Anjaneya hill in Hampi is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Hanumana. There is a monkey temple over there and we planned to catch the sunrise view which meant getting up at early hour of the morning.At 6am,we left our room.It was pitch dark.We somehow reached near the river as Anjaneya hill was on the other side.There was no boat.Our bewildered faces made an elderly person approach us.He called a coracle guy.We relaxed.The coracle guy came along with the ride and demanded Rs.200 per head.*facapalm* .
Crossing the river,had we walked,would have taken barely five minutes. But seeing only two girls in dark,he dared to ask 200.It was a spooky situation.I was neither able to see his face nor anything beyond 2-3 meters. We bargained till 50 and crossed the river.
Not a single person on the other side!! and the coracle guy left..we climbed up.This did not look like Hampi. It was a Hippie Island.All shops-or better say huts closed.All chidichup! I strained my eyes to see if I can get any help from the sign boards.But alas!I had no idea what language it used(later came to know –Hebrew)
Before he could reply,a lady(looked non-Indian) came out.She smiled.We smiled.She staggered.We rushed.But the guy said “Its okay. We are going on a bike.We will see if we can find any auto for you”. Given their unsteady condition,I highly doubted if it was a good idea to walk,let alone ride.But they zoomed off on an Activa,with the guy’s arms tightly wrapped around the lady*eye rolling*.
After few minutes ,an Autowala arrived demanding Rs.600/- to go to temple(hardly 2 km ride).
Everyone is out there to loot!!This is something you need to be very careful about.We promptly said No..and started walking towards main road.By the time we reached main road,the bargain made the fare come down to 100(to and fro as it involved waiting charges).
We sat at the foot of the Anjaneya hill,sipping hot tea,judging the steps.I could not remember the last time I used stairs in my office.Well,Lord Hanumana would take care :P.Bought a water bottle.We started climbing and halfway,witnessed this beautiful view.
All in all 575 steps,becoming steeper as we climbed.The number of steps yet to be climbed was written after every 25 steps which acted as a morale booster.At one stage ,there were some interesting boulders and we had to duck through a narrow gap.Found few people ,getting down(again foreigners) ,kept on saying,’just few more, just few more’!:P
And finally we reached the Top of Anjaneya hill.The temple is actually a small shrine painted in white but the view is breathtaking.Coconut tree plantations,fields ,Hampi ruins;all arranged as if some solved jigsaw puzzle.Serene beauty.Holy Chanting.Put some vermilion on forehead and pray to the red hanuman idol carved in rock.A red flag flutters in the air.There is also a stone from Ram Setu kept inside the temple.
The houses of priests are on the same hill.We also got to witness the non stop chanting of Ramayana inside the temple.
Well ,now is the right time to mention our ancestors.The temple area is full of them..Monkeys..Making a very good first impression,these fellows were quietly admiring the tourists.
While everyone was busy clicking selfies and twisting-turning-bending to make a good profile picture for social media,this young guy came to me aiming at the water bottle in my hand.Poor guy looked thirsty as he(or she) did some futile attempts to open the bottle.I carefully opened the cap and Saavi took this cute pic:D
He(or she) returned to his(or her) friends(or family) after gulping almost half of the bottle down the throat.
Slowly,crowd began to disperse.We thought of leaving too.We were near the edge of the hill,bidding final good bye to Lord Hanuman.I gave the water bottle to Saavi and took the camera from her to put in my bag.And then it happened!
Out of nowhere, a huge monkey jumped over Saavi. The water bottle flew in the air and next moment ,Saavi hit the ground,screaming.I was paralyzed for a moment.Fortunately,the nearby priests heard us and came running.The monkey had a look at them and ran for his life.I got Saavi on feet and we both ran inside the first house.It was so damn close!One extra foot,and Saavi would have tumbled down the hill.Mere recount of the event gives me goosebumps.So close!! We took a big wooden danda from one of the boys ,said million thanks to the priests,gathered up the courage and walked down the 575 steps in just ten minutes:P.
We reached at the foot of the hill and laughed out a loud.So close!
Another coracle ride,and this view!
Took a last look at mighty Virupaksha temple
and we started towards our next spots,in the cab that Mr.Hulugappa had booked for us.
Aihole,around 138 km from Hampi,is called the cradle of Hindu Rock Architecture depicting the mesmerizing Chalukyan art.
The legend points out that Lord Parshuram washed his blood stained hands and axe in river Malaprapha which turned the water red.
The Durga temple was build around 8th century.
The temple complex also houses an archaeological museum which mainly comprises of stone sculptures and inscriptions. The above picture is from the open air gallery.You will feel a surge of pride in the artistic capability of your antecedents for sure:)
I hope you appreciate the beauty among stones in the above two images:P
The scorching heat of North Karnataka tried it’s level best to evaporate us.As we came out of the temple complex, we got surrounded by fruit sellers and beggars.Thought it’s a good idea to buy grapes.I had a sudden desire to flaunt my Kannada expertise(lol),but I forgot the verb to be used.I said “ardha kilo maadi”.Needless to say ,everybody burst into laughter 😦
Our cab driver was a very friendly person.He kept on telling about various travelers he had met.He asked what do we do.I generally don’t disclose my profession,to avoid future inquiries.Noticing our hesitance,he did not insist much upon it.Instead,he started telling about his life story;how he wanted to study,but had to leave school in ninth standard because of poverty,now he is seeing himself in his daughter,how he had landed a driver’s job in Dubai,but his daughter teared off passport saying she is fine with whatever he earns here.The next line struck the chord “Madam,maine meri chhori ko bola hai,jitna padhna hai padh,doctor-engineer jo karna hai kar,mein humesha tera saath dunga”.It felt so nice 🙂 “We are engineers” I said.He put sudden brake.”Madam,garv se kaho!” Me and Saavi grinned at each other.
In half an hour, we reached Pattadakal(14 km from Aihole).Across the gate,we were greeted with this aesthetically eye pleasing site.
This complex includes temples of Shri KashiVishveshvara,Shri Virupaksha,Shri Galaganatha,Nandi shrine etc. Wow architecture at one place.
The next stop was the much awaited Badami caves(22 km from Pattadakal).The two gigantic mountain kinda caves welcomed us.Like look, man!
The guards near the entrance warned us of Monkeys.I packed my camera safely!
But we did not meet any !
These four rock-cut cave temples form an excellent Indian masterpiece.I could not resist taking the camera out.
This is ceiling ,btw!
I kept on clicking!
We then visited Banashankari temple(5km from Badami caves).It was some special day as the temple was too crowded.All we did was just stand in the queue ,the crowd took us directly to Goddess.:D
The final destination was Kavaloor and I was just hoping to relllaaaaaaaaxxxxxx but little did we knew that adventurous day was not yet over.
What happened next? Stay tuned for Part 3..Taaadaaaaa!!