15 km from the sanctuary.

The receipt issued at the main entrance
The receipt issued at the main entrance
The villa where we stayed in the middle of the vineyard
The villa where we stayed in the middle of the vineyard
Interior of the Villa
Interior of the Villa
The grapes are ready for Harvest
The grapes are ready for Harvest
The black grapes
The black grapes
The green grapes are ripe and ready for Harvest
The green grapes are ripe and ready for Harvest
The big bunch
The big bunch
Inside the vineyard
Inside the vineyard
Dove
Dove
Dove
Dove

10 Nandur Madhmeshwar

Red Wattled Lapwig in the field
Red Wattled Lapwig in the field
Ruddy Shelduck
Ruddy Shelduck
Ruddy Shelduck
Ruddy Shelduck
Egret
Egret
Egret
Egret
Ready to Take off
Ready to Take off
In the Field
In the Field
The Nests of the weaving birds
The Nests of the weaving birds
Sandpiper
Sandpiper
On flight
In flight
Up in the air - Painted stork
Up in the air – Painted stork
Spotted Billed Duck
Spotted Billed Duck
Spotted Billed Ducks
Spotted Billed Ducks
Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis
More Ducks
More Ducks
Nest of Swallows
Nest of Swallows
Swallows Perching on the Wire
Swallows Perching on the Wire
Lone Swallow
Lone Swallow
Cormorants Perching on the Tree
Cormorants Perching on the Tree
Cormorants Perching on the Tree
Cormorants Perching on the Tree
Purple Moorhen
Purple Moorhen
Purple Moorhen
Purple Moorhen
Ducks on Flight
Ducks in Flight
Black Shouldered Kite
Black Shouldered Kite
Black Shouldered Kite in Flight
Black Shouldered Kite in Flight
Flowers in Bloom
Flowers in Bloom
Mongoose
Mongoose
Flowers in Bloom
Flowers in Bloom
Morning Bloom
Morning Bloom
The odd one out
The odd one out

Anegundi – The Mythical Kishkindha Kingdom

Anegundi the picturesque village situated on the northern bank of Tungabhadra River is older than Hampi. It is believed to be Kishkindha the monkey kingdom mentioned in the epic Ramayana. Anjanadri hill in Anegundi is believed to be the birth place of Hanuman. At Anegundi there was a pre historic settlement called Onake Kindi. The rock paintings discovered in Elu gudda hill range belongs to 1500 BC. The Pampa Sarovar located in Anegundi is considered to be sacred by Hindus. Nava Brindavana located in Anegundi contains tombs of nine Hindu Madhwa Saints. Anegundi is the cradle of the Krishnadeveraya dynasty and the royal descendants of the Vijayanagara royal family are still residing there. This place is a perfect blend of mythology and history sprinkled with lush green paddy fields and huge formations of boulders.

To reach Anegundi from Hampi you can just cross over to the other side of the Tungabhadra River. The river crossing point is very near to the Virupaksha temple. There are motorboats and coracles available to cross the river. A coracle is a circular shaped country boat used to cross the river. You can call it a huge floating basket. It is made up of bamboo, cane and plastic sheets. It hardly takes five minutes to cross the river and once on the other side the best way to explore Anegundi is to hire a rikshaw for a day. I could hire a riskshaw for a day at Rs.900/-. Mr. Basha the driver was a very nice person and was very co-operative and helpful in exploring all the major attractions of Anegundi. He is highly recommended and can be contacted on his mobile no. 09480561368.

The River Crossing Point
The River Crossing Point
From the crossing point you can see the Virupaksha Temple tower and the bathing ghats.
From the crossing point you can see the Virupaksha Temple tower and the bathing ghats.
River Tungabhadra gushing through the boulders
River Tungabhadra gushing through the boulders
A Pavilion at the crossing point
A Pavilion at the crossing point
Boulder and boulders all around
Boulder and boulders all around
This sculpture is on a vertical rock near the crossing area
This sculpture is on a vertical rock near the crossing area
Coracles and motor boat at the crossing area
Coracles and motor boat at the crossing area

ANJANADRI HILL
In local language it is called Anjanadri Betta, believed to be the birth place of lord Hanuman. It is located 3 kms west of Anegundi village. One has to climb about 600 steps to reach the summit, sometimes literally crawling below hanging boulders. The whole place is filled with mischievous monkeys, so be careful if you are carrying any food items with you. The Anjaneya temple is at the edge of the cliff. The view from top is really incredible with green patches of paddy fields and coconut plantation with mighty Tungabhadra flowing in between. From the top you can even see the far away Matanga hill on the Hampi side.

The Stepped Path to the Anjanadri Hill
The Stepped Path to the Anjanadri Hill
More Steps....
More Steps….
Some time you have to crawl below these boulders
Some time you have to crawl below these boulders
The Stepped Path
The Stepped Path
Finally at the top of the Hill
Finally at the top of the Hill
The Anjaneya Temple at the edge of the cliff
The Anjaneya Temple at the edge of the cliff
The breath taking view from the top of Anjanadri Hill
The breath taking view from the top of Anjanadri Hill
Another View from the top of Anjanadri Hill
Another View from the top of Anjanadri Hill
Coconut plantations and paddy fields as seen from the top
Coconut plantations and paddy fields as seen from the top
You can see River Tungabhadra and the distant hills
You can see River Tungabhadra and the distant hills
From the top you could see the orange painted zigzag stepped path
From the top you could see the orange painted zigzag stepped path
The strange boulder formations
The strange boulder formations

PAMPA SAROVAR
Pampa Sarovar is a sacred pond mentioned in the scriptures and located next to the temple of Lord Shiva and his consort Pampa an incarnation of goddess Parvathi. The pond and the temple are hidden in a valley surrounded by boulder hills on three sides. The rectangular pond was fully covered by lotus until recently it was cleaned. From the base of the Anjanadri Hill when you go to Pampa Sarovar you will pass by the remains of the ancient aqueduct which is known as the Bukka’s Aqueduct.

The Bukka's aqueduct on the way to Pampa Sarovar
The Bukka’s aqueduct on the way to Pampa Sarovar
Pampa Sarovar
Pampa Sarovar
Temple Near the Pampa Sarovar
Temple Near the Pampa Sarovar

DURGA TEMPLE & ANEGUNDI FORT
From Pampa Sarovar we proceeded to the Durga Temple. From behind the Durga Temple a stepped path will lead you to the ancient Anegundi fort. There is very little left of the ancient fort except the main gate. Once you enter the gate and climb further through the boulder strewn path you will reach the edge of the cliff from where you can have an aerial view of the Pampa Sarovar.

The Durga Temple
The Durga Temple
See the coconuts hanged on the tree in front of the Durga Temple
See the coconuts hanged on the tree in front of the Durga Temple
The Main Entrance of the Anegundi Fort
The Main Entrance of the Anegundi Fort
The remains of the ancient fortification
The remains of the ancient fortification
The cave supposed to be of Vaali of Ramayana
The cave supposed to be of Vaali of Ramayana
The boulder formations
The boulder formations
The boulder formations
The boulder formations
More boulders on the way
More boulders on the way
Boulders everywhere
Boulders everywhere
Aerial view of the Pampa Sarovar from the cliff
Aerial view of the Pampa Sarovar from the cliff

GAGAN MAHAL & RANGANATHA TEMPLE
Right in the middle of the Anegundi village is the structure called Gagan Mahal, the ancient palace of the Vijayanagara rulers. Now this once abode of the kings and Queens serves as the local administrative building. The whole structure is in semi ruined state. Next to Gagan Mahal is the ancient Ranganatha Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu

Gagan Mahal
Gagan Mahal
The Ranganatha Temple
The Ranganatha Temple
The Temple Chariot in front of the Ranganatha Temple
The Temple Chariot in front of the Ranganatha Temple

NAVABRINDAVANAM & RIVERSIDE ATTRACTIONS
Navabrindavanam is a small island in the Tungabhadra River situated near to Anegundi village. There are motor boats and coracles available to reach there from the jetty near Anegundi village. This five minutes boat ride will offer you the scenic views of the river and the surroundings. Navabrindavanam is a major pilgrimage centre for the followers of Shri Raghavendra. It has the samadhis of nine Madhwa saints, followers of Madhavacharya and predecessors of Raghavendra. Near to the jetty you will see a mandapa with 64 pillars believed to be the tomb of Krisnadevaraya. King Krishnadevaraya was known to be a master in 64 various arts (vidyas) and hence these 64 pillars are erected on his tomb. Half a kilometre away from the jetty there is a small temple and a cave. It is believed that Lord Rama shot the arrow from here which killed Vaali the monkey king of Kishkindha.

The Boat Jetty for Navabrindavana at Anegundi Village
The Boat Jetty for Navabrindavana at Anegundi Village
On the way to Navabrindavana
On the way to Navabrindavana
The Navabrindavana where you can see the Tombs of the Saints
The Navabrindavana where you can see the Tombs of the Saints
The Names of the Saints Painted on the Wall
The Names of the Saints Painted on the Wall
The View from Navabrindavana
The View from Navabrindavana
Picturesque view of the river and surroundings
Picturesque view of the river and surroundings
The river with the backdrop of rocks
The river with the backdrop of rocks
Another view of the river
Another view of the river
The Mandapa with 64 pillars believed to be the tomb of Krishnadevaraya
The Mandapa with 64 pillars believed to be the tomb of Krishnadevaraya
The Cave Temple
The Cave Temple
Carvings on the rock
Carvings on the rock
This is the place from where Lord Ram believed to have shot the arrow which killed Vaali
This is the place from where Lord Ram believed to have shot the arrow which killed Vaali
More views of the river
More views of the river
View of the River from the Cave Temple
View of the River from the Cave Temple

THE ROCK PAINTINGS OF ONAKE KINDI
Our next destination is Onake Kindi the pre historic settlement, famous for its rock paintings dating back to 2000 BCE. My guide cum driver Basha drove through the paddy fields and coconut plantations and suddenly stopped below a coconut tree on the side of the road. Surprisingly there are no signboards to guide you. From there we walked through the fields and reached a small path leading to an enclosure surrounded by huge boulders on all the sides. Yes we are three. The paintings depict humans, cattle and hunting scenes. There are also paintings depicting of mystic and geometric designs. The paintings reminded me of the rock paintings of Bhimbetka which are 40,000 years old.

Rock Paintings
Rock Paintings
Rock Painting
Rock Painting
Rock Paintings
Rock Paintings
Rock Paintings
Rock Paintings
Rock Paintings
Rock Paintings
Rock Paintings
Rock Paintings

SANAPUR LAKE
From the cave paintings we proceeded to Sanapur Lake. The road was scenic with the lush green paddy fields and banana plantation. Also the lake was huge and picturesque with full of water and hill in the backdrop. This place is a must visit in Anegundi. There are coracle ride available in the lake. I saw many people swimming in the waters of the lake mostly foreigners. To my amazement I noticed a signboard warning about crocodiles in the waters!!!!

View on the way to the Lake
View on the way to the Lake
Paddy Fields
Paddy Fields
Paddy Fields after Harvest
Paddy Fields after Harvest
Sanapur Lake
Sanapur Lake
Sanapur Lake
Sanapur Lake
Boulder formation around the lake
Boulder formation around the lake
Sanapur Lake
Sanapur Lake
The huge warning sign on the rocks !!!!
The huge warning sign on the rocks !!!!
Spectacular view of the paddy fields
Spectacular view of the paddy fields
Spectacular view of the paddy fields
Spectacular view of the paddy fields

By 5.30PM I was dropped at the river crossing point to Hampi, after a memorable journey through Kishkindha the land of the monkeys.

Hampi – The Ruins of Vijayanagara (Part 2)

The Monuments of Hampi (Continued…)

THE VITTALA TEMPLE

The Vittala temple is undoubtedly the most extravagant architectural showpiece of Hampi. Vittala is a form of Lord Vishnu after whom the temple is known. Originally built in the 15th century the temple was extended by many successive rulers to the present form. One can see the remains of a township called Vittalapura that existed around the temple complex. The highlight of Vittala Temple is its impressive pillared halls and the stone chariot. The halls are carved with overwhelming array of sculptures on giant granite pillars. The stone chariot is often considered as the symbol of Hampi.

The Main Entrance Gopura of the Vittala Temple Complex
The Main Entrance Gopura of the Vittala Temple Complex
The Stone Chariot and in the background is the Main Entrance Gopura
The Stone Chariot and in the background is the Main Entrance Gopura
The Stone Chariot
The Stone Chariot
One of the Intricately Carved Stone Wheels of the Chariot
One of the Intricately Carved Stone Wheels of the Chariot
One of the Pillared Pavilions inside the Temple Complex
One of the Pillared Pavilions inside the Temple Complex
The decorated stepped pathway to the Temple
The decorated stepped pathway to the Temple
One of the Carved Granite Pillars
One of the Carved Granite Pillars

Another Carved Pillar
Another Carved Pillar
The Carved Pillars which is supposed to produce music when you tap on them
The Carved Pillars which is supposed to produce music when you tap on them

Some of the many carvings
Some of the many carvings
Some of the many carvings
Some of the many carvings
Some of the many carvings
Some of the many carvings
Some of the many carvings
Some of the many carvings
Carved Granite Pillars of the Pavilion
Carved Granite Pillars of the Pavilion
More carvings
More carvings
More carvings
More carvings
More Ruins at the on the left side of the main entrance of Vittala Temple
More Ruins at the on the left side of the main entrance of Vittala Temple
More Ruins at the on the left side of the main entrance of Vittala Temple
More Ruins at the on the left side of the main entrance of Vittala Temple

THE INSCRIBED VISHNU TEMPLE

The temple got its name thanks to the numerous rows of inscriptions carved on its outer walls. Though it’s popularly called the Inscribed Vishnu Temple, this temple was originally a dedicated to Tirumangai Alvar, the last of the 12 Alvar saints. The Alvars were poet-saints espoused bhakti (devotion) to the Lord Vishnu, hence this temple’s proximity to the Vittala (a form of Vishnu) Temple. The inscriptions on the wall says this temple was built by Avubilaraju in 1554 CE.

The Inscribed Vishnu Temple
The Inscribed Vishnu Temple
Inscriptions on the outer wall of the Temple
Inscriptions on the outer wall of the Temple
Inscriptions on the outer wall of the Temple
Inscriptions on the outer wall of the Temple

THE KING’S BALANCE

The Kings’ Balance is an ancient scale located south west of the Vittala Temple. This rare balance is also known as Tula Bhara. The balance was used by the Vijayanagara kings on special occasions like Dasara, Coronation ceremony etc. The king used to weigh himself with gold, silver, gems, precious stones and jewellery and give away those things to the priests of the temples in charity.The monument consists of two beautifully carved granite pillars with a height of 15 feet. The pillars support a heavy stone beam of about 12 feet. There are three hoops on the underside of the stone beam. The hoops were used to hang the balance. One of the pillars has the image of the king and two queens carved on stone.

The King's Balance
The King’s Balance

THE VARAHA TEMPLE

The Varaha Temple is located close to the river side north end of the courtesan’s street. The temple is dedicated to Varaha swamy one of the incarnations of Vishnu.

The Varaha Temple
The Varaha Temple
The image of Varaha carved on the Temple
The image of Varaha carved on the Temple
One of the carved pillars of the temple
One of the carved pillars of the temple
One of the carved pillars of the temple
One of the carved pillars of the temple

THE ACHUTARAYA TEMPLE

This was one of the last grandiose temple projects executed in the capital, before the fall of the empire. The temple complex and the ruined market street in front of it sit in a semi secluded valley created by two hills – the Gandhamadana & Matanga hills . Partially due to its off location from the main tourist track and the hidden nature of the temple’s location makes it less crowded. The temple dedicated to Lord Tiruvengalanatha, a form of Vishnu.

The Main Entrance Gopura of the Achyutaraya Temple
The Main Entrance Gopura of the Achyutaraya Temple
The pillars at the entrance of the temple
The pillars at the entrance of the temple
The pillars at the entrance of the temple
The pillars at the entrance of the temple
More carvings at the temple entrance
More carvings at the temple entrance
The temple tank - but without any water
The temple tank – but without any water

THE RIVERSIDE RUINS & 1008 LINGAS

The riverside gorge just north of the Kodandarama Temple is remarkable for the various clusters of ruins. The important ones are the array of Shiva Lingas carved on the surface of a flat rock. One is an array of 108 Lingas and the other is of 1008 Lingas. Not very far on a vertical rock there is a carving of Lord Vishnu in a reclining position. The other interesting features include a series of pavilions, partially submerged tiny shrines, sequence of motifs carved on the rock surfaces and spotting of sculptured artifacts lay at random all around.

To reach this location you can hire a coracle from near the Kodandarama temple. You can negotiate the price, normally they charge Rs. 50/- per head and if you are alone they may ask for Rs. 300/- for a trip. Since I was alone they finally agreed for Rs.200/- for a trip. The ride will give you a nice view of the gorge on both sides and they will stop you at the place where the carved Lingas are there. The climb may be little tricky as the rocks are bit slippery and there are no steps available. From there you can see the Chandramauleshwara Temple on the other bank of the river which is under renovation and is off limit to visitors.

The Coracle Ride to the Ruins
The Coracle Ride to the Ruins
One of the pavilions on the rocks
One of the pavilions on the rocks
Small shrines across the river
Small shrines across the river
An array of 108 Lingas carved on the flat rock surface
An array of 108 Lingas carved on the flat rock surface
More pavilions and small shrines
More pavilions and small shrines
An array of 1008 Lingas carved on flat rock surface
An array of 1008 Lingas carved on flat rock surface
There are still more to explore
There are still more to explore
Sculpture depicting Lord Vishnu in reclining position
Sculpture depicting Lord Vishnu in reclining position
View of the boulders from Coracle
View of the boulders from Coracle
Another sculpture on a vertical rock
Another sculpture on a vertical rock
More boulders
More boulders
The view of Kodandarama temple from the Coracle
The view of Kodandarama temple from the Coracle
This Ms. Tara from Canada who is enjoying the Coracle ride, who I met at the riverside ruins.
This is Ms. Tara from Canada who is enjoying the Coracle ride, whom I met at the riverside ruins.

And finally these feathery friends who made there nest on this dead coconut tree near my lodge:

34 Hampi Parrots

35 Hampi Parrots

36 Hampi Parrots

I spent 2 days in Hampi, exploring the various monuments. Most of the areas were covered by foot except for the rikshaw which I hired for half a day to visit the Bhima’s Gate, Ganagitti Temple, Pattabhirama Temple and the Archaeological Museum at Kamlapura. It was unfortunate that I could not see the Museum fully due to the absence light owing to a power failure in Kamlapura area that day. Still feel I have not covered all the areas!!! May be next time to spend a week there….

Hampi – The Ruins of Vijayanagara (Part 1)

Hampi is a remote village in northern Karnataka, was once the capital of the mighty Vijayanagara Empire. In its prime it was one of the richest and largest cities of the world. It is situated on the banks of Tungabhadra River. It is surrounded by hills on three sides and gushing Tungabhadra on the other. The ruins of Hampi stand testimony to the architectural splendour of the Vijayanagara era. The huge boulders from the surrounding hills where used in carving the temples and other structures of the capital city. The ruins are declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. Its magnificent and functioning temples make it a pilgrim’s delight and the royal pavilions and buildings make it a backpacker’s paradise.

The nearest rail head is Hospet which is 13 kms from Hampi and is well connected by a fleet of state transport buses and rikshaws. It is 535 kms from Bangalore and is 74 kms away from Bellary the district capital.

There are basic accommodations available near the Hampi bus stand and around Hampi bazaar. Almost every village household will provide homestay and local food. There are many lodges with A/C, TV and Wi-fi connections. During season it is a must to make prior reservation otherwise you may find it difficult to get a decent accommodation. There are few roof top restaurants which offer temple views and river views. “Mango Tree Restaurant” is the best which is always crowded with tourists, a hot favourite among foreign tourists.

The best time to visit Hampi is from November to March. The best way to explore Hampi is by foot but make sure you can cover 10 to 15 kms a day. It is really interesting to explore the ruins by walking through the paddy fields and banana plantations with occasional breaks with coconut water and bananas which are available with vendors at every nook and corner. Alternatively you can hire a bicycle from one of the shops in Hampi Bazaar. Most of them rent bicycles on hourly basis and daily basis on very reasonable rates. You can hire rikshaws also on daily basis but only after negotiating the prices before starting the tour.

Monuments of Hampi

VIRUPAKSHA TEMPLE

The main attraction of Hampi is the Virupaksha Temple Complex with its imposing tower of the entrance gopura, which is 50 meters high. This is a functioning temple and the main point of interest for the pilgrims.

Entrance Gopura of the Virupaksha Temple
Entrance Gopura of the Virupaksha Temple
Painted Ceiling of the Mandapa in Virupaksha Temple Complex
Painted Ceiling of the Mandapa in Virupaksha Temple Complex
Stone Carvings inside the Mandapa of Virupaksha Temple
Stone Carvings inside the Mandapa of Virupaksha Temple
Carvings in side the Mandapa of Virupaksha Temple
Carvings in side the Mandapa of Virupaksha Temple
Carvings on one of the Pillars
Carvings on one of the Pillars
The Columned Gallery inside the Virupaksha Temple Complex
The Columned Gallery inside the Virupaksha Temple Complex
The Stone Carved Urn inside the Virupaksha Temple
The Stone Carved Urn inside the Virupaksha Temple
The Pillared Hall inside the Virupaksha Temple Complex
The Pillared Hall inside the Virupaksha Temple Complex

HEMAKUTA HILL & GANESHA MONOLITHS

From the main gopura of Virupaksha Temple turn right and follow the stepped path to reach the Hemakuta Hill and the two Ganesh Monoliths.

Kadalekalu Ganesha
Kadalekalu Ganesha
Sasivekalu Ganesha
Sasivekalu Ganesha
Carved Column of the Ganesh Shrine
Carved Column of the Ganesh Shrine
Vendor Selling Tender Coconuts
Vendor Selling Tender Coconuts
Hemakuta Hill Top
Hemakuta Hill Top
Inscriptions on the Hemakuta Hill Top
Inscriptions on the Hemakuta Hill Top
Lingas Carved on the Hemakuta Hill Top
Lingas Carved on the Hemakuta Hill Top
A Small Water Body at the Hemakuta Hill Top
A Small Water Body at the Hemakuta Hill Top
Virupaksha Temple Complex as Seen from Hemakuta Hill Top
Virupaksha Temple Complex as Seen from Hemakuta Hill Top
Shree Krishna Temple Complex as Seen from Hemakuta Hill Top
Shree Krishna Temple Complex as Seen from Hemakuta Hill Top
Hemakuta Hill Top
Hemakuta Hill Top
A Stone Structure at the Hemakuta Hill Top
A Stone Structure at the Hemakuta Hill Top
The Captivating View of the Sunset from the Hemakuta Hill
The Captivating View of the Sunset from the Hemakuta Hill
The Captivating View of the Sunset from the Hemakuta Hill
The Captivating View of the Sunset from the Hemakuta Hill

MATANGA HILL

Matanga hill is one of the important places to visit in Hampi, which will offer the best aerial view of Hampi and its environs. There are many paths that lead to the top of Matanga hill where the Veerabhadra temple is located. There is a stepped ramp at the west and trekking trail on the north. The climbing will take around 30 to 40 minutes. There are around 500 to 600 steps to reach the top. In some places these steps are very tricky and one must be very careful especially while descending. The best place to watch the sunset and sunrise are from the roof of the Veerabhadra temple.

From Matanga hill top one can get the spectacular view of the ruins of Hampi, surrounded by huge boulders from all the three sides and the Tungabhadra River on the other and green patches of paddy and banana fields strewn around. You can identify each and every monument that you have visited in the previous day.

On the way to Matanga Hill
On the way to Matanga Hill
On the way to Matanga Hill
On the way to Matanga Hill
Steps towards the Matanga Hill
Steps towards the Matanga Hill
Markings on the rock to guide on the right path
Markings on the rock to guide on the right path
More steps in between the huge boulders
More steps in between the huge boulders
Views of the fields as you go up and up
Views of the fields as you go up and up
More views as you climb up
More views as you climb up
Tungabhadra River and the way leading to the Achutaraya Temple as seen from Matanga Hill
Tungabhadra River and the way leading to the Achutaraya Temple as seen from Matanga Hill
Boulders and more boulders
Boulders and more boulders
The view of the Virupaksha Temple Complex from the top of Matanga Hill
The view of the Virupaksha Temple Complex from the top of Matanga Hill
The aerial view of the Achutaraya Temple Complex from Matanga Hill
The aerial view of the Achutaraya Temple Complex from Matanga Hill
The spectacular sunset from the Matanga Hill
The spectacular sunset from the Matanga Hill

UGRA NARASIMHA STATUE & BADAVILINGA TEMPLE

The Ugra Narasimha statue is carved out of a single stone and is 6.7 meters in height. It was made in the year 1528 during the reign of Krishnadevaraya.

The Ugra Narasimha Statue
The Ugra Narasimha Statue
Another View of the Ugra Narasimha Statue
Another View of the Ugra Narasimha Statue

Located next to the Ugra Narasimha statue is the monolithic Badavilinga statue. It is housed in a closed chamber with an opening in the front. A close look can reveal three eyes of the Siva.

The Monolithic Shivlinga
The Monolithic Shivlinga

THE UNDERGROUND TEMPE

The underground temple so called because once it was partly buried but now fully exposed by excavation. The interior is still partially covered under water. The temple was originally consecrated for Virupaksha.

The Entrance Gopura of the Underground Temple
The Entrance Gopura of the Underground Temple

One of the Carved Pillars inside the Temple
One of the Carved Pillars inside the Temple

View of the coconut trees around the temple
View of the coconut trees around the temple

Next to the temple is the area which is still under excavation by the ASI
Next to the temple is the area which is still under excavation by the ASI

THE ZENANA ECLOSURE & LOTUS MAHAL

The Zenana enclosure was reserved for the royal women and was protected by walls and watch towers. The main attraction is the Lotus Mahal. The Queen’s palace is also visible but only the basement.

The Lotus Mahal
The Lotus Mahal
Lotus Mahal seen with the watch tower
Lotus Mahal seen with the watch tower
A closer look of the carved arches
A closer look of the carved arches
The encircling walls and the watch tower
The encircling walls and the watch tower

THE ELEPHANT STABLE

The Elephant Stable is a major attraction of Hampi and one among the few least destroyed structures. The long building with row of 11 chambers was used to park the royal elephants. Metal hoods used to tie the elephants can be seen on the inside roof.

The Elephant Stable
The Elephant Stable
The view of the elephant stable with the parading ground
The view of the elephant stable with the parading ground
The structure with arcaded veranda on the north side of the Parade Ground
The structure with arcaded veranda on the north side of the Parade Ground

HAZARA RAMA TEMBLE
This temple was dedicated to Lord Rama and it was once the private temple of the Vijayanagara kings and the royal family. This temple is famous for its panels depicting the story of Ramayana. It was build during the time of Devaraya II.

The Main Façade of the Hazara Rama Temple
The Main Façade of the Hazara Rama Temple
The carved pillars of the temple
The carved pillars of the temple
One of the carvings inside the temple
One of the carvings inside the temple
One of the carvings inside the temple
One of the carvings inside the temple
The Ramayana Story depicted on the wall panels
The Ramayana Story depicted on the wall panels
Carved pillars in front of the temple complex
Carved pillars in front of the temple complex
Another view from inside the temple
Another view from inside the temple
The carved water outlet from the Sanctum
The carved water outlet from the Sanctum
The ornamental carvings on the external of the temple
The ornamental carvings on the external of the temple
The depiction of the Ramayana on the walls
The depiction of the Ramayana on the walls
A view of the external compound wall of the temple
A view of the external compound wall of the temple

THE QUEEN’S BATH

The Queen’s bath is believed to be built by King Achutaraya for the women of the royal family. This is located just outside the royal enclosure and built in the Indo Islamic style of architecture. This rectangular structure covers an are of 30 square meters.

The Queens Bath
The Queens Bath
The arched corridor of the Queen's Bath
The arched corridor of the Queen’s Bath
The intricately carved ceiling of the Queen's Bath
The intricately carved ceiling of the Queen’s Bath

MAHANAVAMI DIBBA

One of the main attractions of Hampi is Mahanavami Dibba or Dasara Dibba, constructed by Krishnadevaraya to commemorate his victory over Udaygiri. This grand platform was used as stage by the kings to watch the celebration of the nine day long splendid Mahanavami festival. This platform has a height of around 12 meters. All the three tiers of the platform is richly decorated with engravings.

The Mahanavami Dibba
The Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The remains of the other structures around the Mahanavami Dibba
The remains of the other structures around the Mahanavami Dibba
The Pushkarani - A stepped tank around the Mahanavami Dibba
The Pushkarani – A stepped tank around the Mahanavami Dibba
The duct through which water was brought to the tank
The duct through which water was brought to the tank

GANAGITTI JAIN TEMPLE & BHIMA’S GATE
Ganagitti temple is one of the earliest structures constructed during the reign of the Vijayanagar empire. The temple was constructed by Iruguppa Dandanayaka one of the ministers of Vijayanagara during the reign of King Harihara II. It was consecrated in the year 1386.

The Ganagitti Jain Temple
The Ganagitti Jain Temple
Stone Inscriptions Inside the Temple Compound
Stone Inscriptions Inside the Temple Compound
Stone Inscriptions inside the Temple Compound
Stone Inscriptions inside the Temple Compound

Bhima’s Gatewy is one of the many gateways of the ancient walled city. The gateway is a classic example of Vijayanagara military architecture. The gate got its name from the legendary Bhima of Epic Mahabharata, the strongest of the Pandava brothers. There is an impressive carving of Bhima with Saugandhika flower in his hands.

The Bhima's Gate
The Bhima’s Gate
The Carving of Bhima with Saugandhika Flower in his hand
The Carving of Bhima with Saugandhika Flower in his hand

PATTABHIRAMA TEMPLE

Though bit off from the main tourist trail this temple is notable for its size and completeness superb example of the Viyayanagara style of architecture.

The Entrance Gopura of the Pttabhirama Temple
The Entrance Gopura of the Pttabhirama Temple
The Gallery with Columns in front of the main Temple
The Gallery with Columns in front of the main Temple
One of the carved pillars
One of the carved pillars
The exterior wall of the Sanctum
The exterior wall of the Sanctum
The pillared gallery inside the Temple
The pillared gallery inside the Temple Complex