Most of us visit the main Hampi and get so lost in the treasures that fill it, that rarely we decide to cross over the Tungabhadra river to figure if there was something that we have missed while visiting this heritage town. So, while my earlier posts guide you through the main Hampi town, this one will take you across the banks from Virupaksha temple and share the tourist attractions on an Offbeat trail of Hampi.
Where to start the Offbeat Trail of Hampi?
The start point of this trail is right behind the Virupaksha temple. You have to travel along the streets of the Hampi Bazaar, pass the famous Mango Tree restaurant and head to the banks of the river. You will pass this colorful riverside bazaar with people selling various ornaments and clothes – almost like a flea market. Not a bad idea to buy here but remember to bargain really hard.
At the jetty in this market, you need to take a small taxi boat to the other side. You will find plenty of people around standing to take this ride – including motorbikers who ferry their ride across. Remember that the last ride back from the other side is by 18:00 hours, after which you will need to take an auto and drive all the way back to your hotel – not a bad idea but you will need go around the entire stretch of over 70kms to get back :-). While you are waiting, you will be able to spot lovely birds on the river boulders and if you look closely, you will find some lovely little stone sculptures of animals on the boulders.
Once you reach the other side, you will see a completely different side to Hampi. There are lovely little cafes serving Israeli food, lots of foreigners and lots of bikes and cycles. It might feel as if you have suddenly entered Goa. Out here, you can either hire a bike to go to all the places in the area or an auto-rickshaw.
There are no fixed rates for the auto but remember to bargain well. The distances between the attractions are quite a bit and hence, either of the two modes is suggested. A slight advantage of the auto is that generally, the auto driver himself doubles up as a guide. For the slightly adventurous, you can even hire a cycle
Bukka’s Aqueduct at Hampi
Irrespective of how you take a trail, the first thing that you will pass by is a bridge like structure as seen above. However, don’t get fooled by it as this was not meant to be a bridge but a part of the Aqueduct system that was designed to lift water to the main Hampi kingdom from the Tungabhadra river. It is not clear how this worked but what remains is a magnificent stone structure indicative of how progressive the Vijayanagar kingdom was.
Legend has it that this little Sarovar or lake was created by the Creator of the Universe – Lord Brahma himself. Don’t think that this is just a lake but is in fact, a little temple with Pampa Devi and Lord Shiva himself. A calm and serene place, but not too well maintained. The lake itself is generally covered with Lily and is surrounded by hillocks making it a great spot for some lovely photographs. Of course, when I visited, the lilies were missing 🙂
Just outside the temple, there is a musical instrument and some large vessels kept for the festive meals. There is another interesting legend attached to this place – this time from the Epic Ramayana, where it is said that Shabari who offered Lord Rama some berries, stayed here. I felt good at this place for it is a nice place to just relax, enjoy the calm surroundings and the peaceful atmosphere for a while – before you move ahead exploring.
A stark white-colored temple atop a hill with a white flight of stairs leading to it is how I describe this hill. The name Anjaneya is derived from the legend that the famed monkey God Hanuman was born to his mother Anjana here. The climb to the temple is quite a trek – with over 600 steps. It could take you anything from 45 minutes to over an hour. However, once you reach the top, the view is quite breath-taking. It is recommended that you do this around sunset as the same is extremely beautiful from atop. And yes, one important warning – beware of the disciples of Lord Hanuman – the monkeys! They are all over this hillock.
Malyavantha Raghunatha Temple
This temple is also, located on a hillock but the climb to the same is a little less strenous as you can drive upto a certain point. After the same, you will need to trek up to the temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshman. It is said that Lord Rama and Lakshman spend their time here, waiting for the monsoons to recede before they could go and rescue Sita from Ravana in Lanka. What makes the hillock fun is the lovely trek up and the boulder formations that you can spot along the way.
Once you reach the main temple, you can spend some time admiring the beautiful temple architecture. The temple is not very crowded as not many tourists make a trip to this hillock. After the temple you can further, trek up. There are some caves that you could spot along the way. It was only after I went into one of them, I realised how cool and comfortable they could be and why our ancestors dwelled in them :-). You should definitely try it out.
While here, you can admire the lovely landscape of the rocky town of Hampi. The little pools and the boulders that seem to balance on each other as if someone has deliberately placed them there in that manner. A perfect scenic landscape with all possible colours – green, blue, brown and more.
Other Hampi Sites
There are plenty of other temples and monuments along the way – some worth mentioning include Anegundi Fort, Navabrindavana (Shrines on an island), Archaeological Museum and the Gagan Mahal. The Gagan Mahal used to be the Queen’s quarters but now is in ruins. It is now used as an administrative center but even now, you can see the remains of what used to be a royal building.
After you are done seeing all the lovely heritage sites, head back via the Sanapur Lake. A complete contrast to your travel for the day.
This part of my trip was a befitting end to a day of trekking and discovery of ancient ruins. Soothing blue waters, cool air and a perch on the rocks to enjoy the same. Sanapur lake is a lovely place to relax and enjoy the nature. It is not very crowded and they say that you can have a dip in these waters – though I did not see anyone doing the same 🙂
There is a lovely scenic bend along this lake, great for just sitting around and dipping your tired limbs in water. The lake is quite full during the monsoons and if it is not, just enjoy dangling your legs over the water. Please don’t fall in and of course, get some good photos too.
And while at the same bend, don’t miss the view at the other end – a complete complement to blue waters. The lush green fields are a treat to your eyes and a perfect soothing way to end your #Offbeat #trail in #Hampi.
For travel tips and other information on Hampi, click here. I have mentioned the same in the Hanuman
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My other posts on Hampi