Hampi – A delight for Pilgrims

Hampi – A delight for Pilgrims

The Hampi village is located in Vijayanagara in the state of Karnataka. It is a religious city and has many temples and old monuments which belong to the old city. UNESCO has declared the ruins of the city, a World Heritage Site and it appears as ‘Group of Monuments at Hampi’ in the list. The name Hampi has been derived from the old name of the Tungabhadra River – Pampa, since the city is built on the banks of this river. At times it is also referred to as Virupakshapura and Vijayanagara. Hampi is 353 Kms away from Bangalore and only 74 Kms from Bellary. The nearest railway station is Hosapete, also called Hospet which is 13 Kms from Hampi. Mantralayam city, which is also built on the banks of the Tungabhadra River is in AP and 150 Kms from Hampi. Thousands of pilgrims and tourists visit Hampi every year. There are more than 500 monuments around the valleys and hills, which include remains of aquatic structures, palaces, beautiful temples, ancient markets, bastions, royal pavilions and so on… Hampi is a delight for pilgrims and a great holiday spot for backpackers as well.

The History Of Hampi

In Hampi, the first settlements were as old as 1 CE. Hampi served as one of the most important areas of the capital city of the Vijayanagara Empire between 1336 – 1565, after which the Deccan Muslim Confederacy captured it. Since the city was protected by hills on three sides and the Tungabhadra River on the fourth side, it proved to be of strategic importance.
Both architecturally and historically, the city is of great significance. Several large stones have been found in the city, which might have been used to make idols of the Hindu gods and goddesses. Excavations are frequently conducted in the area by The Archeological Survey of India, in order to find temples and artifacts.

The Government of Karnataka organizes the annual Vijayanagara Festival in the month of November, every year. Agriculture and tourism are the two key industries in the village apart from the endorsements from the Virupaksha Temple and other temples in the neighbourhood of the city.

Several mineral deposits are present in the region, iron-ore and manganese being the principal ones. Mining is done in the region since the past many years. But recently, the mining of iron-ore has been increased due to a boom in the international market. This is a threat to the Tungabhadra dam and the World Heritage Site Hampi.

Significant Places Near Hampi -:

  1. Achyutaraya Temple/ Tiruvengalanatha Temple
  2. Anegondi
  3. Anjeyanadri Hill
  4. Aqueducts and Canals
  5. Archaeological Museum at Kamalapura
  6. Badava Linga
  7. Chandramauleshwar Temple
  8. Elephant stables
  9. Hazara Rama Temple
  10. Hemakuta Group of Temples
  11. Lake(Near sanapur)
  12. Lotus temple
  13. Preksha temple and groups
  14. Sasivekalu Ganesha
  15. Sri Lakshmi Narasimha
  16. The Kings’ balance
  17. The Underground Temple
  18. Tungabhadra River
  19. Uddana Veerabhadra temple
  20. Virupaksha Temple
  21. Virupapura
  22. Vitthal temple
  23. Yantrodharaka Anjaneya temple
  24. Yeduru Basavanna
  25. Zenana enclosure

Temples at Hampi

There are various temples at Hindu which depict vedanta mythology and many people still go there to worship. Some of the important places are:

  1. Virupaksha Temple – Situated in the Bazaar of Hampi, this is the most ancient temple and it is also referred to as Pampapathi Temple. At the entranc e of this temple, there is tower which is 160 ft high. There is a statue of Lord Shiva in the temple. Also, there are many erotic statues of Pampa and Bhuvaneshwari in the temple complex.
  2. Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy Temple – This temple is located three kilometres across the road and depicts the architectural style of the ancient times. Engrossing motifs of fishes and other marine creatures can be seen on the inner walls of this temple.
  3. Hazara Rama Temple Complex– This temple complex is in ruins now. It has a huge courtyard with beautigul gardens. It is best known for the intricate frescos of the Hindu religion. There are over thousand inscriptions and carvings in this temple and these carvings depict the story of the great epic – Ramayana. This is why it is called the Hazara – (Thousand ) Rama temple.
  4. Vitthal Temple Complex – The Vitthala Temple complex is the most famous temple of Hampi. Floodlights have been positioned in the temple to light it up and they enhance the beauty of this architectural masterpiece. There is a stone chariot in the area surrounding the temple, which is the logo of Karnataka Tourism. Many musical pillars are installed in the temple. There are two pillars which are cut. These pillars were cut down by the Britishers, since they wanted to find out the source of the sound but all their efforts were in vain. All they could find was hollow pillars.
  5. Krishna Temple Complex – The Krishna Temple Complex has been excavated in the last decade and efforts are being made for its restoration.

Global Heritage Fund, a non-profit organization, in collaboration with the Hampi Foundation, the State of Karnataka and Cornell University are making all possible efforts to preserve the rich cultural heritage of Hampi.

Mysore – The City of Palaces

Mysore – The City of Palaces

Mysore is located at an altitude of 770m above sea level between the Kaveri and Kabini rivers. It is about 140 Kms away from Bangalore. It is spread across an area of 50 square kilometers. It is often referred to as the city of Palaces. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Mysore is the cultural capital of the state of Karnataka. It is famous for its Dussehra celebrations, which is a ten day celebration. According to Hindu Mythology, Mahishasura, a demon used to rule over Mysore. The anglicized version of Mahishasura is Mysore. Goddess Chamundeshwari later killed Mahishasura. Goddess Chamundeshwari’s temple is situated on the top of the Chamundi Hills, on base of which Mysore is located.
There are many palaces in Mysore, which include the famous Mysore Palace. The famous Mysore style of painting is named after Mysore. King Raja Wodeyar is the patron of the Mysore style of painting. The gesso work with gold foil is the distinctive feature of these paintings. The Mysore style of painting is considered to be an offshoot of the Vijayanagar painting school. Mysore also lends its name to a sweet dish called Mysore Pak and a silk saree – Mysore Silk which is made from pure silk and gold zari. A traditional silk turban worn by men during traditional ceremonies called Mysore Peta also gets its name from the city. The major industry here is tourism but information technology is also emerging as a leading employer. The first private radio station in India is located in Mysore. The most popular sport in this city is Cricket.

Climate

One can visit Mysore at any time of the year but it is more preferable to go there between September to March. Winters prevail from October to February. It is cool with the minimum temperature dropping to 10°C. Mysore experiences a short summer season from March – May. It becomes very hot during the summers with a temperature as high as 39°C. Medium to heavy rains are expected from June to September.

How to reach

  • Railways – Mysore is connected to Bangalore through trains and all major cities in India are connected to Bangalore.
  • Roadways – The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation provides a variety of buses from Bangalore to Mysore. There are deluxe and semi-deluxe buses available.
  • Airways – There is a small domestic airport in Mysore and it is connected to Bangalore. One can also take a flight to Bangalore and hire a taxi to Mysore, which is only 140 Kms away.

History

Mysore was called Puragera till the 15th century and King Chamraja Wodeyar III constructed the splendid Mahishuru fort at this time. During the reign of the Vijaynagar kings, Mysore was used as a feudatory of Mysore Kings and later on, Raja Wodeyar made it his capital. Mysore was the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore till 1947. The Wodeyar dynasty ruled the city. Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan ruled Mysore in the 18th century for a short span of time. The Wodeyars have significantly contributed to the cultural heritage of Mysore.
Mysore became an independent state in the year 1565 during King Narasraja Wodeyar’s rule. The Wodeyars ruled Mysore till 1799 and the city was taken over by British allies. During this time, the administrative status of Mysore was lost. It regained its lost glory in the year 1881, when the British made Bangalore their capital. At the time of independence, all kings had to surrender their titles but Raja Jayachamrajendra Wodeyar was permitted to keep his title and he worked as the head (Rajpramukh) of Mysore till 1974, when he died.

Culture of Mysore

Mysore has a rich cultural heritage. It is called Karnataka’s cultural capital. Dussehra is celebrated with much vigor. The celebration carries on for ten days. King Raja Wodeyar first introduced it in the year 1610. On the day of Mahanavmi, the nineth day, people worship the royal sword and it is then taken on embellished horses, camels and elephants in a procession. On Vijaydashami, the tenth day, the traditional Dussehra procession is carried on in the local streets of Mysore. An idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari is placed on a golden mandapa on an elephant during the procession. There are musical band and dance groups which accompany the procession. It starts from the Mysore Palace and goes till the Bannimantapa. The festivities end on the night of Vijayadashami with Panjina Kavayatthu or the torchlight parade.
The city of Mysore is home to a number of palaces, which is why it is often referred to as the City of Palaces. The Amba Vilas or Mysore palace is the most famous palace. The Jaganmohan palace is used as an art gallery. The Rajendra Vilas is known as the summer palace. The Lalitha Mahal has been transformed into a Hotel. The Jayalakshmi Vilas, which was the main palace of Mysore, got burned in the year 1897. One can see the indo-saracenic architectural style in the Amba Vilas Palace. The palace is maintained by the government of Karnataka. A small portion is used by the royal family as their residence. King Chamaraja Wodeyar constructed the Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion for his daughter Jayalakshammanni but it has been converted into a museum and it displays artifacts and folk culture of the royal family.

Tourism

The Amba Vilas Palace is the most famous monument of Mysore. Apart from other palaces, the Chamundeshwari temple and St. Philomena’s Church are other noteworthy places in Mysore. The Karanji and Kukkarahalli lakes are popular lakes in Mysore. The Mysore Zoo is much loved by kids. There are many museums in Mysore – The Folk Lore Museum, Regional Museum of Natural History, Oriental Research Institute and the Railway Museum. Another museum that houses musical instruments and wax statues is the Melody World. The Krishnarajasagar Dam is only a short distance from Mysore. A musical fountain show is held in the adjacent Brindavan Gardens every evening. Somanathapura, Srirangapatna and Talakad are other places of importance near Mysore. Bylakuppe, Nanjanagud and the waterfalls at Shivanasamudra are places of religious significance close to Mysore. The hill station of Ooty, Madikeri and Sultan Battery are located very near to Mysore. The Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta hill and the B R Hills are also close by. Mysore also has some attractive destinations for those who like wildlife. Some of the popular places to visit are Bandipur National Park, Nagarhole National Park, Kokrebellur and Ranganathittu bird sanctuaries, Mudumalai National Park, B R Hills and Melkote wildlife sanctuaries. Elephants, chital, tigers, Indian leopards, gaur and other threatened species are found in these sanctuaries.