Hampi Day Two: Temples & Enclosures

I told you in the previous post, I couldn’t wait for my second day to start in Hampi. The first day had been mindblowing, and day two was reserved for even better sights.

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A quick breakfast later, I reached the other side of the river to find my autowallah waiting. Our first stop was the Zenana Enclosure – a walled structure that once housed the royal ladies. You buy a ticket here, and it gives you entry to a few of the attractions around, including the Hampi museum. It was getting readied for the Hampi festival due in three days, but some parts of it were still empty. I headed on to the Lotus Mahal.

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There is no saying why it was built, but this was likely a secular structure for the royal women to hang out. There was a guide nearby who was talking about recessed pipes in the structure that had flowing water to bring an air-conditioning effect to the interiors, but I am not sure that really happened. The arches and recesses of the Lotus Mahal were spectacular though.

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Behind the Lotus Mahal are the elephant stables – a long row of stables meant to house the royal/temple elephants. This was going to be the main area of the Hampi festival shows so preparations were in full swing here. I barely got a photo.

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From there, post yet another ‘goli soda’ we headed on to the chief attraction in Hampi – the Vittala temple. It is on a hill, and your vehicle will only take you to the parking lot. From there a long queue takes you to cubbies that take you up the hill. It is a 500m distance and can be covered on foot, but it was a hot sunny day, so I chose to go by cubby like everyone else. The entry to the temple was already stunning.

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As soon as you enter, you see the famed stone chariot – the symbol of the Karnataka Tourism Board now. I wanted to get a better photo but there were so many people posing there that I gave up after a while. Went over to see the rest of the temple. The sculptures on the pillars of the Kalyana Mantapa were, as usual, beautifully detailed:

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As were the sculptures of the Hall of Musical Pillars. I am not sure if the pillars actually make music, but the name might have come from the bas relief sculptures of musicians on the pillars.

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I am not sure if I’d call the Vittala Temple the pinnacle of Hampi’s art, but it certainly was magnificent in terms of scale and how well it has been preserved.

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The final place to see for the day was Matanga Hill. It is the sunset point in Hampi and has a magnificent view of the setting sun over the rocky outcrops.

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On my way back to the hotel, I meant to stop by the Veerupaksha temple, but it was getting smoked for mosquitoes so I didn’t wait. Took a photo from far though:

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Had a wonderful mirchi bhajji and headed on to the other side, again in a coracle, to some lovely live music in a shack. The Hampi visit was going to be over the next day, and there was so much I wished I could see again. If you are reading this, please do visit Hampi – my photos, or in fact, any photo online does not do justice to the beauty of the temples.

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