Skip to main content

Featured Post

2023 - The Year That Was

Places impact you for a variety of reasons. And the same place impacts different people in different ways. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual experiences, where every single person’s experience is unique. And personally, every spiritual experience is unique, the same person can have different deeply spiritual experiences at different places, at different times. This thought has emerged because of my own experiences over the years, but especially so this year, with different and unique experiences at various places I have visited recently. I began this year with a visit to Baroda (Vadodara) with friends. It was meant to be a relaxed trip, a touristy trip, with our sons. We enjoyed ourselves to the hilt, but the highlight of that trip was a visit to the Lakulisha temple at Pavagadh. It was the iconography of the temple that I connected with, and I spent a few hours simply lost in the details of the figures carved around the temple. There was an indefinable connect with

Hampi Part 12 - Assorted memories

There are just too many things to see in Hampi, and a day is too short to take it in. I knew, even when I planned the trip that I would barely skim the surface if I gave it just one full day, but chose to go ahead simply because I wanted Samhith to get an idea about the greatness of our heritage. Besides, roaming around ruins with a frisky and hyperactive seven year old can get rather tiring, especially if he is not interested, and at that point of time, I didn’t know how he would take it. From that point of view, my trip has certainly worked. On the down side, we now have a thirst for more, (and from experience, I know that the thirst will never be appeased). Further exploration will have to wait till he grows older and can understand things in much more depth than he does now. I am happy that I have at least sparked an interest! So, we did miss out on quite a bit… the two Ganeshas, for instance, the riverside path from the Virupaksha temple to the Vitthala temple, which is filled with shrines….. all the hills, and so much more… I am done with writing about the major sites we did see, so I thought of rounding off the series of posts with some memorable experiences during the trip.

Our first surprise was near Kamalapura, when our auto driver stopped suddenly in the middle of nowhere. I thought he wanted to take a leak, and stayed inside. I was really surprised when he asked me if we had seen what was here.  Wondering what there was to see, especially since there was no board in sight, I got down, and he led me a little way inside and there, in front of me was a long channel, with a row of stone plates on either side!

This was certainly one of the highlights of my trip, for where else can you see a row of plates laid out, ready to eat in, stretching over a length of over 10 metres? This is apparently a part of the erstwhile Bhojana Shala – dining hall – meant for the masses, and used during festive occasions when the entire city would be fed by the king! There were a couple of stone plates on display at the museum as well in the royal enclosure, but this was much more impressive! Just imagine a city where the king regularly fed so many people that he had an entire area set up as a permanent dining room, with plates ready to be served! Apparently, the water channels were there to help serve as well as clean up. That was where the serving people would walk while serving, and once they were done, water would be let in to wash the plates. The incline at which the channel was built ensured that the water would soon flow out; the channel would dry, and be ready for another round of serving! Amazing, isn’t it??

Our second most memorable experience was culinary. We were returning from a hectic trip to Anegundi, and had walked quite a distance, hungry, but not hungry enough for a complete meal, when we stumbled upon this menu outside a small restaurant…..

Intrigued by the LP recommendation, we entered and starting with a glass of fresh juice, we proceeded to fruits, and then to pancakes. By the time we were done, we had eaten much more than we had expected to, and paid less than what we had thought! What really made the experience memorable was last week, when we had pancakes from MacDonald’s for breakfast, and Samhith said, “I liked the Hampi pancakes a lot more!” It has been more than 3 months since we returned, and while he has to be prompted to recollect the places we’ve been to, the fact that he remembers the pancakes speaks volumes!

One other thing I shall remember from the trip is the ancient bridge which connected Hampi with Anegundi, on the other bank of the Tungabhadra. The river being a torrential one, it was not easy to build a bridge, and this one was built at a specially chosen location where the river bifurcates for a short distance before re-joining, creating a small island. Nothing much remains of this bridge, except pillars which stand in the water, showing us how the bridge once might have looked…..

What makes this bridge really interesting to me is the fact that even today, no bridge connects Hampi to Anegundi. The only way to cross the river is by boat. The road route takes us from another direction, and involves a long journey best avoided.  The Karnataka government had briefly decided to build a new bridge, in spite of UNESCO advising against it. And then, the bridge under construction broke, leading to even more confusion. There have been recurring proposals to build bridges at alternate sites, but Hampi being a World Heritage Site, permissions have not been easy, and thankfully, the bridge idea remains in suspension. However, when we see on one side the ancient pillars laid under the rule of Harihara II by his brother (around the year 1400), and on another side we see the remnants of the bridge that broke down while under construction (in the year 2009), it is impossible not to compare the two and wonder at the state of our country!

With that, I can at last bring my Hampi series to an end. Now, I can cross the river to go over to the other side, to Anegundi, where we spent one whole day wandering around, exploring!

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Well written and presented. Hampi is an amazing place to be at..
    You are invited to my blog too:

  2. Planning to Visit Hampi,this November (2015). Read all your blogs. well written and well presented. It will be of a great help for me when I visit Hampi. During my trip I have reserved three days for Hampi, but now after reading your bolg, I feel that 3 days will not be enough. Should have read this before finalizing the plan. Anyways, thanks a lot.


Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please leave a comment for me so that I will know you have been here....

Popular posts from this blog

Gokarna Part II – The Five Lingams

We continued our Gokarna trip by visiting four other Shiva temples in the vicinity, all connected to the same story of Gokarna. The story of Gokarna mentions the Mahabaleshwara Lingam as the one brought from Kailas by Ravana, and kept at this place on the ground by Ganesha. (See my earlier post- Gokarna – Pilgrimage and Pleasure). However, the story does not end here. It is believed that, in his anger, Ravana flung aside the materials which covered the lingam- the casket, its lid, the string around the lingam, and the cloth covering it. All these items became lingams as soon as they touched the ground. These four lingams, along with the main Mahabaleshwara lingam are collectively called the ‘ Panchalingams’ . These are: Mahabaleshwara – the main lingam Sajjeshwar – the casket carrying the lingam. This temple is about 35 Kms from Karwar, and is a 2 hour drive from Gokarna. Dhareshwar – the string covering the lingam. This temple is on NH17, about 45 Kms south of Gokarna. Gunavanteshw

Rama Temple, Gokarna

To my right , the waves rush to the shore, eager to merge with the sand. To my left, the same waves crash against the rocks, their spray diverting my reverie as I ponder over the beauty of nature, and wonder what first brought people here. Was it this beauty that encouraged them to build a temple here, or was it the fresh, sweet spring water flowing from the hill here that made this place special? No matter what the reason, I am glad my auto driver brought me here. We are at the Rama temple in Gokarna, just a few minutes away from the Mahabaleshwara Temple, yet offering so different a perspective.

Pandharpur Yatra 2023

The first time I visited Pandharpur was back in 2007 . The names Vitthal and Pandharpur, were just names to me. I had heard of them, but that was about it. Seeing the lord standing on the brick, hands on his hips, was memorable, but more memorable was the sight that greeted us as we walked out of the main sanctum of the temple. In the mandap just outside were a group of devotees singing abhangs , and dancing. This was the first time I had heard abhangs , and even almost 15 years later, I can remember the welling of feeling within me, listening to the songs, and how fascinated I was by the sight of the devotees dancing, lost in their love of the Lord. Over the years, as I have read more about Vitthal, and participated in Ashadi Ekadashi programmes at Puttaparthi, that first experience has stayed clear in my mind and heart. Every time I tell my Balvikas students of the saints who sang of Vitthala, it is that experience that I re-live. I visited Pandharpur again, in 2010, but that experie