The second day we started at around 8.30 am in our Etios cab. The driver was a very nice fellow even though he couldn’t handle English very well. Since I was OK with Kannada, managed to get the details (which I wasn’t aware of or about which wasn’t written on the posters at each monument) from him. It was almost an hour and a half drive to the Hampi city, through blocked roads (because of a bridge that had fallen) and the traffic which is very typical of all Indian roads, irrespective of the size of the place (urban or rural).
The first stop was to Vittala Temple, famous for its Stone Chariot and the Musical Pillars. I remember that a decade ago, we used to park much closer to the entrance. But now, the entrance is quite far ahead and there is an electric buggy that takes you to the temple entrance for a fee of 20 Rs per head. It is a long way. They say that this was introduced because the various buses that went to close the temple started to cause more damage to the vibrations and such to the temple’s main arch. Hence the system of buggy (and me thinks, that they could get more money from visitors too)
I remember going into those musical pillars mandapa and hearing those sounds from those pillars a decade ago. Now it is damaged and the entry to the mandapa is stopped. (Reminded me of the pyramids in Tulum and Chichen Itza, in Mexico, which is not accessible anymore because of the heavy tourist inflow that caused major damage to the old archeological structure). It is a huge complex. We need to get entrance fees for the same. It’s 10 Rs for Indians and 250 Rs for Foreign visitors. My friend wasn’t very happy about this. And I agree with him. Since this was the first temple, we went around leisurely, me explaining about the various aspects of it, about the Stone Chariot, the various scriptures found in the walls of the mandapa’s (I found Tamil too, along with Telugu and other such languages). It was getting hotter by the minute. Keep the ticket safe. You would need it elsewhere too.
Outside on the left-hand side were many more mandapa’s which we skipped and started towards the right. It was again a long walk in the heat (and it wasn’t even 11.30 am by then)
When we keep walking towards the back side we encounter the King’s Balance, which is also called the Thulabhara. This is used for weighing items (like fruits, gold etc) equal to the weight of the King himself and these would be provided as offerings. We do see this kind of thulabhara in many temple. Guruvayoor is one such place where I have seen people offer banana’s equal to the weight of a kid.
Following through King’s Balance, we can go ahead to see more ruined temples and mandapa’s. I saw lot of these kind of small stone formations which was identical to the ones I saw in Cambodia’s temples. Wonder what the story behind this is. In Cambodia, the guide told us that these stones were formed in odd numbers as part of some local belief. It looks like the same in this case too.
We came back to King’s Balance and then went further back to the Vittala Temple and to the left where the road ends in the Tungabhadra river. There is a small mandapa on the banks which is mostly used for relaxation purposes. My friend didn’t want to get into the river. So I went and stood sometime in the cold water which was a relief to the heat. There were many tourists who were coming to this place via the river using the coracle rides. We saw a group from our hotel arrive there too. I guess they have taken a group tour which would include the river ride too.
I am not sure if you have ever been in a coracle. It is a very cool ride. You can ask the person who is taking you for a ride to spin it for you 🙂 It feels so awesome. As long as you don’t tip and fall into the river. This river, in this place, is said to have too many forceful currents, so it is always better to be on your guard.
After relaxing for sometime in the river side, we decided to head back. It was more than an hour and a half since we had been there in this complex. We went back to the King’s Balance where the return buggy was waiting. It felt so cool and nice to get back to the A/c comforts of the car after being in that heat. I know I am talking about the heat a lot, but that is one main aspect of the trip. So can’t help it 😉
I think I would have to split up this travelogue into multiple parts so as to cover the places well. See you in the next episode of it 🙂