HAMPI – Virupaksha Temple and Hemakuta Hill
As planned, we started from home to Hampi Virupaksha Temple in the early morning at 4 AM and traveled on the empty wide road of Bengaluru-Pune highway via Nelamangala > Tumkur > Sira > Hiriyur. We had our breakfast at hotel Aroma veg near Hiriyur. It was the only hotel on the highway which opened at that early hour.
Date: 10-Feb-18 and 11-Feb-18
At Hiriyuru, we took a diversion from the highway towards Challakere, reached Ramapura at 9 AM, and then took the left diversion to Hampi. The road is single lane but is well maintained till Ramapura. After the diversion towards Hampi, the road became narrower and the feel of the road was not good. It was rough tarmac with lots of patches and humps. The road goes through many small villages. Bellary mining areas can be seen from far. There were no vehicles except few mining lorries. Be aware of sheep herds, bullock carts, and dangerous bumps on the roads. The roads have very rough patches and are very narrow in few stretches. We recommend avoiding this road.
On top of the tiring bumpy experience, we also faced a traffic jam for some silly reason in Kakubalu. People of the village were not allowing the vehicles to pass through their village as a result there we line of vehicles on both the sides of the village. Luckily, they allowed us after 20 mins. Beyond Kakubalu, the road was well maintained and we had a smooth journey towards Hampi. The Hampi town welcomed us with huge bouldered hills and glimpses of various historical monuments. We reached our first destination, Virupaksha Temple at 11.20 AM.
As soon as you enter the temple parking lot, you are greeted by many people claiming themselves as guides to show you the temples of Hampi. We did not take any guide for our trip as we knew most of the information that they would give us is readily available on the internet and moreover, it has become a tough job these days to identify the genuine guide.
- Entrance fee – none
- Photography – 50 Rs
- Videography – 500 Rs
Virupaksha temple is one of the major attractions of Hampi. It is one of the few temples where worship has been happening ever since it was built in 9th and 10th centuries. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of Virupaksha. The temple Gopuram is very tall and is beautifully carved in a typical south Indian architectural style. We personally felt that the necessary renovation work is done, which made it lose its old world charm.
The outer corridor is vast and fairly simple, whereas the inner corridor is adorned with a number of well-sculpted pillars, amazing Mandaps, as well as wonderful sculptures.
The wedding stage at the center of the temple complex has extremely well-carved pillars. The roof has a display of beautiful paintings, but unfortunately, it is all faded now. The main shrine belongs to Lord Shiva in the form of Virupaksha. On the right side of the main shrine, there are shrines belonging to Bhuvaneshwari and Pampa Devi.
Hampi is filled with huge rocks and boulders making its landscape a unique one. If you want to see this beauty, climb any of the hills. The easiest one being Hemakuta hill, situated next to Virupaksha temple. We climbed the hill at around 1 PM. There are many small Jain temples on the hill. The view of Virupaksha temple is amazing from this hill.
As you climb more, you uncover the gigantic rocky hills present all around Hampi. The hill itself has extremely huge boulders. On the peak of the hill, you can find the two storied Mantapa with no walls. It stands only on rock pillars.
Near to this Mantapa, there is sunset point. The view from the top is truly breathtaking. Slightly move ahead of sunset viewpoint to see the aerial view of Sasivekalu Ganesha, Krishna temple, and Ugra Narasimha. Before you climb down from the Hemakuta hill, make sure that you do not miss to see this view.
While climbing down the hill, we visited Sasivekau Ganesha and Kadalekalu Ganesha idols. Later, we proceeded towards the parking lot and went in search of the hotel for lunch.
- Route travelled: BTM Layout > Yashwantpur > Nelamangala > Tumkur > Sira > Hiriyur > Challakere > Hanagal > Ramapura > Kamalapura > Hampi
- Photos: HAMPI – Day 1 Album