Friday, March 18, 2011



 A view of the road-side wall-paintings along the route to Hampi from Hospet. A bullock cart crawls into my camera's frame as I try to capture Krishna Debaraya II offering prayer to Narayana in his temple.

Gopuram of Virupaksha temple - any visit to the wonders of Hampi starts from this temple !

'I enjoyed our trip to Hampi very much' will be such an understatement , it will not express the level of satisfaction I had during this trip to Hampi in February,2011.Nor the excitement I feel during recapitulation.

Immediately after spending two days at Hampi, Ruby and I proceeded to Badami from the near-by town Hospet, stopping at Lakundi in between to visit the not-so-well-known temples and museum there and then landed in the epicentre of Hindu Iconography ! Overwhelmed we were and now, when I go through the photographs we took during our trip, I wonder - shall I ever be able to write blogs to represent the 'joy' of visiting Hampi and Badami !

 Three headed Nandi  and a calf attracting salutation of devotees at Virupaksha temple.

Hampi's attractions have many dimensions. Westerners visit this place , drawn by its beauty and its status as a World heritage site . It has wonderful topography, excellent sunrise and sunset points, rich historical background. It has temples and palaces built in grand style, offering an oeuvre of Hindu Iconography.One can walk miles among ruins and hillocks made of strange-shaped stones or float in the cool blue water of the Tungabhadra river in boats made by bamboo.

A few photos with brief descriptions  are here to share our joy of  Hampi visit - more will follow.

Gates of  Hampi's monuments are often a photographer's delight - and that of 'students' of Iconography too. The gates of Krsna, Vitthala and Malyavanta Raghunatha temples offer  large choices. Southern face of Krsna temple, the outside face of  the main entrance of Vitthala temples are in good shape - rest are in various degrees of ruin. Picking up 'Icons' from bad/worse portions of these gates is a difficult job. Among the gates of good portions, King's march to battlefield is famous - I have found excellent 'Putana and Krsna',Durga and Nataraja among these gates !

Southern gate  of the Vitthala temple complex. Most of the details , even the heads are gone. 
Afternoon sun brightens the gloom while two parrots  rest on two headless statues !
Click for bigger view .

Lots of Westerners come here and enjoy the ambiance and Indian sculpture. I wish they had more knowledgeable guides - in Rama's temple - where walls are adorned with tales from Ramayana, I felt these visitors are somewhat lost.I asked a visitor if she could enjoy these wall-reliefs. She replied - 'Partly. My driver explained a few scenes'.We face the same situation in Europe and USA's museums. One can enjoy Vitthala temple even without understanding the tales on the wall reliefs - upto a point.Here are two photos from this temple complex  connected with Krsna.

Each of the pillars adorning this prayer hall in Vitthala temple stand out for its beauty. 
Watvh how superbly depicted the scene of Krsna  stealing away the clothes of Gopis 
who were enjoying a bath in the river Yamuna !

Krsna merged with imagery of Vishnu. Krsna has Vishnu's headgear, not his usual knotted hair - known as 'Mohanchura'. Ananta Nag spreads his hood over the god' head.He holds a flute with his lower hands , a conch and wheel ('chakra') with his upper ones. Krsna's tribhanga, cows from Vrindavana and two consorts are the other highlights of this imagery.

I found that ASI is clamping down on vandals and photographers with dishonest intentions while the interested visitors are suffering. Tripods are not allowed - poor light affects quality of shots taken by hand-held cameras. One cannot access the Musical Hall of Vitthala temple complex ! So one of the most beautiful section of this complex stay unseen. Nor a visitor can enjoy the musical pillars !

Visitors are not allowed to 'enjoy' his drumbeats !
Capturing this Drummer's photo is not an easy task anymore !

Catching a woman drying her saree after a dip in a river has become  a very a common theme these days, thanks to a few celebrity photographers. Two photographers  capture this woman in this act,
while the river Tungabhadra flows in the background.

No comments: