Hiking to the birth place of Hanuman near Hampi
This is the third post on Hampi with TCPC
As we were staying on the Kishkindha side of Tungabhadra, day one was dedicated to exploring the various temples in the area. This part is called Anegundi and is believed to be the capital of empire before Hampi rose to prominence. Is it not amazing how many towns and cities have had their share of being the capital of a mighty empire and you had to fight mighty armies to reach them, and yet today they lie in ruins.
|Monkey In The Mirror|
Our first stop was Hanuman temple on top of a steep hill, considered to be the mysterious kingdom of Kishkindha that was ruled by mighty Vanar King Bali, who was killed by Ram on pleadings of Sugriva the younger brother of Bali, In exchange of this killing Ram got support of Sugriva and his army to launch an attack on Lanka to rescue Sita. But Kishkindha is more famous as the birthplace of Hanuman the original superhero who is worshiped today by millions of Hindus around the world for his selfless service to Ram in rescuing Sita from the captivity of Demon King Ravana( who was also a great devotee of Siva and a master Rudra Veena player).
|The Gatekeepers to Gods|
To reach the main temple considered as the birthplace of Hanuman you need to climb about 575 steep steps and it is recommended that you carry water bottles with you. You need to be very careful with your belongings as the hill is home to a colony of monkeys and langurs. They seem to have divided the hill among themselves with the lower ridge belonging to langurs and the summit area controlled by rhesus monkeys. Only once I found them in close vicinity of each other as if it was a peace zone. Both the species are not scared of humans and will try to snatch packets of offerings that the faithful are carrying to offer to the gods. I guess you have to appease gatekeepers of gods ( middlemen of god looks so political 🙂 )
After only 20 steps desi Traveler was panting and was the laggard in the row of climbers. My faithful D7000 came handy at this time as always and I started clicking pictures ensuring that the langurs do not get too close to me as some of them were looking at camera in a very lovey-dovey way as if it was a bag of bananas. Taking pictures helped me to gather my breath again and I started to pace myself- 10 steps up then 5 clicks and so on. The steps take you through some very steep bends and you actually have to almost crawl at places to pass through the small gap in the boulders to go to the other side, all this while trying to protect your camera from the monkeys and your steps from their poop.
|Remembering The Saint of Sabarmati|
But all this becomes worthwhile once you reach the top, the temple is actually a small shrine painted in white, but the view is breathtaking. You can see for miles and miles in every direction. The ruins of Hampi are visible in a distance, the river Tungbhadra’s curves mesmerize you but the most breathtaking were the paddy fields down below with reflections of coconut trees in the stagnant water of paddy patches.It is a great place to click pictures & to get clicked as you will see in the pictures attached. As we were in primate country 3 of our group members decided to enact the famous monkeys of Saint of Sabarmati. One of fellow Desi Traveler Sudha was so engrossed in the beauty of everything around her that she totally forgot to click pictures and simply sat there looking at the valley below, such is the view from the top. Every temple of Hampi is unique and built during a different period, they are also dedicated to different gods and goddesses. But what totally amazed me was small puddle no larger than 2 feet and 6inch in depth on a solid rock on top of the mountain & in this puddle was a school of small fish the size of a nail swimming merrily. I have no idea how they have reached the top of a hill made of solid rock and survived in a small 2 ft by 2 ft water hole. Strange are the ways of life and its creator.
|Sudha Admiring The View From The Top|
Our next stop was Laxmi temple and Pampa Sarovar, this is a temple dedicated to Laxmi the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Right next to the temple is a small pond (Sarovar) filled with lotus blooms, which incidentally is the flower you offer to the goddess. Just behind this pond is another lake which is much larger and deeper surrounded by lush forest. I spotted some cattle herons and common Kingfisher perching on a low hanging branch. A tribal lady has set up a small shop here and she was very happy to pose for the shutterbugs. This place is also believed to be the place where Sharbari a tribal lady met Lord Ram when he was banished to jungles as part of a palace coup by his stepmother.
The next temple on the list was Durga temple again on a hill but mercifully the incline was not steep and the sun was playing hide and seek with the clouds making the climb less treacherous. This temple complex is a series of small shrines of Hanuman, an open air Ganesha and the presiding deity the mother goddess Durga. The clicking of the idol is not allowed in most temples so I was happy to click outside, and was lucky to get this shot of a sage with eyes that could look into your soul. The Ganesha in the complex is under a tree and is surrounded by hundreds of cloth bundles filled with offerings and wish list of the devotees. They come back and open a bundle when the wish is fulfilled.
|The Worshiper And The Worshiped|
We next went to Kishkindha resort for some snacks, they also run a water park with some basic rides but the beauty lies in the fact that they use the running water of the river for rides. So you are actually bathing in the river and not chemically treated recycled water. We walked to our hut in the paddy fields from Kishkindha and clicked some more pictures.
|Rahul Basu The Organizer|
The night was spent playing antakshari, whose rules were changed every time a team was losing just to extend the game. It continued till almost 3:30 am when we retired to our rooms so that we can go for bird watching at 6 am. But that is another post.
Other blog posts in Visit to Hampi series
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