22 Jan Hampi – A magical sunrise and sunset
For a long time, had been cherishing a dream of visiting the architecturally resplendent and historically significant places of Hampi, Badami, Pattadakal & Aihole. Somehow, a travel to that part of Karnataka, never materialised. During Christmas, last December, finally got my chance to go there, on a family vacation. Made sure that it was going to be a no-holding back outing, covering all the places that I had always wanted to see.
Magnificence, is how I choose to describe them. Have to say that, I was transported to the days of yore and began imagining as to how things would have been, in those days.
Among them, Hampi stands out, for its sheer grandeur in the ruins. A memory of the material and spiritual richness of those days. Being surrounded by the river, Tungabhadra on one side and the hills on the other three, climbing to the top of any of them, gets you a fantastic, aerial view of the place and its temple ruins. Thus, it is no surprise, that the sunrises and sunsets from atop these hills, are truly magical. I didn’t want to miss out on that and had put in, one sunrise and one sunset point, as a part of the itinerary. Sunrise was to be from the hill of Mathunga and the sunset, from the hill of Anjanadri ( birth place of Anjaneya ).
First up was the hill of Mathunga. We started climbing up in the wee hours of the morning, while it was still dark. Had to be, as we intended to be at the top, to catch the first rays of the sun. Half way up, when we stopped to catch our breath, we saw that the view from there, was just awesome. The Virupksha temple and its street were lit up and shining through a misty, black canvas. Was a wonderful sight !
Up, at the top, was this small tower of an old temple. Turned out to be a great prop for making a few images, as we waited for the sun to rise.
The sun, slowly, started coming out and throwing its light over the place. Though it was quite cloudy and misty, it was beautiful to watch, as the rock strewn terrain, started showing itself, lined by the plantations and the quaintly flowing Tungabhadra.
The place just brings out the spiritual side in you. Meditating at the far edge of the hill, with the golden light of the morning sun falling on you, is bliss.
And the romantic side, as well ! A moment of togetherness atop the Mathunga.
After the wonderful sunrise at Mathunga, it was time to experience the sunset. That was to be at Anjanadri, the birth place of Lord Anjaneya.
We went there at around 4:00-4:30PM and started climbing our way up. That was to be a tough climb. Had to carry my little one, up, something like 500 odd steps. Finally, when we made it to the top, the view was just unbelievable. Anjanadri, is higher still, than the Mathunga and pretty much the entire scape of Hampi seemed to be visible from there.
We quickly visited the Hanuman temple and headed towards the sunset point. Many people had already settled themselves there, waiting to witness the setting sun. Few were sitting all alone, at the far edge and it seemed like they were reminiscing about life and its purpose. Makes me wonder, how small we, as human beings are, in front of those huge and high rocky cliffs and nature’s other wonders.
Slowly, the showdown began. As beautiful as a sunset, that anyone can hope to see! The only thing separating you from the horizon, are the vertically dropping cliffs. A wide-screen view of Hampi, the erstwhile capital of the powerful Vijayanagara empire, with the colour of the setting sun, splashing all over.
In this land of the monkey god, who better to enjoy the sunset with than our tailed cousins.
This trip was a fascinating one for me and I enjoyed it to the fullest possible. It was like finishing the year on a high. Now that the Hampi jinx is broken, am sure, many more trips to this wonderful place will happen soon :-) Wanted to share a part of my experience through this blog post and my images. Hope you liked them.