The ‘Other side’ of Hampi is markedly different from the main Hampi town. Not so much in terms of the points of interest but in terms of the charm and the feel of place. In a nutshell, we found the ‘other side’ “cooler”.
This side was the capital of the region before Hampi and is called ‘Anegondi’. It is now a sleepy village throbbing with back packers and has lodges or hotels at every step of the way.
The ‘other side’ is best explored on a two wheeler. We discovered the reason for this when we explored the area on the rented scooter.
First up, we drove to Sanapur Lake. On one side we had acres of green paddy fields interspersed with tall coconut trees. And on the other side was the lake rising above the eye level. We were actually below the water level. It was so incredible.
We liked the lake view so much that we decided to go along the lake and took a circuitous route to Kishikinda. The drive was really fun. We went up and down the hills, around boulders and through the paddy fields. Scenic views and wind through hair, what more can you ask for?
The stories go that the ‘other side’ of Hampi was a major site in Ramayana. It was here that Lord Rama had met God Hanuman. It was in the same region that Hanuman was born at Anjaneya hill. Sugreev and Bali had their Kingdom at Kishikinda. And Rama had met Shabri near Pampa Sarovar. With so many major events in this area, there are several other places with such anecdotes.
Our favorite spots of all these places were the Durga temple, Rishimukha and the Hanuman temple.
We rode up the hill and then climbed a short passage over rocks to reach the temple. The temple is small but calm and peaceful. The temple has an interesting tradition: devotees seeking blessings tie their offerings such as coconut etc. on a tree in front of the temple. It is a charming sight, the tree with a bouquet of colorful bundles.
If you go around the temple, you will find a hidden (sort of) trail. The trail leads to gates of the fort of Bali / Sugreeva. Though there is nothing extraordinary at the end of the trail. But traversing the less trodden path was exciting in itself.
This is a hidden gem. We went off the state highway…
…and drove to the end of a narrow trail…
…then we went down the hill…
…we crossed the river stream… over a makeshift bridge…
…and climbed on top of the next hill…
…As we went a bit further… we were greeted by a captivating view.
An ancient bridge started right at our feet and crossed the width of Tungabhadra. From slots in the rock bed, you can make out where the pillars had been. Only when you have been to both sides that you realize that the bridge leads to Vithala temple. Fascinating!
The other ancient monuments and temples were undergoing large-scale restoration work. But the view itself was awesome.
It was getting overcast when we started our ascent up the Anjaneya Hill to Hanuman temple. As we reached midway, it started raining. We quickly spread the umbrella and took out our raincoat to cover the cameras (very important). Within minutes rain was pelting down heavily. It was windy and in spite of the umbrella lower half of the body was drenched.
After brief breaks on the way, we reached the top and took shelter under the shade of the temple. It was over 400 steps to the top. We took blessings from the god and waited for rain to stop.
When the rain eventually slowed down to a light drizzle, we made our way to the edge. The view was amazing. Whichever side of the hill we picked, we were captivated by the view. The boulders, the hills, the forest, the lush green fields, the time of dusk and ancient monuments in the distance. All of these together stitched an enchanting frame for us. We climbed up one of the boulders and just sat there engrossed in the beauty.
Our host had recommended that the sunset view from the Hanuman temple is the best. But it was still overcast with cloud cover over western horizon. We waited for the clouds to disperse but to no avail. It would be getting dark soon, so we climbed down from the boulder. We hung around the temple for a bit and just before starting our descent we took another shot at view of sunset.
Behold! It was an amazing sight. The sky was filled with different shades of reds and blues. The clouds which were blocking the view earlier now added to the spectacle. Towards west, Anjaneya hill extended to some distance and then fell in to the forests and fields. A lone tree was rising on the hill; dark against the crimson sky. From the edge of the hill, you could see miles and miles of green farms.
And at the horizon, the sun was just peeking under the clouds. The sun made a special appearance and then went below the line of sight. It was a sunset to remember for a long time.
Do you have a story to tell about your Hampi experience? Drop in a comment or send us a mail. We will definitely reply. All the interesting tales will be published in a special feature.