Two Day tour to the Vijayanagara Empire – Hampi – 2
The people in this city are countless in number, so much so that I do not wish to write it down for fear it should be thought fabulous; but I declare that no troops, horse or foot, could break their way through any street or lane, so great are the numbers of the people and elephants. This is the best provided city in the world.
Close to these pagodas is a triumphal car covered with carved work and images, and on one day in each year during a festival they drag this through the city in such streets as it can traverse. It is large and cannot turn corners.
Going forward, you have a broad and beautiful street, where you will find all sorts of rubies, and diamonds, and emeralds, and pearls, and seed-pearls, and cloths, and every other sort of thing there is on earth and that you may wish to buy.
The size of this city I do not write here, because it cannot all be seen from any one spot, but I climbed a hill whence I could see a great part of it. I could not see it all because it lies between several ranges of hills. What I saw from thence seemed to me as large as Rome.
These are excerpts from Domingo Paes’s Chronica dos reis de Bisnaga (Chronicle of the Vijayanagar kings) re-arranged based on experiences of my visit below.
My Visit to Hampi Utsav :
Even though Hampi is very near to my place compared to any other place I travelled , It took a long time for me to go there. One of the reason is its very difficult for me to see once worlds greatest city, deserted and in ruins. So I felt the best time to go there is during Hampi Utsav during which it may be in better state as compared to other times.
We started at 5 a.m. in the morning and planned to reach Hospet by lunch, but due to the problem with the car, we were able reach there around 4 p.m. After checking into the room and a quick fresh-up , we started to go to Hampi which is 12kms from there. As I came to from the hotel , It may be difficult to get car parking at Hampi due to the celebrations , we decided to go there by the Shuttle buses which were provided for the festival. Frequency of the service is very good and crowed in the buses also reasonable most of the times.
We reached Hampi around 5:30 p.m. First we went to Laxmi Narasimha temple in which Narasimha Murthi was badly mutilated and Laxmi was taken away from there which makes people believe it as a Ugra Narasimha Murthi.
Next we visited Badavilinga temple which is close to Laxmi Narasimha temple .
Virupaksha Temple :
From there we started to walk towards Virupaksha Temple. In other places I would not have been happy to see such a huge crowed , but here I felt happy that its not deserted and crowded as much as (or even more) it would have had in its glory days .
We went through the streets appreciating the Heritage structures along the way and reached Virupaksha Temple. After that we had the darshan and took blessings of Virupaksha at the temple.
As written by Domingo Paes we too saw a triumphal car (wooden chariot) near to temple, Which was decorated and illuminated with colourful lights. But now the streets me a bit bigger and chariot may be a bit smaller.
After that we walked through the broad and beautiful market street , we found many things there to buy but not the sort of the things that were sold in old times.
As the time passed quickly we started walking back to the Bus stand to go back to Hospet. On the walk we saw many cultural programs that were happening there.The crowed swelled to multifold at that time compared the time we reached there.
After dinner at Hospet we reached hotel room and called it a day.
Vittal Temple – Stone Chariot and Musical Pillars :
On Day 2 We went back to Hampi in the morning. First went to see the Monolithic Bull Statue near Virupaksha Temple and then climbed a hill there to see the View which was witnessed by Domingo Paes .
Then we started walking towards the Vittala Temple through path adjacent to Tungabadra river . The path is through mostly rocky with one tunnel caves in between. its a around 2kms walk this way to reach Vittala Temple.
Alternatively we can take some auto which will take you in a different route which is of 10-12kms distance.Vittal Temple is the most famous temple in Hampi for its artistic brilliance. First thing about Hampi which comes to mind is the Stone Chariot (which was depicted on 50 INR note ). Second thing is the pillars , which emirate music when touched.
After visiting both there artistic wonders, we started our journey back to Hospet. After having lunch there we started our journey back to Bangalore . Only a small part of the once great city would have remained after the destruction and we might have covered a small slice of what was left . May be in the next tour whenever that happens I will share more details of the remaining Heritage structures.