I was determined not to miss a sunrise or a sunset for all the days I was at Hampi. Just like the day before I got up early, may be a bit sooner than needed to make sure I don’t miss the sunrise. So I wandered about in the village in the darkness for a while until a tea/coffee shop opened for the day. It was pretty cold that December morning as a sipped my hot coffee.
The plan was to hike up the Matanga Parvatha to witness the sunrise among the hills and the rocks. I rode up to the police station that is located right at the base of the hill and parked there. It was still dark when I started walking up the steps of the hill. But it wasn’t difficult to find my way as the sky was turning lighter slowly. After about 20 to 30 minutes of walking, I reached the top of the hill to find a few people calmly waiting for the sun to rise. Almost all of them were foreigners!
I found myself a nice spot to sit at the edge of rock. I was delighted to see a big temple on the other side down the hill. As I would find out a little later, it was the Achyutaraya Temple. One of the big temples around Hampi.
The hill had a small ruined temple at its peak and there was a way to get to the top of the temple too. The view from there was even better! It has one of the best views in Hampi. Three of the bigger temples of Hampi are visible from there, the Virupaksha, the Achyutaraya and the Krishna temples. The Tungabadhra river can be seen snaking it’s way through the rocky valley.
After the sun had risen, people started making their way down. I still hung around soaking in the views!
The Virupaksha Temple, it’s bazaar street and the river behind it are visible.
Even the Krishna temple and it’s bazaar street are visible. But now, it’s bazaar street seems to have a dead end.
After a little time I started walking down on the other side of the hill, hoping it would lead me to the Achyutaraya Temple. It did, after walking along some banana plantations and water canals.
The sun was now high enough to light up the half broken gopuras of the temple. There was absolutely no one around. All I could hear while walking on the grass wet from the morning dew, was the chirping of the birds.
The temple has a lot of space inside the tall outer walls, with pillared mantapas lining them from the inside.
The temple, like other big temples in Hampi, has a wide bazaar street with rows of mantapas lining it on either side. This bazaar is also known as the Soolai Bazaar. The reason I heard for this was that women would be available here to serve, take care of and entertain traders visiting from far off places.
At the entrance to the bazaar street there is a kalyani/pond.
At this point I was already planning my day ahead. The Vittala Temple was another 20 minutes walk down the same trail but I decided to get back the room to freshen up and leave for the day. So, I turned towards the village and met the river again at another location, a bit more serene and a lot more peaceful! No wonder a priest of the nearby temple choose this location for his morning Sandhyavandana.
And I was treated to this view, just as peaceful as the river here!
This marked the end of my early morning walk to Matanga and the Achyutaraya temple. I returned back to my small stay back in the village to freshen up and soon leave to walk along the Tungabadhra river to see the Vittala temple that houses the world famous Stone chariot! Watch out for the next post on that!