I usually do a bit of googling before visiting a place. But this time, my work was highly jam-packed. All that I could before the trip was to pack my bags. Maybe that is why, and happily so, there were more surprises than I had anticipated.
So far, I had only heard of stories of Vijayanagara ruins and never those of Anegudi. Anegudi falls on the other side of the Tungabhadra river. This part of Hampi is believed to be where Kishkinda Kandam of Ramayana took place. I read Ramayana, and so I was on cloud nine as I went to each location.
Here is the gist of places in Hampi that are religiously important.
1. Anjanadri Hills
It is the most crucial hill, which is visible from many parts of Hampi. It is easy to spot with its white stairs spiralling around the mountain.
There are two ways to reach the hill. You can either take a ferry from the Virupaksha temple, reach this side or take the highways, pass the Thungabadra dam, and follow the route to the Kishkinda resort.
We took the highways because we wanted the car to cover the rest of the places. My way or the highway, eh?
Once you cross the highway and enter onto the road to Anjanadri, you would be driving with beautiful lush paddy fields on either side of the road, bordered with boulders. I would recommend taking this ride to see the beauty of the fields with some monkeys hopping around.
Well, the local folks told us to take the climb early and catch the sunrise. But this was our third day at Hampi, and we were exhausted already, so we were in terrible shape when we reached up.
|View from the hill|
Anajandri is the place where Lord Anjaneya was born. Some even say that His mother Anjana Devi prayed here for a son. Whatever may be true, it is a holy place.
It has more than 500 steps to climb! Watch out for the monkeys climbing along with you. These are good monkeys, however. Unless you have a banana or a coconut in your hand, they do not harm you.
I was super scared at first, seeing the space only for one person to climb and the vast monkeys thumping around. "Jai Anjaneya," I cried aloud and proceeded ahead. As you climb up, the steps get steeper.
Many North Indian pilgrims were climbing on continuously. We stopped here and there and enjoyed the view of the Thungabadra river cutting through Hampi as we went. Well, Anjaneya does give you the strength to make it to the small temple on top.
A Hanuman carved on a huge rock, and the pooja here is performed in North Indian style. There is a Swamiji, a shrine for Rama, and a shrine for Anjana Devi. The view from the hilltop is beautiful.
Distant paddy fields, rivers, coconut groves, and boulders offer a marvellous sight! I wondered if the stone for the bridge to Lanka must have been taken from here itself seeing the numerous boulders!
We spent some time taking in the gentle breeze before climbing down.
|Boulders and boulders and boulders|
|Temple at top the hill|
2. Pampa Sarovar
Our next stop was Pampa Sarovar, where, as the legend goes, Shabari waited for Rama to give him Darshan.
There is also a Lakshmi Temple where again, the pooja is performed in the North Indian style. There is a small cave on the left where Shabari is said to have stayed. Her tiny feet are carved out here.
To the right is a shrine that has Rama's feet carved out onto it. Right in front of the temple is a huge tank, and many big fishes can be seen swimming in it.
|Temple tank in front of Pampa Sarovar|
3. Durga Temple
Our car stopped again, this time in front of a small hill. Our driver said that need to climb up. Though it was a small climb, after Anjandri, I did not feel like lifting my leg at all.
Few fleets of stairs, and then came to a Hanuman shrine. Then comes the main shrine of the Goddess. It is a beautiful idol. Must visit it.
4. Chintamani cave
This is another place regarding the Ramayana. There are numerous shrines here, including those of Hanuman, Shiva, Narasimha, Surya, etc.
The main thing here is the cave where Rama used to stay. It has three huge boulders placed by Hanuman in such a way that it forms a hut. 'Chintamani' means thinking, and Lord Rama is said to have made his strategic plans here.
Also, it is from here that Lord Rama shot the arrow at Vaali. A small boy turned guide pointed to the hill on the opposite side and told us that it is the cave where Vaali and Sugreeva fought.
He pointed at another hillock where Sugreeva's wife was said to have resided. Rama's bow and arrow incarnation and Lord Rama's feet are also carved out here.
The place is calm, with the river flowing by and the dhobis doing their chores there.
|Rama's feet and to the right is inscription of bow and arrow|
5. Ranganatha Temple
It is another significant temple you would reach after driving down from Chintamani cave. It is a whitewashed temple. Pooja is duly performed here, and the temple closes by noon.
There is a Ranganathar shrine and a vast temple car in front of the temple. By the side of the temple is the Jain temple, and Anegudi map is present.
I know some people plan to go here as they do to Thirupathi. Sometimes destiny plays its role in getting you to a place you should be at.
Vrindavan is the place where Madhvacharaya and his disciples attained Jeeva Samadhi. This also includes disciples of Sri Raghavendra Swami. Jeeva samadhi is to dedicate yourself to God. So one is buried so that the soul reaches God while the body is still meditating!
It is indeed a holy place, and it is so believed that if you have any horoscope-related issues, this place will resolve them and wash away your sins.
To reach Vrindavan, we were dropped at a place from where the boat plies to Vrindavan. One boat that tactically moves through the river, I guess during the rainy season, or when the river sweeps up, might not ply the service.
At Vrindavan, there are nine samadhis of the saints with Tulasi on top. There is a small shrine for Hanuman as well, and pooja is duly done. Also, there are shrines of Vishnu and Navagraham.
It was boiling, and you cannot wear slippers. The view of Chintamani caves from the boat while returning was beautiful. It was a pleasant sight to see the cows grazing on the islands nearby.
By morning, we covered Anegudi and then crossed the river to continue our walk from Virupaksha temple to Vittala temple.
You can walk up to the monolithic temple and take a left in front of it. Vehicles cannot ply, so do not take an auto or any two-wheeler.
This walk is very scenic and has a beautiful stretch as it passes along the riverside. You can find the Kodanda Rama Swamy temple, Yantrodaraka Anjaneya temple, Ranganatha temple, Achutaraya temple, and some more small complexes in this stretch.
I have covered the religious temples below. The walk ends at the king's balance of Vittala Temple. Here, we again took the buggy and reached the entrance.
|Common sight while walking|
7.Kodanda Rama Swamy Temple
This temple is situated on the ruins of Hampi. This is a walkable stretch from Virupaksha temple to Vittala temple. The first temple to come on the scenic pathway is the Kothanda Rama Swamy temple. I am not sure of the significance of the temple, but the statue of the Lord is tall and majestic.
Above this temple is the Anjaneya temple.
8. Yantrodaraka Anjaneya Temple
This temple is a few flights above the Rama temple.
The uniqueness of this temple is the Lord Anjaneyar is found seated and in a meditating form which we cannot see anywhere else. It is a Swayambhu Moorthy meaning formed by itself.
It is believed that Lord Anjaneya used to meditate here, and VyasarRaja used to see this. Once in his dream, Hanuman asks him to construct a temple, but then what form Vyasar would give the Moorthy as He sat in a different posture each day. Then Vyasar curtails Anjanyeya while meditating and ties around him 12 monkeys together in a loop.
There is also a yantra around it. It is believed that whatever you wish for here will come true in six months. It was beautiful to see the Lord in a different form, and the whole place had divinity to it.
|Yantrodaraka above Raama temple|
9. Malyavantha Raghunatha temple
This is near the Vittala temple on the side of the ruins of Hampi.
Malyavantha hill has the religiously important Rama temple called Raghunatha temple. In this temple, Rama and Lakshamana, looking like saints with curled up hair and beaded garland, are seen in a sitting posture.
Sita Devi is standing by the side. The priest said this is the temple or where Rama is meditating and is worried about missing Sita Devi. Meanwhile, lord Anjaneya is in front of the Lord, showing Him the jewels thrown down by Sita Devi.
And of course, then there is the Virupaksha temple. Apart from the climb of the Anjanadri hills, the rest of the Anegudi site is purely religious. If you are not religious, you will not be able to appreciate it.
If you do not know Hindu mythology, foreigners will not like the Anegudi side, for there is no architectural wonder here. These are only whitewashed temples.
However, Anegudi is a raw town, untouched by the commercialization of Hampi. I loved having walked through this quaint little town.
Hampi for its architectural wonder - Hampi Series II - Architectural Wonder/Wander