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