When we reached KSTDC guest house, everyone was ready. So me and brother-in-law immediately took bath, had breakfast and then started for Virupaksha temple.
We reached Virupaksha temple around 12.45 pm.
Virupaksha temple is a temple of Lord Shiva. It is the oldest temple of Hampi. It is also one of the very few practicing temple at Hampi.
The temple's history is uninterrupted from about the 7th century. The Virupaksha-Pampa sanctuary existed well before the Vijayanagara capital was located here. Inscriptions referring to Shiva date back to the 9th and 10th centuries. What started as a small shrine grew into a large complex under the Vijayanagara rulers. Evidence indicates there were additions made to the temple in the late Chalukyan and Hoysala periods, though most of the temple buildings are attributed to the Vijayanagar period.
The main entrance of the temple is from east, from Virupaksha bazar. This 50 mtr high, nine-tiered entrance, has a brick superstructure and stone base.
It gives access to the outer court containing many sub-shrines.
Then there is a smaller gate which gives access to the inner court.
At the inner court, there are a sanctum, few ante chambers, a pillared hall and an open pillared hall.
There are another two gates for the inner court. One towards north and another towards south. While the Southern gate leads to Hemkutha Hill, the northern gate gives access to the Pushkarini and Tungabhadra.
We finished Virupaksha temple visit around 1.30 pm and then started walking towards the other end of the bazar in eastwardly direction. While walking, we took some photographs of remnants of the bazar which, in its heydays, was centre of gold trading.
From this end, walking trails for Matanga Hills, Achtya Raya temple, Vittala temple start.
But we did not have enough energy to do the walking. So we spent some time there, saw Monolithic Bull and the convention centre, took some photographs of the bazarand then proceeded towards Kamalapura market for lunch.
We had our lunch at the same place and started for Anegundi around 3.15 pm saying goodbye to Hampi.
In total, we spent 1.5 day at Hampi. In my opinion, that was inadequate. In order to see Hampi in detail, in order to let Hampi grow on you, at least 3 days should be spent here. I would definitely come back here again.
Anegundi, is older than Hampi and was the capital of Vijaynagara Kingdom before Hampi. It is believed to be the monkey kingdom of Kishkindha in the epic of Ramayana, is at a distance of 5 km at east of Hampi and situated on the northern bank of Tungabhadra.
We reached Anegundi around 3.45 pm. On the way, we crossed Tungabhadra.
After reaching Anegundi, we first went to Ranganatha Swamy temple.
After that, we went to Anegundi palace which is under renovation. It was bit let down.
Then we set Pampa Sagar on Google Map and started driving. But after sometime Google Map also confused. There was no one there to give us any guidance. So we stayed at that place for few minutes took some photographs and started for Badami.
With the hindsight, I think, we should have either gone to Anegundi with more time in hand and with a guide or directly gone to Badami from Hampi.
We reached Badami around 8 pm. Total distance covered on that day was ~ 220km.
At Badami, we stayed at KSTDC Maurya Chalukya. This a better maintained property compared to that of Hosapete. Therefore, the room rates are also higher. However, the sizes of the rooms are slightly smaller that that of Hosapete. The property has adequate parking space and an in-house restaurant.
We started around 7.45 am for local sightseeing. The first destination was Badami caves. The idea was to come back to the hotel for breakfast after seeing Badami caves and then spending rest of the morning and forenoon to see the balance attractions of Badami and going to Aihole and Pattadakal in the afternoon.
All the attractions of Badami are at the east of NH367 and access to those attractions from NH367 is bit difficult because of local market and shanties. From my experience, I think that it would have been better had we hired a local vehicle for local sightseeing at Badami. We would had lost significant time to figure out the right approach road and parking space. There is no visible effort to develop this place as a tourist destination.
We reached the parking lot for Badami cave temple complex around 8 am.
The parking lot is at south-west corner of the Agastya Lake. The cave temples are on the hills on the southern bank of the Agastya lake. The temples have to accessed by stone steps. There are four cave temples.
The first cave temple was excavated around 550 CE. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva in Linga form. It consists of an open porch, a pillared hall and a sanctuary excavated into its rear wall. The side walls of the porch have large-size relief sculptures of Harihara on the left and Ardhanrishwara on the right, supported on pedestal that friezes of dwarf Ganas in various moods. The ceiling is adorned with deeply cut sculptured of coiled snake-king Nagaraja. Pn either side of this are flying Vidyadhara couples. The pillars that divide the porch from the inner hall are fluted with beautiful cushion capitals. Pillars carry low relief sculptures of deities and are decorated with pearl-festoons, foliation, medallions with mythical creatures, rows of swans etc. Other interesting themes include a two armed Shaiva-dwarpala on left flank of the porch entrance, a Vrishava-Kunjara (Bull & Elephant in one) and Shiva-Parvati mounting on Nandi.
After finishing visit of 1st cave temple, we started walking up towards the 2nd cave temple.
The 2nd cave temple was excavated for Lord Vishnu in 6th century CE. In Plan, like 1st cave temple, it comprises of an open porch, a pillared hall with a sanctuary cut into its rear wall. Two-armed, calmly disposed, meditating door guardians flank the entrance to the porch. Major sculptures in the porch include panels of Vamana-Trivikrama to the right and Vhu-Baraha to the left, with freezes of Gana (Dwarfs) caved on the pedestal. Beams carry continuous freezes of Puranic episodes of Samudra-Manthana and Krishna’s exploits. The ceiling panel features a central Matsya-Chakra (Fish Wheel) flanked by Swatika patterns. Brackets supporting the cornice resemble lions, elephants, humans emerging from the mouths of Makaras and aquatic creatures. There are reliefs of Lord Bramha, Vishnu, Durga, Kartikeya etc., decorative medallions with Vidhyadhara couples and flotations on pillar faces.
There is a stone bench in front of the 2nd cave temple. We took rest there for some time and then started ascending for the 3rd cave temple.
The 3rd cave temple was created in 578 CE by Chalukya Mangalesha in the reign of his stepbrother Kirtivarma I for the god Maha-Vishnu. Like the 1st and 2nd cave temples, the plan comprises of an open verandah and a pillared-hall with sanctuary cut in the rear wall. However, this cave temple was built on an ambitious scale being the largest and most ornate of all Chalukya caves. This cave temple has a stone structural enclosure. A Sanskrit inscription craved beside the great Varaha relief in the verandah details its dedication, date and gift of village Lanjisvara by Mangalesha. The temple’s verandah accommodates super-human size figural compositions. Eight-armed Vishnu, Vishnu seated on Ajanta and Bhu-Varaha on the left side and Harihara, majestically standing Narasimha and Vamana-Trivikrama on the right. Side faces of beams carry narrative freezes of episodes from Mahabharata and Puranas, Samudra-Manthana, Krishan’s exploits and Parijata-Harana.The image of Maha-Vishnu is missing from the sanctuary.
The 4th cave temple is a Jain temple and it is smallest among the cave temple and it is datable early 7th century. It is somewhat unfinished. It consists of an open verandah and an oblong antechamber with a sanctuary in piercing into its rear wall. Its verandah walls accommodate relief sculptures of Bahubali in penance and Parsvanatha in penance overcoming obstacles of his demonic enemy Kamatha. The sanctuary door frame depicts Kama as the door-guardian. On the rear wall of the sanctuary is the relief sculptures of a sermon-delivering Thirthnkara, probably Mahavira with Halo behind and seated on a Lion-throne under a Chaitya-tree and Triple-umbrella and attended by Chauri bearers, Vidhyadhara offering flowers and divine drums beaten by themselves.
We spent some time there, clicked some photos of Agastya Lake and started descending around 8.40 am.
After reaching parking lot, we took some photographs of an old unnamed temple and mosque, both situated on the western bank of the Agastya lake and some random photos of the hill on which the cave temple complexes are and then proceeded back towards our hotel for breakfast.
We started from KSTDC Hotel Maurya Chalukya around 10 am after having breakfast.
Our first destination was Malagitti Shivalaya. As mentioned earlier, the approach road from NH267 for this temple as well as other attractions are in a very bad condition. The roads are narrow, through market place and densely populated area and without proper direction and full of potholes. We missed one turn and reached a dead end reversing the car there was a hellish task. Finally, after a lot of effort, we managed to reach the base of Malagatti Shivalaya. There was some open space where we parked our car. There was no proper parking lot. By that time, almost half an hour had gone.
From the place of parking, it is required to climb up using stone cut steps to visit the temple. It is perched on a rock-outcrop.
This is a 7th century temple. The temple is East facing and of Dravidian style. Originally dedicated to the Sun-God Aditya, the temple consists of an open porch, a rectangular head, a small vestibule and a square sanctuary enshrining a linga. Sanctuary’s decorated door frame includes a band of snakes held by Garuda on the lintel. On the architrave is a relief of seated Sun-God riding on a chariot drawn by seven horses. A relief accommodated in the vestibule medallion containing Vishnu riding on a Garuda. The entrance of the hall is flanked by deep niches that contain sword bearing door-guardians Dinda and Pingala. In elevation, the temple comprises of a typical Dravidian basement with emphasis on high Kantha (Neck), walls with Kudya-Stambhas (thin pillar reliefs) and Kapota (Cornice) topped by Hara (Parapet). The sanctuary’s superstructure comprised of the dwarfed first storey, complete with parapet. The Griva (Neck) capped by an octagonal Shikhara (Dome). Four corner miniature Kutas hide the neck part. The Stupi (Pot-final) is missing. The niches of the exterior of the hall accommodate beautiful figure of standing Shiva attended by ascetic devotees (south) and standing Vishnu attended by Kaumodaki (Gada or Mace personified as a lady) and Garuda. Both show features typical of late Gupta sculptures-style noticed in 6th Century CE in Malava region in Northern India.
It took around 30 minutes to complete visit of Malagatti Shivalaya.
Our next destinations were Badami Fort, Lower Shivalya and Upper Shivalaya. There is a narrow road in that direction from where we parked our car. However, I did not get the courage to take the road. So, we came back to NH367 and tried to find out the right approach road from the highway. But that did not work and we finally came back to the parking lot of Cave temples and decided to go to the other attractions from there by foot. Most of the attractions of Badami are around Agastya Lake. Therefore, one full round of Agastya Lake will enable you to cover most of the attractions.
Badami cave temples are on a rock on the southern bank of the lake. Badami Fort, lower Shivalaya and Upper Shivalaya are on a rock on the northern bank of the lake. There were shanties at the western bank of the lake and there was no proper road for going from the southern bank to northern bank. Somehow, we managed to reach the northern bank making our way through the shanties.
At the base of the northern rock, there is a museum. We decided to give it a pass and started our trek passing through a huge entrance gate.
There is stepped path for going to the top of the northern rock. The path is flanked by huge orange-red rocks with mysterious narrow and deep clefts.
After sometime, we crossed another gate.
After crossing the gate, the road bifurcates. The left branch goes to lower Shivalaya. The right branch continues to ascend towards upper Shivalaya and Badami fort.
The lower Shivalaya, perched on a high point of the protruding rock overlooking the town, dates from 6th Century CE. It represents a Dravidian style temple of the early phase of Chalukyas of Badami and apparently owes its creation to royal patronage. Originally it comprised of a small porch, a hall and a double walled sanctuary with an ambulatory around. Now only the inner sanctuary part of the structure exists.
From the lower Shivalaya, the upper Shivalaya is visible at a height.
Another old structure is visible at the same height of the lower Shivalaya but it is not accessible.
After visiting the lower Shivalaya, we took the other branch towards the fort and upper Shivalaya. After walking few hundred meters, to the left, there is a cleft which leads to the huge circular bastion which is visible from all over Badami.
Malagatti Shivalaya is visible from there with Badami town as the backdrop.
After seeing this, we came back to the main path and crossed another gate.
After this gate the path becomes really narrow.
After crossing those narrow pathways, we finally reached the flat hill top.
The original image of upper Shivalaya is lost.As Vaishnava themes are carved on its outer wall, it is a Vaishnava temple. There are images of Narsimha killing demon Hiranyakashyapu on the northern wall, Govardhan Giri-dhari on the Southern wall and Kaliyadamana on the western wall.
On the top, we saw some 18th CE rectangular underground chambers which are known as Tipu’s treasury.
There are two conical structures made of rubbles, which could be granaries.
Lower Shivalaya, with Badami town as the backdrop, and Agastya Lake are visible from the top.
After spending sometime there, we started coming down.
Badami also known as Vatapi, was the capital of Chalukyas (6th – 8th AD) which extended at the time of Pulikesin II from Kanchi in Tamilnad to the banks of Narmada and from Odissa to West coast. After a setback for a while owing to the attacks from Pallavas under Narshimha Varman I, the Chalukyas regained their territory gave impetus to the revival of Hindu religion and art. At this time, because of the scenic beauty and natural defiance provided by the majestically standing rock surrounding Agastya lake, they shifted their capital from Aihole to Badami and built a fort on flat top of the northern rock which used to be residence of the Chalukyan kings. Today, other than those three gates, parts of the temples, remnants of broken fort walls, nothing exist. The grandeur of past has succumbed to the fury of time.
After coming down from the northern rock, we started walking towards east for Bhutanatha group of temples. On the way, we crossed Mallikarjuna temple. It belongs to a later period and it was built during the reign of the Western Chalukyas.
Bhutanatha group of temples is on the eastern bank of the Agastya lake. The Bhutanatha group of temples comprises of a bunch of sandstone temples, all dedicated to Lord Shiva. This group of temples came under the influence of Jains for a period of time. Later, it was taken over by the Lingayats who installed a Shiva Linga in the shrine and a Nandi in front.
After watching Bhutanatha group of temples, we headed towards the parking lot along the southern bank of the lake. It was quarter to 1 pm then and was the time to go back to hotel for lunch.