To see Hampi in a day...was the plan.
So having reached Hospet from Chitradurga, we checked into this hotel called Malligi, a must stay for those on a comfortable budget. Very clean and comfortable, friendly and honest folks.
My only crib was with the food...available in plenty, but was a little too oily and spicy for my taste...but hey manageable.
Having read about the Hampi Kingdom, and its glory under KrishnaDeva Raya, my daughter was keeno-queen to see everything especially the Chariot (one of 5 in India) at the VittalaRaya Temple.
But we had to do a lot of getting in and out of the car while our guide took us from one monument to another. Though I had seen all of this before, it still fascinates me when I realise that no number of visits can get me any where near to exploring this immensely huge city that existed in the 14th century. It's like a time traveler from the 29th century who decides to explore Delhi...or Mumbai...or even Chennai.
Wow, what a thought!
The guide had many facts to share, and some stories, most interesting for me at that point was seeing all the spots where my darling Jackie Chan ( am a great fan of his, though I prefer his older movies to the more recent ones) shot the movie Myth.
Apparently they did not have permission to shoot at some spots, but they did it anyway, flying in and out by Helicopter. The guide did see get to see JC by the way and showed us the place right outside the Hazara Rama Temple where they shot a fight scene.
It starts here: The Ganesha who is actually sitting on his mother's lap. So if you go to the back side of this statue, you will see a woman's back and hair. A super imposed carving, showing the Divine Mother, with Ganesha seated on her lap.
My husband insisted this is a very important structure, the Hemakunth Watch Tower, that was used as an observing point
The most photographed Sule Bazaar, stands just outside the Krishna Temple. I commented that such markets near temples exist even today in Mylapore, Chennai: that's when we realised, that having a market place adjacent to the temple must have originated from this era....14th century...wow, and to think it still exists...wow again...India is like the endless Ocean, tides (civilizations) ebb and flow within it's boundaries, yet the basic composition seems to remain the same, carried effortlessly from one century to another...
The Krishna Temple, huge facade. The Dravidian style of Temple architecture owes it's root to this empire.
THE Narasimha; the eyes popping out look so real...but sadly it is a patched up monument, holding up through repeated efforts at conservation
This was so much fun, gigantic plates of stone, meant for prisoners/ soldiers, with a chanel of water running beside it. Eat and wash up...what an idea Sir Ji!
I took loads and loads of pictures, of monuments and ourselves and anything that took my fancy, but of course cannot share everything here.
It was a tiring first day, and by lunch time we were one pooped party of impatient tourists. But I liked what the guide said:
If you have good money go to Tirumala
If you have good eyes go to Belur-Halebid
but If you have good legs, then only come to Hampi!!
Because you have to walk, walk and walk!
Of course I have to leave you with a story.
( All those lovely monuments beg me to recount a romantic story...very popular, but worth recounting)
King ViraNarasimha of the Saluva dynasty lay on his death bed, but he desperately wanted his infant son to be crowned as his successor. So he calls his trusted minister Appaji, aka Saluva Timanna and urges him to assassinate the only other eligible contender to the throne: Tuluva Krishna Deva Raya, his step brother. With foresight born from wisdom, Appaji assures the dying king that the deed would be done. But quietly counsels Krishnadeva Raya to leave the palace incognito and remain in hiding till the time was right.
This wandering noble man reaches the precincts of the Virupaksha Temple, where he sees and is instantly captivated by the nubile and gifted dancer Nagalamba. She finds his attention amusing, but soon this turns to love, as she and her mother provide a space for the wandering nobleman, who refuses to divulge anything about himself.
Very soon, a messenger arrives, the King is no more and there were imminent attack threats from enemies who were keeping watch over the leaderless empire.
Nagalamba is astonished and bereft with grief. She would rather have her nameless stranger than the future King of Vijayanagara, as her lover. She beseeches him, asking him whether he must leave...
"I must, but God willing I will see you again", he says prophetically.
Does he keep his promise? Oh, Yes.
As soon as is possible, with consent from his mother and as per custom, he marries Tirumala Devi from a royal lineage and subsequently marries Nagalamba, calling her Chinna Devi and forever grants her a position, right beside him, through all his glory.
An image of the trio
I have referred to some information from Traveling Incognito, but most of my inputs come from reading ACK( Amar Chitra Katha)... a long while back...but where else?!
I will come back with more stories and happenings from Hampi/ Tungabadra/ Badami...till I see you again; I leave you with thoughts of Kings and Queens, of wars and fights, of poetry and dance, of temples and markets...
Hey, not very different from the modern day I feel...!