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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:


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.


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.


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.


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:


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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