Sunday, 3 January 2016

Pashan Lake bird watching 2016, Pune

The winter season is delight for bird watchers. I love to do bird watching and bird photography hence doesn’t want to miss an opportunity with my Camera. There are many places around Pune where you can see migratory birds. I visited Pashan Lake in the month of Jan 2016. You can spend plenty of time by just watching birds and their activity. 

Spot Billed Duck
Spot Billed Duck

About Pashan Lake:
               Pashan lake is artificial Lake near Pashan area. The lake was built in 1990s to supply drinking water. Pashan lake has a total catchment area of 40 square kilometers (15 sq. mi). Now water quality deteriorated due to quantity of sewage water and other effluents mixing in the water. This Lake area and surrounding area attracts migratory birds and so is popular spot for bird watchers from Pune.There is narrow footpath Nature trail along Lake. Nature trail is best place for Bird watching and to capture photo.

To reach Pashan Lake, join Paud road (by flyover from Dashapuja Ganesh temple) from Pune city – Paud road – chandani chuwk – Do not join on national highway – From Chandani chuwk take right (which goes towards Pashan area) –Pashan Road – Drive till Pashan circle – Take left on circle – Do not take right turn towards Pashan-Sus Road –Keep looking for an old arch on left – Take left there – Drive around 1 km and park your vehicle to explore area.

For footpath nature trail, if you are facing to Lake then keep walking on left side – You will find narrow footpath which goes inside forest – Keep walking and explore other trails on right side which take you close to water body. Please mind you steps as some part of land close to lake is quite middy or covered by water plants.

Jan 2016: Kothrud to Pashan Lake (Distance is approx. 9-10 km)
             I’m regular visitor for Pashan Lake for bird watching in every winter. It is just as paradise place for bird watchers and that to so close to the city area. There is a small island in-between Lake which is home for most of the wet land bird. It’s better to carry binocular. Many migratory wetland birds travel to Pashan Lake. Due to low monsoon in year 2015, less number of birds arrived in the lake area.

Spoonbill at Pashan
Spoonbill at Pashan

Better to visit Pashan area from Nov to Feb. From Feb water level gets reduce hence you can go on trial around lake to explore more birds.
I don’t know what to write more on Pashan Lake so I will post list of birds which you can see in Pashan Lake. You can help me by adding birds name which you have seen in this area.

Ruddy sheldduck at Pashan
Ruddy sheldduck at Pashan

Red wattled Lapwing
Purple Moorhen
Mahratta Woodpecker
White breasted Kingfisher
Drongo
Brahmin Duck
Ashy Wren warbler
Indian Pipit
Glossy IBIS
Red-rumped swallow
Common Coot
Common Pochard
Asian Paradise Flycatcher
Jungle Babbler
Green Bee-eater 
Spot-bill Duck
Little Cormorant
Laughing Doves 
Purple Sunbird
Cotton Teal
Forest Wagtail
Pheasant tailed Jacana
Pied Kingfisher
Grey Wagtail
Indian Whiskered Tern
Shoveller Duck
Yellow Wagtail
House Crow
    Painted stork     Large pied Wagtail
Jungle Crow
Pied Bushchat
Open billed Stork
Small Blue Kingfisher
Purple heron
    Spoonbill stork
Bonnelli's Eagle
Pond Heron
    Wooly necked stork
Rufousbacked Shrike
Egret

Redvented Bulbul
Magpie Robin


Below are snaps taken during my various visits to Pashan Lake.

Spoonbill

Photographers

Ducks

Spot Billed duck family

Spot Billed duck

Purple swamphen

Glossy ibis

I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.

Pritesh Kulkarni
Pune

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Quick trip to Mayureshwar wildlife sanctuary and Bhuleshwar Temple

My last trip was on 2nd October and then I was completely busy with office work. During Diwali festival, we got a day free for outing. We decided to visit Mayureshwar wildlife sanctuary and Bhuleshwar Temple which is just 75 km away from Pune. Our friends Abhijit Joshi and Manasi Joshi joined us for this trip.

Chinkara at Mayureshwar wildlife sanctuary
Chinkara at Mayureshwar wildlife sanctuary

About Mayureshwar wildlife sanctuary and Bhuleshwar Temple:
               Mayureshwar wildlife sanctuary is located near Baramati, Pune district. Forest type is Dry bush forest. The sanctuary is famous for Indian gazelle (Chinkara in Marathi). Other animals found in this forest are hyena, Indian gray wolf and Indian fox. It is also home for a variety of birds.
               Bhuleshwar Temple is located near Yavat and situated on a hill and was built in the 13th century. Temple is of Lord Shiva. It is famous due to classic carving on walls and Nandi statue. Base of Bhuleshwar hill is home for a variety of birds.

To reach at Mayureshwar wildlife, easy way is Pune – Hadapsar – Join Solapur highway – Drive your vehicle 60km from Pune on Highway – take a left at Kedagaon – Drive 20 km – look at right for arch – Take a right for Mayureshwar wildlife sanctuary.

To reach at Bhuleshwar Temple, Pune – Hadapsar - Join Solapur highway – Yavat – Take a right at Yavat – Drive 8 km and take a right for Bhuleshwar temple hill.

You can spend half day or full day along with your camera and binoculars.

12th Nov 2015: Pune - Mayureshwar wildlife sanctuary - Bhuleshwar Temple – Pune (Total 200km drive):
               We woke up by 5.30 AM and left Pune at 6.30 AM with our friends Abhijit and Manasi. Soon we reached Solapur highway. The highway was in excellent condition. Due to wide and smooth road, we were able to reach Mayureshwar wildlife sanctuary in 1 hour. I was aware of permit process so I parked my vehicle at the forest office. Hiring a guide for safari is not compulsory and you can visit park with your own vehicle as well. After all mandatory process, we entered in the park area.

Entrance gate of Sanctuary
Entrance gate of Sanctuary

               Drive around 1.5 km from forest office and there is narrow rough road takes you into forest area. There are two water trenches in the forest which are drinking water source for animals. We decided to visit these places first. When we entered in the sanctuary, we saw few Indian gazelle. They were quite far away from us but we were not expecting so early sighting of them. There is a mud road inside the sanctuary with huge grasslands and some areas with shrubs, a very good area for Chinkara and other grassland birds & animals.

Chinkara
Chinkara

Chinkara
Chinkara

               We started our Safari towards the water source. It was nice experience to explore dry bush forest area. We spend more than 3 hours in the park. We saw more than 25-30 Chinkara in mammals category whereas in birds, we spotted Steppe Eagle, Grey-necked Bunting, Sykes’s Lark, Tree Pipit, Indian Thick-knee, Red Collared Dove, Common Hoopoe, Small Minivet, Common Kestrel, Rufous Tailed Lark, Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark, Grey Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Blyth’s Reed Warbler, Asian Koel, Long-tailed Shrike, Bay-backed Shrike, Scaly-breasted Munia, Little Egret, Red-breasted Flycatcher, White-throated Kingfisher, Laughing Dove, Green Bee-eater, Common Woodshrike, Yellow-wattled Lapwing and Black Drongo.


Green bee eater

              I was carrying my 55-250mm lens hence was unable to click any bird photos and it was my first visit in Mayureshwar sanctuary hence the focus was on Chinkara. Another attraction in the park is Indian Courser. It is known as Dhavik in Marathi due its special walking style which is like running. We unable to spot him but decided to visit again for Indian Courser. We enjoyed our safari till 11 and decided to leave this place.

Common Hoopoe

Ready for crossing...Chinkara

               Our next destination was Bhuleshwar Temple near Yavat. We were hungry and took lunch break in famous restaurant named Kanchan near Yavat toll booth. Food here is very tasty and definitely worth trying once when you’re on Solapur highway.

Tent stay at Mayureshwar wildlife sanctuary
Tent stay at Mayureshwar wildlife sanctuary

Forest route

               After a delicious lunch we came at Bhuleshwar Temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. As per mythology it was a fort which was called as 'Mangalgadh'. It is said that Parvati danced for Shiva and from here they went to Kailash and got married. Temple was built during the period of 1230 AD during Yadava Rulers. The temple is made in two layers. The first layer i.e. the temple wall structure which is Yadav era is made from black Basalt stone, while the second layer i.e. the shikhar structure is made in lime and gypsum, and was constructed during the Maratha-Peshwa period.

Bhuleshwar Temple
Bhuleshwar Temple

              Entry to Bhuleshwar Temple is quite interesting. While entering in the temple shrine, you can see a huge wall and immediate steps on left as well as right side which take you inside the temple. Idol of Nandi is very beautiful which is placed in front of the shrine. It serves as the mount (Vaahan in Marathi) of the lord Shiva and as the gatekeeper of Shiva and Parvati.

Idol of Nandi
Idol of Nandi

Beautiful carving at Bhuleshwar
Beautiful carving at Bhuleshwar


               Carvings on the temple walls and pillars are stunning and every picture is different than the other. There are depictions of scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata on either side of temple like “Sita-haran”, “Bharat-Milap” etc. Apart from its awesome architectural standpoints both from inside and outside, the most mesmerizing thing one can notice about it is that there are several sculptures of Hindu male gods which are represented in female body and attire, especially the lord Ganesha, which is very rare to experience..!!




We spend around an hour and left this place by 3 PM. We reached home safely by 4 PM

Expense

  • Car Petrol: INR 1000/- (Approx. 14 Lit)
  • Car toll: INr 37.50/- return entry
  • Mayureshwar sanctuary Entry fee: INR 30/- per person
  • Mayureshwar sanctuary Vehicle entry fee: INR 100/- for car
  • Mayureshwar sanctuary Camera charges: INR 50/- per camera
  • Kanchan Veg hotel: INR 690/- for 4 people (Masala Papad, 2 south Indian dishes, 1 veg Panjabi, Roti, Lassi, lime soda and milk shake)

I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.

Pritesh Kulkarni
Pune

Friday, 30 October 2015

Road trip to Magnificent Hampi

We had been on a road trip to Karnataka in February 2015; however due to time constraint we were unable to visit one of the best archaeological sites Badami and Hampi. Both places were on our must visit list and finally we planned in October.
To avoid the length of my travel blog, I have divided it into 2 parts. You can read the first part of travel blog at Charismatic Badami - Pattadakal and Aihole Road trip

Travelers for this trip were me and wife Renuka.

Stone Chariot at Hampi
Stone Chariot at Hampi

About Hampi:
             Hampi is also known as Hampe located in north Karnataka. It is situated on the bank of Tungabhadra River. Hampi is one of the famous historical villages in India and UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi. The name is derived from Pampa, which is the old name of the Tungabhadra River.
             Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire from 1336 to 1565. It was chosen as the capital because of its strategic location, protected by Tungabhadra River on one side and surrounded by unconquerable hills on the other three sides. Hampi is known for its beauty of the temples and architectures and monuments spread out in whole city.

Day 2: 3rd Oct 2015: Badami - Hampi:
               We spend our Day 1 in Badami, Pattadakal and in Aihole. We left Aihole in the evening for our next destination i.e. Hampi. Drive from Aihole to Hampi was Aihole – Hungund – Kushtagi – Munirabad – Hosapete (Hospet) – Hampi. We reached at Hampi by 6.30 PM.

Travel Blog: Charismatic Badami - Pattadakal and Aihole Road trip

We had not done any hotel booking in advance hence our first task was to search for hotels. Many locals suggested to stay in Hampi bazar. We checked few hotels but problem was we could not take our vehicle in the bazar area. We would have to park your vehicle 500 meter away and carry luggage to room. We got to know about Padma guest house which was the outside bazar area with proper parking space, therefore we decided to stay here. We checked in and went out for a walk in the Heritage village.

Virupaksha Temple

               We visited Virupaksha Temple which was a stone’s throw away distance from the guest house. Virupaksha Temple is also known as the Pampavathi temple. It predates the founding of the Vijayanagara Empire. This is the only temple where worship process is followed in Hampi. Temple has huge 160 foot high Gopura (entrance of a temple in south India) tower. Temple is dedicate to Shiva and along with Lord Shiva the temple complex also contains shrines of the Bhuvaneshwari and Pampa. The doors of this temple are beautifully carved. The ceiling has been decorated magnificently. One of the major attractions in temple is the Laxmi elephant and her blessings. If you give her money or a banana then she gives you blessings by keeping her trunk on your head. It was an amazing site to watch.

Virupaksha temple tower, Hampi
Virupaksha temple tower, Hampi

              After spending some time in the temple, we decided to explore Hampi bazar followed by dinner. Hampi bazar consists of a variety of shops. Hampi is often visited by foreigners hence you will find that the market here are similar to the markets in Goa. Hampi bazar also consists of nice restaurants which serves worldwide cuisine. We tried Gopi restaurant. Most of the restaurants have free Wi-Fi facility as only BSNL mobile network works in Hampi village. We purchased a guide book and a map from one of the shops. Hampi shops and restaurants close at 10 PM.

Hampi Bazar
Hampi Bazar
Expense:
  • KA Toll 1: INR 45/-
  • KA Toll 2: INR 45/-
  • KA Toll 3: INR 34/-
  • Padma Guest house: INR 1600/- for 2 nights (Non AC Room)
  • Dinner at Gopi restaurant: INR 450/- for 2 person

Day 3: 4th Oct 2015: Hampi:
             We woke up by 5:30 AM but it was raining. Most of the Heritage sites open at 6 or 7 AM. Our plan is to start the day with Lord Shiva’s Darshan at Virupaksha Temple. We took blessings of Elephant Laxmi and spent some time with her.
              As Vijaya Vittala temple opens at 8:30 AM hence our first destination was Hazara Rama Temple. Reason behind the temple name is not known but it is close to the King’s Palace. Being near the palace, it was a temple for the royal family. King Krishna Devaraya built it in 1513. This temple belongs to Royal family hence it is not as huge as the other temples in the city. Major attraction of this temple is its walls. Every inch of the outer wall is filled with carvings depicting scenes from the Ramayana. Figures are carved in series, mainly of elephants and horses. There are figures from Ramayana that are worth watching.

Hazara Rama Temple
Hazara Rama Temple

Hazara rama temple wall carving

Hazar rama temple, Hampi
Hazar rama temple, Hampi

             Opposite to the Hazara Rama temple, you can view some ruined temple parts. Also there is temple pillar and a deep well. As per history, villagers sacrificed their sheep and buffaloes on the day of Mahanavami.

Temple Pillar, Hampi

             As it was 8 AM in clock, we decided to visit Vijaya Vittala temple. While returning, we decided to visit places like Mahanavami Dibba, stepped tank, Lotus mahal, Queen’s bath and elephant stable. Vijaya Vittala Temple is situated northeast of Hampi, close to Tungabhadra River. You need to drive towards Kamalapur and then take left towards Nimbapura village for the temple. Private vehicles are not allowed till the temple area. You need to park your vehicle 2 km before the temple. Huge parking area is available and battery operated vehicle service takes you to the temple.

Vijaya Vittala Temple, Hampi
Vijaya Vittala Temple, Hampi

Talarighatta Gate at Vijaya Vittala temple, HAmpi
Talarighatta Gate at Vijaya Vittala temple, HAmpi

               Vijaya Vittala Temple is dedicated to Lord Vittala who is also known as Vithoba / Panduranga an aspect of Vishnu worshipped in the Maratha country. We reached at the temple by 8.30 AM. Vijaya Vittala Temple is the main attraction in Hampi. We hired a guide to understand the significance for temple and the beautiful carvings. Entrance Gopura of temple is very beautiful. We got to know from the guide that it was a multi storey Gopura at that time. In 14tth century King Devaraya 2 (1424-1446) had built this temple and King Krishna Devaraya (1509-1529) developed in further.

Vijaya Vittala temple, Hampi
Vijaya Vittala temple, Hampi

              One of the major attractions in the temple area is Stone chariot or Ratha. This is one of the three famous stone chariots in India, the other two being in Konark and Mahabalipuram. This stone chariot was built in order to commemorate victory over Orissa kingdom. Some say, the King was inspired by Konark temple from Orissa and built same one here. During those days, it was painted in red, yellow and green color which faded out due to weather. Still you can see some paint on the Chariot. Originally the Chariot had horse structures pulling this chariot but it was destroyed and then it was replaced by two elephants by government. The tails and the rear legs of the horses can be still seen just behind these elephant sculptures.

Stone Chariot at Hampi
Stone Chariot at Hampi

             Famous chariot consist of stone wheels. The wheels of the Ratha can be rotated but the government has cemented them to avoid the damage caused by the visitors. You can see small ladder in front of the Ratha. Originally the ladder was big but it was damaged. It was one of the best sculptures from Hampi.

Color on Stone Chariot

              Next to the Stone Chariot, you can see the main hall in front of Vittala temple which is called as Maha-Mandapa. It consists of four open halls within mainly named as East, south, north and central hall. The lowermost part of the hall is carved with a chain of horses, its trainers and the traders. The main highlight of the Maha-Mandapa is its richly carved giant monumental pillars. It is also known as musical pillars. Along with this there are sculptures with musicians, drummers and dancers. Locals say, during old time this hall was used for dance and pillars were used to create musical sound. Overall designs, images, paintings and carvings are simply masterpieces.

Musical Pillars at Vittala Temple
Musical Pillars at Vittala Temple

Vijaya vittala temple
Vijaya Vittala temple

               You can see the arrangements in stone which were used as outlet for rain water, hooks on the ceiling which were used to cover entire hall by cloth to maintained privacy during dance shows. There is also an image of a bull and elephant with a share head etc. Inner or main part of temple is richly decorated. The inner shrine is lacking of any idol. A narrow and unlit passageway encloses the inner shrine. A few steps on either sides of the shrine’s main door give access to this passage.

Beautiful carving
Beautiful carving

             We saw all other places from Temple area. You can spend 3-4 hours easily to see the beautiful carvings. We left this place but I wanted to capture view of entire temple so we climbed a small hill near the temple. Road to the temple was one of the best market in the world at that era. It was famous for horse trade. Traders from all over world came and exchanged their best horses for gold and diamonds in Hampi. You can see such sequence of sculptures. You can see ruins of the market on both side of the road which leads to the temple.

Market view

Market outside temple

Market view

Inside market
          Our next destination was Queen’s Bath which was constructed by King Achyuta Raya for the women of the royal family of Vijayanagara. Though named as the Queen’s Bath, it was in all probability used as the private bathing chamber of the king and his queens. The building has lost its glory. Queen’s Bath was built in the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. The central bath area was open to the sky but there used to be a canopy, probably made of wood covering it and was later burnt down.

Queens Bath, Hampi
Queens Bath, Hampi
               Center part of the bath is surrounded by window-like balconies projecting into the bath. The roof of the Queen’s Bath is made up of several domes and you can see the unique detailing on each dome. There is a bridge to cross the moat and reach the bath. It is believed that the moat was designed to prevent anyone from entering the building while the bath was in use.
              After visit to the Queen Bath, we again join the rough road to visit remaining places from Royal Enclosure. We visited Mahanavami Dibba. The term “Dibba” in Kannada means “High level platform or High ground”. This is the tallest structure in the royal palace area. Mahanavami Dibba was built after victory over Orissa. Vijayanagara was famous to host the rich and royal for the Dasara Celebrations every year. It was used by kings as platform to celebrate the 9 days long splendid function religiously known as Mahanavami festival. King would sit on the ornamental platform to watch the army march-past, war games and royal processions that were held as part of festival. Sculptures and figures of hunter, animals and scenes from Purana are some beautiful carvings found here.

Mahanavami Dibba
Mahanavami Dibba

              Our next destination was the Stepped tank or Pushkarni tank. The tank is 22m wide and 7m deep which means 22/7 i.e. ratio of the Pi. It was discovered in year 1981 by member of ASI. Construction and design is marvelous. Due to Post monsoon time, only 3-4 levels were visible.

Stepped Tank, Hampi
Stepped Tank, Hampi

               There are many places to visit within the royal palace. One of them is a secret chamber. Center portion of this chamber is open to sky but it was an enclosed chamber which was used for secret meetings with the king. Few meters away from the Mahanavami Dibba, you can see a large sized tank which was used as swimming pool for the royal children. Water to all these tanks was fed by an extensive network of canals.

Secret chamber, Hampi
Secret chamber, Hampi

Royal Tank, Hampi
Royal Tank, Hampi

Royal Enclosure
Royal Enclosure

               At short distance away from the Royal Enclosure, there is a beautiful place such as Zenana Enclosure which consists of Lotus Mahal and watchtowers. Queen palace is surrounded by high walls on all sides. Lotus Palace is Indo-Islamic architectural style palace which was a meeting place for the royal women. It is two storey palace with beautiful carving. The watch towers from Zenana Enclosure was always guarded by female warriors. Out of non-religious buildings Lotus Mahal has an attractive photographic feature.

Lotus Mahal (Queen palace), Hampi
Lotus Mahal (Queen palace), Hampi

               A short walk from lotus palace, you can reach at the Elephant Stables. For me, it was mystery that how come royal elephants were neighbors of Royal woman. Elephant stable consist of total 11 huge domed tall compartments to keep the best 11 royal elephants. This impressive structure is built in Indo-Islamic architectural style. All elephant chambers are connected with arched openings. The domes are of various types such as circular, fluted, octagonal and ribbed. Center hall or chambers is large in size, probably used to keep the king’s own elephant. Central chamber and tower look like a temple. At the rear of each hall are small manhole type openings for the mahouts to enter the elephant compartments.

Elephant stable, Hampi
Elephant stable, Hampi

Inter connected Stable
Inter connected Stable

Elephant Stable, Hampi
Elephant Stable, Hampi

              There is another small building which was house of Mahoot (Elephant’s rider). The open area in front of the building was a parade ground for the elephants. This is a magnificent structure in Hampi and must visit place for sure. It was 1.30 PM in the clock and we decided to go back to Hampi for lunch. We had our lunch in Hampi bazar and took a power nap before we began with our evening sightseeing.
              In the evening, we decided to spend more time to explore Matanga Hill for perfect sunset view and Achyuta Raya’s Temple. The road opposite to the Virupaksha Temple goes to Matanga hill. Achyuta Raya’s Temple is behind Matanga hill. But best way to see both places is to walk along the river to visit Achyuta Raya’s Temple first and then there is a way to climb up the hill. Plan in such a way that you will reach on the hill before sunset.

Way to Achyut Raya temple
Way to Achyut Raya temple

               Way to Achyuta Raya Temple is close to river and is a very nice trail. We saw many Coracle Boats lying down there on the bank of the river waiting for the tourists. The river and adjacent area consist of heavy stone and trees offer beautiful view. We reached at Achyuta Raya Temple on the other side of the hill.
               In front of the Achyuta Raya Temple, there is a row of ruined pavilions on the both sides. During the empire time, this was a flourishing market of gems, pearls etc. There is a ruined market street in front of temple in a semi secluded valley formed by two hills namely Gandhamadana and Matanga. Roughly half a kilometer long and about 50 meters wide, this street was once thronged by merchants even from faraway places. A large rectangular tank associated with Achyuta Raya’s temple is located at the northwest end of the street. It is known as Pushkarni tank.

Market outside Achyuta Raya temple
Market outside Achyuta Raya temple

Pushkarni tank, Hampi
Pushkarni tank, Hampi

Pushkarni temple

               Achyuta Raya Temple is built in 1534 by Salakaraju Tirumaladeva, high officer in King Achyuta Deva Raya’s court. It was dedicated to Lord Tiruvengalanatha, who is none other than Lord Vishnu.

Achyuta Raya Temple, Hampi
Achyuta Raya Temple, Hampi

              The main shrine is located at the center of two rectangular concentric courtyards. In the compound of this temple, we spotted some of the finest carved pillars. Two huge towers placed one behind the other are ruined. We get access to temple courtyards from here. On entering the inner court there is a chamber facing the portal and a small chamber where an idol of Garuda was placed. Temple is one of the magnificent and major temples of Hampi.

Inside Achyuta Raya Temple

Achyuta Raya temple Shrine, Hampi

              Our next destination was Matanga hill which is a view point of hampi. There are two routes to climb the hill, one from opposite side of Virupaksha Temple and another from Achyuta Raya Temple. We climbed from the Achyuta Raya Temple side and came down by the other route. It takes around 20-25 mins to climb if you are a good hiker else may take 45 mins. It is the heighted point in Hampi and mainly famous for Sunrise and sunset view. You have to climb stone steps and some rocky patches at the end. End part is a bit slippery if it is raining. This is a nice small hiking route hence young and fit people prefer this place to visit.

Way to Matanga Hill

Achyuta Raya temple view
Achyuta Raya temple view

View from Matanga Hill

              We reached at the top by 5.30 PM and spent around an hour. Due to cloudy weather we unable to enjoy the sunset but trust me; view of Hampi from this place is simply breathtaking. You can get best aerial view of Achyuta Raya Temple from hill top. If you have good telephoto lens or binoculars then it’s fun to find all the tourist spots from the hill. View of Rocky Mountains, River, Achyuta Raya Temple, Virupaksha temple, Krishna temple, Vijaya Vittala temple etc. is magnificent. We were the only tourists at top and enjoyed beautiful evening before we came back.

View from Hill

View from Matanga Hill

View of Bal Krishna temple from Hill

                We visited Virupaksha Temple once again and then went to the Hampi bazar. We had heard a lot about the Mango tree restaurant from the locals so we had dinner there. Food was good but not must visit restaurant. By 10.30 PM we came back in hotel for rest.

Virupaksha temple at night
Virupaksha temple at night

Expense:

  • Shuttle battery car ride: INR 40/- for 2 person (To-and-Fro journey)
  • Vittala Temple entry: INR 20/- (for 2 person)
  • Vittala Temple Video camera chargers: INR 25/- (No chargers for camera)
  • Guide at Vittala Temple: INR 250/-
  • Coconut water at Vittala Temple: INR 20/- per coconut
  • Elephant stable and Lotus palace entry free: INR 20/- for 2 person
  • Elephant stable and Lotus palace video camera chargers: INR 25/- (No chargers for camera)
  • Lunch in Hampi Bazar: INR 280/- for 2 people (Starters, Panjabi veg, rice and cold drinks)
  • Snacks near Hampi bazar: INR 70/- (Pani puri, bhel, bhaji etc)
  • Dinner: INR 410/- for 2 people (Starters and 1 large Pizza)

Day 4: 5th Oct 2015: Hampi - Pune:
              This was our last day of Badami-Hampi trip. We planned to leave Hampi by 10 AM and before we left, we planned to visit the remaining tourist places. We woke up by 6AM and left the room by 6.30 AM. Our first destination was Hemakuta hill. Hemakuta Hill Temple Complex is a group of small temples on the hill which consists of Ganesh temple, Jain temple and Krishna temple. It is also a best place to see Virupaksha Temple from an arial view. Road to this hill is on the left side of Virupaksha temple entrance. There are boards which guide you well. You can enter from entrance arch which is the entrance gate for the hill.
Temples are in ruined condition without an idol but overall view of Hampi is nice. I liked this place for better view of Virupaksha temple.

View of Virupaksha temple
View of Virupaksha temple

Virupaksha Temple
Virupaksha Temple

Entrance to Hemakuta hill
Entrance to Hemakuta hill

               As per Mythology, ‘Pampa’ meditated on Shiva by which he was pleased by her dedication for him and married her. Pampa was Manasa putri (mind-born daughter) of Brahma, an incarnation of Parvathi. On the occasion of the divine wedding there was rain of gold on this hill. Gold is also called Hema. Thus it is called as Hemakuta hill. To evidence these legends we find many temples dedicated to Lord Siva here.

Temples on Hemakuta hill
Temples on Hemakuta hill
Ruined Temples on hill
Ruined Temples on hill

               On the other side of Hemakuta hill, there is a very beautiful Ganesh idol temple. The statue of Lord Ganesh is 2.5 meters tall which was constructed in 1506 AD by a merchant from Chandragiri in the memory of King Narasimha II, Vijayanagara. The Ganesh idol is placed inside a pavilion. Stomach of Ganesh resembles mustard seed as such it is identified as “Sasivekalu Ganesha”. You can observe a snake tied around the stomach of the Ganesh idol. As per the mythological stories, it is believed that Ganesh tied that snake to prevent his stomach from getting busted due to overeating.

Sasivekalu Ganesha
Sasivekalu Ganesha

              We spent around an hour here and left the hill for our next destination which was Narasimha Vigraha also known as Ugra Narasimha. ‘Ugra’ means angry with aggression and ‘Narasimha’ means the Lion headed god. This is one of the main sculptures from Hampi. You will see either Ugra Narasimha or stone chariot pictures as cover photo on any book on Hampi. There is no entry fee and it is open for entire day. Statue was built in year 1528 during the period of King KrishnadevaRaya (1509-30). In 1528, the statue was of goddess ‘Laxmi’ on the lap of god Narasimha but statue of Laxmi had fallen down but is preserved at Kamalapura Museum.

Narasimha temple
              Lord Narasimha is seen sitting on the coils of Sesha Naga and guarded by lions. Seven headed snake-god spread over on the Lord from behind looks like canopy. Ugra expression can be easily seen in the large eyes. The idol looks grand and marvelous.

Ugra Narasimha

               Another tourist place, Shivlinga temple is located close to the Ugra Narasimha Statue. Shiv-Linga temple is very small and nothing much to see in it but the Shivaling is quite huge in size standing in the midst of water. It was commissioned by poor women and hence it named Badavi-Ling temple.

Shivlinga temple, Hampi
Shivlinga temple, Hampi

               Our second last destination in Hampi was the Underground Shiva temple known as Pathaleshwara temple which is built in year 1442. It opens at 8.30 AM. It is known as underground temple because it was built below ground level. Now days, it is not exactly as underground as such. The shrine and central parts of temple are always under water. Water restricts entry into the central part of the temple. Depending upon the water level we can enter the sanctum area. It is an earliest structure in Hampi.

Underground Shiva temple
Underground Shiva temple

               Our last destination in Hampi was Balakrishna Temple. Currently some restoration work is in progress at the entrance to strengthen the structure. Balakrishna temple is a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna built by the ruler Krishnadeva Raya in 1513. Locals say, Balakrishna temple was built to remember his victory over king of Orissa Prataparudra Gajapati. In any battle, the winner could take anything of the defeated king. In that victory Krishnadeva Raya seized an idol of Balakrishna (child Krishna) as the war trophy. He built this temple to consecrate the deity. There is no Idol in the shrine whereas it is housed safely in Government Museum at Madras.

Road outside Bal-Krishna temple
Road outside Bal-Krishna temple
BalaKrishna Temple, Hampi
BalaKrishna Temple, Hampi

              Like other main temples, this temple also consists of 3 entrances. Pictures of Bal-Krishna are carved in the wall at the entrance and are amazing to watch. Overall temple architecture looks similar to Vijaya Vittala Temple. The walls, row of pillars, and dome of temples are imprinted with beautiful, fine carvings. They tell you about Bhagavata and tales of Krishna. In front of Balakrishna temple, there is huge open ground with ruined building on both sides. It was used for a large popular market at that time.

Balakrishna temple Shrine
Balakrishna temple Shrine
BalaKrishna Temple side view
BalaKrishna Temple side view

Market ruins outside BalaKrishna temple
Market ruins outside BalaKrishna temple

          It was 10 AM in the clock and we decided to leave Hampi. We checked-out from the hotel and left for Pune by 11 AM. We had our lunch by 3 PM after crossing Hubali. Till sunset Renuka enjoyed driving and I took charge of vehicle in Maharashtra. We reached home safely after the magnificent trip to Badami and Hampi by 10.00 PM.

Its time to say Bye Hampi...

Expense:
  • Car petrol at Hospet: INR 2000/-
  • Snacks at Hospet: INR 78/- (Dosa and idle Sambar)
  • KA Toll 1: INR 20/-
  • KA Toll 2: INR 40/-
  • MH Toll 1 + 2: INR 136/- (One way)
  • MH Toll 3: INR 55/- (One way)
  • MH Toll 4: INR 80/- (One way)

Contact numbers:
  • Padma hotel: 08394-241330, 08394-241331, 09480152979.
  • Prakash Guide from Hampi: 09449912685
  • Katti Guide Hampi (Knows Marathi language): 09480510246

Stone entrance at Hampi
Stone entrance at Hampi
Entrance to King Balance
From Matanga Hill

I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog. Happy traveling.

Pritesh Kulkarni, 

Pune