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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Durga Temple Aihole - Day 2

After our tea break on the highway we headed straight for the Aihole Temple Complex located around 120 Kms from Hospet. We eagerly and enthusiastically alighted at the complex which is under the management of ASI. We were fortunate that Mr.Satyamurthy retired Superintendent of ASI and a renowned archaeologist was leading our group on day 2. We were mesmerized by the beautiful sight that greeted us on entry.
Aihole occupies a unique place in the history of Temple Architecture in India.It was the experimenting ground of the early Chalukya Kings: 450-750 AD.Within the early fortification alone there are 50 temples and 50 more outside.Most of these are Vaishnava Temples converted later to Saivite Temples.
 The Durga Temple: We began with a visit to the Durga Temple. The name "Durga" refers to a fort, not to the goddess; apparently at one time the building was used as a military outpost (durg). It is not known to which deity the temple was originally dedicated.Durga temple or fortress temple is the best known of the Aihole temples and is very photogenic. It is apsidal in plan, along the lines of a Buddhist chaitya, a high moulded adisthana and a tower - curvilinear shikhara. A pillared corridor runs around the temple, enveloping the shrine, the mukhamantapa and the sabhamantapa. All through the temple, there are exquisite and incredibly beautiful sculptures. The temple appears to be of the late 7th or early 8th century.






















Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day 2: Tea Break at Aihole

It took me all of 8-9 posts to complete the reporting of Day 1 of the Hampi Tour. It was a very satisfying day and I had snapped up close to 250 odd pictures many of which I have reflected in my posts. After the visit to Anegunde we headed back to Hotel Sampige for a refreshing hot shower to soothe away the aches and pains before proceeding to a nearby restaurant which went by the name of "Ice & Snow" or something similar sounding. Obviously this had started off as an ice cream parlor and when its popularity increased they expanded into a full fledged restaurant. Our dining experience there was quite exemplary and we topped off dinner with one of their popular ice creams.  
Day 2: The plan on day 2 was to visit  Aihole, Pattadakkal & Badami and since we had quite a distance to travel to reach our first destination Aihole (around 120 Kms or so) we decided to leave sharp at 8.00 am. En-route we were privileged to see the Tungabhadra Dam with water gushing down the sluice gates in full force.It appears that due to heavy rains the reservoir levels has increased considerably and hence the sluice had to be opened to release excess water.  It was a glorious sight to see the water pummeling down the walls of the dam in full fury. As we approached Aihole many in the group wanted a brief stop over for ablutions & a cuppa hot tea. So we stopped at a roadside restaurant "Bharath Dhaba". For evidence see the below pics:
The Bharath Dhaba (restaurant)
Royal charpai's laid out for customers to eat & sleep.
Cut vegetables ready for the cooking
The onion chopping board
Onions being "guillotined" swiftly & smoothly
Piping hot tea being poured into the kettle
Dr.Satyamurthy,  Retd.Supt. from ASI in serious dialogue with a couple of team members
After this brief interruption we proceeded to the ASI office to pick up an ASI official who was to accompany us for the rest of the day. Here are some pics taken at the ASI office. We also found some bullocks in this predominantly rural setting and they made good subjects.
ASI Bagalkot office - above 
A solitary bullock , a bullock cart pulling a couple of bullocks, bullocks ploughing a field.
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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Anegundi - Hampi

Anegundi is part of the Hampi World Heritage Site. Older than Hampi, it is situated on the northern bank of Tungabhadra River. Anegundi, believed to be the monkey kingdom of Kishkindha in the epic of Ramayana , is at a distance of 5 km from the historical site of Hampi. Anjanadri hill, the birthplace of monkey-god Hanuman , and the mountain Rishimuka are the other places near Anegundi associated with Ramayana.It is said to have one of the oldest plateaus on the planet, estimated to be 3,000 million years old. Local story-tellers refer to Anegundi as the maternal home of Bhoodevi (Mother Earth).
Neolithic history is represented in this region by Mourya Mane, a several-thousand-year-old ‘Stone Age Colony’. Several Neolithic dwellings still bear paintings that are clear and intact even to this day. “This is the rare human settlement where we will find traces of Microlithic, Megalithic and Neolithic age of human life at one same spot. Anegundi area is much more than the Vijayanagar empire, and as is old as the planet. Till date, this village is a living heritage site in its true sense Anegundi is best visited along with Hampi..
Hampi Tour Day 1 - Final Session: 
After visiting Prince Krishna Deva Raya, (see previous post) we had about 90 minutes to return to the boat jetty to catch the last boat out to Hampi. We rushed to Anegundi boat jetty to travel to Nava Brindavanam, It contains the tombs or Brindavanam of nine Hindu Madhwa saints.Navabrindavanam is located at Anegundi, near Humpi, Karnataka. India. It contains the tombs or Brindavanam of nine Hindu Madhwa saints.The boat ride to Nava Brindavanam across the Tungabhadra river was scenic and spectacular and en-route I could capture some really fascinating and amazing pics:
We completed the journey as planned and jumped into the waiting autorikshas to rush us to the other boat jetty  to transfer us back to Hampi. The last boat service was at 6.30 pm and we reached in nick of time.
Take off point to Nava Brindavanam by boat
Approaching opposite shores of Tungabhadra - above & below
After alighting from the boat we had to walk 200 metres to reach Nava Brindavanam
The waters of the Tungabhadra were magical, shimmering & silvery in evening sunlight
At Nava Brindavanam - Tombs of the nine Madhwa saints