A tour of Anegundi – the mother kingdom of Hampi !

One of the reasons I wanted to visit Hampi was also the mythical Kishkinda of Ramayan. Having grown up reading “Amar Chitra Katha” stories, which inevitably included the Ramayan, I was intrigued by the opportunity that a visit to Hampi brought. A visit to the land of Sugreev, Bali, Hanuman and the Vaanar Sena (Monkey army) which assisted Ram in getting his Sita back from Lanka. So with this post, I conclude my 5 series Hampi post.

Our guide Lokesh told us that Anegundi is older than Hampi. An offbeat heritage destination near Hampi, it’s history dates back to 3rd century ! Is there any wonder then that it is considered the mother kingdom to Hampi ?

Given that we had a car, and we had our fill of the coracle ride, we decided to drive to Anegundi – a distance of about 20kms which we covered in 45 minutes. The first impression was of a quaint, charming village. We drove straight to Gagan Mahal.

1) Gagan Mahal

Gagan Mahal was built in the 16th century, for the women of royalty to watch festivities in the village square. The bejeweled windows of this yellow palace overlooks the ancient Ranganathswamy Temple and the village square.

Gagan Mahal built for women of royalty

The old palace has a vivid imprint of Islamic architecture and is encircled by a fort, which is now in ruins. The preserved part of the palace is now part of office premises and remaining portions are completely ruined. The palace today is a mere shadow of the original grandeur and charm it probably exuded in its hey days.

2) Chintamani temple

Driving away from Gagan Mahal, we passed small colorful houses which appeared to be a Muslim area, very close to the temple. Our guide told us that Hindus and Muslims have lived here side by side for centuries, celebrate each other’s festivals ! The approach to this is quite narrow and we had some trouble taking the car to this point.

This temple is located on the edge of the river in Anegundi. It has the ancient feel to it with the white façade and architecture. Know what I mean ?

There is an ancient feel to the temple, do you agree ?

It was extremely interesting due to so much of Ramayan context here. According to beliefs, Ram met Sugriva along with Hanuman in this cave, to ask for support in getting Sita back from Lanka.

The cave where Ra

Near the cave, there are footprint impressions of Lakhsman and Ram on the rock. It is believed that from this very spot Ram had aimed and shot the arrow at Bali (fighting Sugreev) that killed him.

The spot where Lord Ram had aimed and shot the arrow at Bali that killed him

The bigger hillock you see in the distance is supposed to be Bali’s ashes ! You can understand why these places were so exciting for me.

Another legend goes that at this exact location, Ram gave Hanuman a precious jewel, Chintamani, for Sita identify him as Ram’s messenger. The temple derives its name from this stone.

There were a few temples in the complex including a Shiva temple

Another Shiva temple in the Chintamani complex

 

The famous Shiva temple in the Chintamani complex

They say, in Rome do as the Romans. In the monkey kingdom ?

What do we do in THE monkey kingdom

3) Durga Temple and Vali Qila (Bali’s fort)

This 14th century Durga Temple is situated on a small hillock which we drove up to.

The Durga Temple at the foothills of the Vali Fort

The temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga, a beloved deity of the Vijayanagar kings. They worshiped the Goddess before any important event or before proceeding for war. However, given its location at the base of a fort the name could have been derived from the local word for fort, ‘durg’.  Probably the kings installed the deity to protect the fort. !

The temple can be accessed after a short climb up a flight of steps.

The short climb up the flight of steps to Durga temple

The temple has awesome vibe and I found a peace and calm in the temple surroundings- which is only to be experienced. In front of the Durga shrine there is an enormous tree which has many coconuts, tied in colorful cloths, as offering to the Goddess for wish fulfillment. The priest informed me that when a monkey opens the tied cloth and makes the coconut fall, it is indicative of that wish being fulfilled !

The enormous tree with coconuts as offering to the Goddess

Further ahead is the Vali Qila, which is believed to be Vali’s (Bali’s) old fort.

The entrance to Vali fort

You will see the tombs of many of the Vijayanagar kings inside.

Tombs of Vijayanagar kings in the fort

Unfortunately, the fort is in dilapidated condition. The massive entrance which at one time would have welcomed famous kings, lies forgotten and in a state of ruin.

The grand entrance of the fort now lies in ruins

4) Pampa Sarovar

‘Pampa Sarovar’ in Sanskrit means ‘lotus pond’ and this is one of the five sacred sarovars (lakes/ponds) in India. As per Hindu mythology, this the place where the Goddess in the form of Pampa Devi, prayed to Lord Shiva. Normally the sarovar is filled with lotus plants but when we visited it was bereft of it.

The sacred Pampa Sarovar

Pampa Sarovar also has a reference in Ramayan as the place where Shabari, a devotee of Ram, awaited his arrival, with a bowl of ber (berries) – after tasting each one and saving only the sweet berries ! The small, clean and cool Shabari cave is located near the lake and is maintained by tribal families living outside it. Footprints of Lord Ram can still be seen at the place where Shabari washed his feet with water from the sarovar ! This hermit beckoned and gave ber as prasad to us 🙂

The cave where Sabari welcomed Lord Ram with a bowl of ber (berries)

There are temples dedicated to Goddess Vijayalakshmi, Lord Shiva and Pampa Devi. The Vijayalakshmi Temple has an idol of the goddess with several Salagramas placed before her. These stones are holy because it is considered that gods leave their mark on them and are found only in Nepal 🙂

Temple dedicated to Goddess Vijayalakshmi

Just adjacent to the Vijayalakshmi Temple is a Shiva Temple, where both Lord Shiva and his consort Pampa (Parvati) Devi are worshiped.

 5) Anjaneyadri Hill

Anjaneyadri Hill is believed to be the birthplace of Hanuman, the monkey god. This hill can be seen from Hampi’s Vittala temple and the riverside path. On top of the hill, a whitewashed temple is dedicated to Hanuman.

Anjaneyadri Hill the birthplace of Hanuman

You need to ascend the 600 odd winding steps to reach this temple. We did not climb due to paucity of time but from top of the hill, you get a great view of the bouldered landscape and the vegetation.

The vegetation of Anegundi – coconut, banana, paddy and the backdrop of boulders

This is also a great sunset point. Apparently, the Ramayan (the story of Ram) recited inside this temple is in Hindi and not the local language , Kannada !

Link to other Hampi article in the series (in case you missed these)

Route 1 – Exploring Sacred Center

Route 2 – Exploring the riverside at Hampi

Route 3 – Exploring the Royal Center

Things you may want to know before the travel (Travel tips)

  • Getting here and other tips from my first blog
  • You have an option of crossing the river, in a cost effectively manner, on a coracle at the jetty near Vittala temple
  • It is advisable to hire a local transport (if you don’t have your own) for sightseeing in Anegundi as the sites are some distance apart
  • Durga Temple opens at 4am closes at only 10.00pm with no break in between, making for an any time visit
  • Time permitting, do visit the prehistoric settlement called Onake Kindi at Chikka Rampur for the fascinating pre-historic rock paintings
  • If you are looking for local handicraft, buy Banana fiber handicrafts or cloth. You can pick it up here or the emporium in Hampi near the Archeological Museum
  • Huchappayana Math temple (with black-stone pillars and dance sculptures and Navabrindavan (island housing tombs of nine Madhva saints) are other major attractions

 

A daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, IT professional and now – a travel blogger. I just love traveling, exploring new places and this inspired me to share travel experiences and memories with others.

admin

A daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, IT professional and now - a travel blogger. I just love traveling, exploring new places and this inspired me to share travel experiences and memories with others.

35 Responses

  1. Amber Myers says:

    All your photos are amazing. I’d love to go on a tour and check all these places out. I would attempt that last hill, but 600 steps? Eeek! I might pass out halfway.

    • admin says:

      Amber ..ha ha ha. Yes 600 was a bit much, so we did not climb it either (my excuse are my kids 😉 ). Apparently the sunset from the hill is a great sight to behold

  2. Akamatra says:

    I would love to visit some day. There is a special energy coming out from places with such history isn’t it?

  3. Thanks for sharing your experience and going in depth about the history. I really enjoyed learning about Anegundi.

  4. Deimarys says:

    I love places like this. The history and the legends that surround them. It’s such an adventure!

  5. Breena says:

    Amazing photos and information! I love the tree with the colorful clothed coconuts. So glad you got to see the places your yearned to see for so long.

  6. These photos are absolutely stunning! I have the travel bug sooo bad after reading this haha. I love reading posts that introduce me to new places to add to my travel bucket list that I probably wouldn’t have known about otherwise. 🙂

    Christie’s Take on Life. xx

  7. I love all the history of all of these places. It’s probably the history nut in me. But the one I thought was the most beautiful places was Gagan Mahal. There is just something so amazing about it.

    • admin says:

      Hi David, yes. Gagan Mahal was great. If you are a history buff, do read my other series on Hampi. It can drive you nuttier, if possible !

  8. What an incredible looking place! Loved all your pictures, make me want to jump on the next flight and visit all these beautiful spots 🙂

  9. dot says:

    wow what a unique place. Id love to go one day. Looks like your family enjoyed their time too!

  10. Tamshuk says:

    Such a magnificent piece of history here and that is why I am always intrigued by Hampi. The pictures here are really beautiful accentuated by your compelling writing.

  11. Blair villanueva says:

    This place looks mysterious and beautiful. The old buildings are truly intrigue, and I am thinking how many successful love affairs happen under that tree!

  12. Anosa says:

    I never heard of this before and I am so glad I came over this post. I learned something new. So interesting place to visit.

  13. This looks like a fun site .. I love the greens and blues you captured.
    I’m a panoramic fan that makes my eyes stare at it.

    Do Visit : Natural Tour

  14. Brandi says:

    Hagan Mahal looks beautiful. I love the history behind it. I would love to visit these places.

  15. Haven’t visited Hampi hope will visit soon loved your post, Also, I’m most intrested in visiting Anjaneyadri Hill looks amazing 😀

  16. Sapnas says:

    Anegudi is so untouristy, calm and natural. I enjoyed going through your post and it reminded me my last year trip to Hampi and all surrounding areas.

    • admin says:

      Thanks Sapna. Hampi was on my bucket list for so long and I am glad I could visit. I am glad you could relive your trip through mine. Isn’t that one of the joys of blogging and reading 🙂

  17. We have never heard of Anegundi but it does sound very interesting. The Gagan Mahal and the Chintamani temple will top on our must visit list. Great captures, thanks for sharing.

    • admin says:

      Thanks. I am glad you liked it. You will love the Chintamani temple for the antiquity of the place and stories associated with it

  18. Erica says:

    among the places i enjoy when i visit another country are temples! this place seems to have a lot of them. i am not really familiar with hindu and islam but i think it is fitting to appreciate such religion. a good way to learn about them is to visit places like this. i’d love to come!

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