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Sunday, October 02, 2016

Exploring Hampi with Orange County- Tungabhadra Trek Trail

Tunga Bhadhra Trek was the first expedition we had on the evening I checked in at Orange County Resorts, Hampi. This trail covers destinations around the main Virupaksha temple.
We reached end of the public road (Final stop for all Govt buses plying between Hampi and Hosapete) and upon entering the Virupaksha temple complex, turned right (temple will be on the left), and got down from the vehicle at the spot which marks the end of Bazaar Street. This stretch, with Virupaksha temple on one end and a monolithic Bull on the other end signifies the main market area (Virupaksha Bazaar) during the Vijayanagara temple. The famed spot where Gold and Diamond is believed to be sold in kilos for cheap rates

Above: View of the Virupaksha Bazaar, Hampi- The tower in the end is the main Virupaksha Temple. The rows of stone pillars and roofs were shops that sold valuable goods in abundance at low rates, signifying the prosperity prevailing at those times. Most shops were believed to be multi level, with only ground level remaining intact at present. At very few parts of it, such as one shown below, second level can also be seen.

Below: This stage, at the end of the bazaar street is the main stage used for various functions.
 Behind above building is a monolithic Nandi
We began climbing the steps to head towards the next destination- Achutaraya temple.
We spotted this priest carrying water to his temple. He was followed by two international tourists. He entered the Powerful Hanuman temple and started addressing questions being asked by the visitors.

Achutaraya Temple is a 16th century Vishnu temple commissioned by the king Achuta Deva Raya, Krishna Deva Raya's younger brother. While I have taken several photos of the temple from ground level, didn't have any photos with top view. Below is a photo of Achutaraya Temple complex, clicked from an elevation- from the rock nearby. Photo by Neeta Shankar . Used here with permission.

The invading army has managed to destroy as much as their hands and tools could reach, hence most of the Achutaraya temple is in ruins today. If you notice the bottom portion is constructed with hard rock, top with soft bricks- because the bricks were easier to lift and shape.
There is no idol or active deity inside the Achutaraya temple today, as the Garbha Gudi or core sanctum of the temple was destroyed by the invading army of bahumani kings. Even the roof of the main hall was destroyed. But a good part of the core structure- mostly stone pillars remain intact to tell their story.


ASI is trying to restore part of the temple towers to its former glory. Bricks of same size and shape are being made and the top portion of the Gopuram is being re-constructed as accurately as possible.
As we exit the Achutaraya temple complex, we enter Achutaraya Bazaar- another large street with provision for shops on both sides. Below is a defaced goddess idol and the view of shopping complex

Above: A pushkarini, used as source of water by traders.
Below: One of the several now non-operational temples in Hampi 
After Achutaraya, we walked towards the Tunga Badhra river, the lifeline of Hampi. Because the TB river provided adequate water and because there were hills in all directions providing natural fortification, the founders of Hampi - Hakka Raya and Bukka Raya felt this is the best choice to be the capital of their kingdom. Sometime in 1336 AD the new kingdom was born, creating history within next two centuries. Refer wikipedia for detailed history.

Kodandarama Temple is located next to the Tungabadhra river. On the other side of the river is Anjaneya Hill and more places worth visiting. I have not crossed the river here to explore the other side- something on my wishlist for future visits. Water level was low during my visit, representing poor monsoon in the state this year. When the river is at its fullest, water is believed to reach till the entrance of Kodandarama temple. Most rocks closer to water are black in colour, indicating contact with water

Next to Kodandarama temple is a walkway to main Virupaksha temple. This walkway was reportedly built by  commander of Vijayanagara empire

Next we entered the main Virupaksha temple. There is an entry fee of Rs 2 per person, Rs 50 for camera. Spent a few moments with temple elephant Lakshmi.

Lots of Langurs inside the Virupaksheshwara temple complex, Hampi

Family tree of Vijayanagara emperors

 Paintings on the roof and carvings on the pillars of Virupaksha temple in Hampi, Karnataka
 The main tower of Virupaksha temple, Hampi, Karnataka
After Virupaksha temple, our next stop was Lakshmi Narasimha temple, often referred to as Ugra Narasimha as the face seems to be very angry one with eyes popping out. It its original form, the statue had a Lakshmi sitting on his lap, which is now damaged and gone. Restoration efforts are on to prevent the rock from cracking further.

Notice the 7 heads of Shesha over the god

A Shivalinga is also maintained adjacent to Ugra Narasimha. Constant water supply is ensured around this.
The TB Trek trail started at around 3.30 PM from the resort and ended at about 6 PM. Our historian, Santosh was helpful throughout the trek, providing lots of historical facts about the ruins. On the way back, stopped for a minute at Kadalekalu Ganesha and then we returned to the comforts of Orange County Hampi, marking the end of Tungabhadhra trek. It was good to refresh my memories of Hampi after a massive gap of 10 years.

Also check: Raya Trail * 

10 comments :

Badari said...

Awesome clicks Srinidhi.Next time around plan visit to scenic anedgundi village and nava bridhavana which is in the northern bank of Tungabhadra River.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Badari- yes, Anegudi is on the wishlist

Alok singhal said...

I guess learning about the ruins during the trekking just doubles up the adventure. Wonderful tomsee the ruins!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Alok

Paresh Kale said...

Awesome

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Paresh

The Untourists said...

Hampi is so so beautiful. Have always wanted to do at least 5en days there studying all the wonderful architecture...

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Yes, one can spend weeks there.. go in winter

divsi said...

Such a comprehensive post. Love the picture shrini! Hampi has eluded me since eternity. The architecture looks stunning! Thanks so much for sharing.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Divsi- you are welcome...