Oct 29, 2011

Rama Temple, Gummanayakanapalya

After spending couple of hours exploring Gummanayakana Kote, we were back at the village Gummanayakanapalya. It's hard to miss the fact that Gummanayakana Palya monuments' have similarities to monuments of Hampi. I'm happy to see the Mantapa standing. This Mantapa in the middle of the village is right opposite Venkateshwara temple. The temple has connections to Tirumala temple but only the locals know about it.

There's Rama temple in the village square. Village folks use it as a cattle-shed and its interior is messy; stones slabs in the floor have been plundered and loose stones lay scattered all around. The temple surrounding is filthy, especially the backside is an open toilet.

One of the villagers went a step ahead and constructed walls between columns!

I was hesitating to step inside. A little calf caught Durga's attention and she wanted to pet it. Raghunatha Reddy, our friend for moment lead us pointing where to step. Durga was all smiles after patting the calf's head.

The columns are basically square with octagonal sections in between. Faces depict various characters- Gods and animals. The Garbhagudi has a Mantapa with four such beautifully sculpted pillars featuring a mix of geometrical and floral designs.

Jai Hanuman!

Its sad to see such art being neglected so badly.

The exterior of the temple depicts scenes from Ramayana.

That's Lord of Lanka- Ravana with ten heads and twenty hands. I wish I had shot the entire scene of Ravana in the company of royal attendants.

That's Sitadevi sitting under couple of trees and surrounded by Ravana's people ...perhaps they are asking Sitadevi to marry Ravana.

Is that supposed to be a wild boar? To me it looks like a hyena. Big fish chasing a smaller fish.

A serpent.

Battle scenes depicting Rakshasa warriors, chariots, monkeys, etc.

One more battle scene showing archers shooting Rakshasas. Other images show cows, elephant and women.

Rama shooting an arrow through seven tree trunks. Laxmana and Hanuman are also seen here.

Battle of the Lords: Rama and Ravana shooting arrows at each other. You can also see the scene of Sugreeva and Vali fighting while Rama aims an arrow at Vali's back.

The temple has many interesting and educative scenes from Ramayana. However, the sculptures look incomplete ...probably abandoned when Vijayanagara Empire collapsed.

On the way to Bagepalli we had to pass through a village called Tolapalli. Elevated haystacks caught my attention; not need to be guarded from cattle and it also works like a shelter for cattle.

This mansion at Tolpalli stands out in the village. The owner of the mansion would be a landlord and a local leader.

The mansion looks like a small palace. In these times its not easy to maintain such heritage buildings.

We stopped by another ancient temple. The board reads Shree Panchanandeswara Swami Sannidhi. Shree Hiraneswaraswami Devastana.

The reason to stop here was to check the ruins of this little mantapa.

We spotted Telugu inscription here.

We headed towards Bagepalli and stopped for a Andhra style lunch. The restaurant was on the town outskirts, we all enjoyed the meal. Durga did not complain one bit!

Our next destination for the day was Gudibande Fort.


Oct 22, 2011

Gummanayakana Kote

I heard about Gummanayakana Kote from a fellow blogger and my mind was made up to visit it. It was a long wait and the day finally arrived. We had hired a Tavera and left Bangalore by 4-30AM. The driver, Dayanand was driving pretty slow for a 6 lane highway, he was sleepy. Slow but he was driving safe. We turned off NH7 towards Bagepalli. Deepak had marked the fort's location in his Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 and giving directions. The hilly terrain was a treat to our eyes. Tummies growling ...we found a silent spot and stopped for breakfast- bread, butter, cheese, peanut butter and tomato chutney.

As we resumed our journey Deepak continued giving directions. I had a feeling we had missed a turn and heading in the wrong direction. We got the directions from few villagers, reached Tholapalli and finally GNKote was in our sights. Couple of kilometers before Gummanayakanapalya, we saw ruins of an ancient temple and a stepped well. This reminded me of the stepped well at Hampi. Later I learn little about Gummanayakana Palya's history and it's connection with Vijayanagara empire.

We climbed down and explored the ruins. As you this historic well isn't being cared for. A farmer was cutting grass for his cattle ...if not for farmers probably this well would have been swamped with all kinds of plants.

A standing boulder caught my attention. You can see Gummanayakana Kote in the background.

At the village square we found a group of people sitting idle. I inquired if we can get a guide to take us up the hill and show the fort. Raghunatha Reddy came forward to help us and asked couple of teenage boys, some how they weren't interested. Raghunath showed us the way till the fort's main entrance. During the short walk, he mentioned that cattle herding is the main profession and source of income for people here. The narrow village lane we walked through was littered with sheep droppings. Agriculture is secondary but unprofitable. Farmers' plight is same :( where ever I've been until now.

We pass by temples dedicated to Ganesha and Hanuman.

The second gateway is like a security office with halls on either sides. Probably it also served as a waiting lounge for visitors.

The fort with seven rings of walls.

I was delighted to see this structure, ruins of a palace. Going by the looks it could be a much recent construction. We could go up the steps and see the inside of the balcony.

The arched floral window with grills were interesting and preserved quite well until now but you can see acts of vandalism. When will people learn to respect historical monuments?

Another gateway through thick walls. The path has a ninety degree turn right, a security feature fort designers had adopted.

As we walk between the walls, we come to another security office we passed through earlier but much smaller. Right next to the walls was this stone which I assumed was a Shiva Linga. On the Linga shaped stone has a Shankha and a Chakra, symbols of Vishnu.

Puddles of water and overgrown thorny shrubs had hidden the path on our left. I went up a rock exploring a path towards the temple but it was too steep for mom. Durga and mom decide to settle on a rock nearby while Deepak and Gulli join me.

While trying to locate the upward path, I find the path which mom could have easily climbed. I go down and ask the ladies to come up but mom was busy with Sudha and refused to move. Aagh! I started climbing back again.

That's the gateway to the core of the fort, the summit.

There's nothing much inside, I mean no major constructions like guard rooms or offices or temples. The hill top provides a good view of the surrounding village below, the plains, hills and lakes.

Rampart wall and bastion as seen from another bastion. I had to crouch to pass through an opening barely wide enough and half my height to reach the bastion I was standing on.

On to the left, more walls and bastions. Notice the rock formation to the extreme right?

This rock formations defines the skyline of Gummanayakane Kote. I wonder if the two rocks fitting each other is a natural creation or man made.

Some parts of the fort has natural defenses but walls have been built to ensure safety.

Rain water harvesting pond featuring both natural and man made characteristics.

Perhaps this two level open area was for soldiers to train and practice weaponry skills.

As seen from the lower level facing the opposite direction.

We walk along the wall with a sheer drop. Notice ruins of a small house like structure. This is the only constructions here and seems like from the same time as the palace below.

The position of the well is very interesting. Deepak and Gulli had missed seeing this and were chatting away near the gateway while waiting for me to join them. I said this could be a good place to punish criminals by pushing them down into the well. Deepak had different thoughts; he said this could be an emergency escape point. We jokingly discussed the plight of a criminal thrown down, Deepak said he might just come back and say "Sir, I enjoyed the dive, why don't you throw me down again!?"

We came down, on the way to the well, which is a stone's throw behind us, we found this left-over of probably a huge tree. Gulli posed as though he discovered a dinosaur skeleton :) Gulli keeps us smiling even though he's sad inside.

Looking up towards the summit.

Black coating on Rock face ..what could that be? Has it got anything to do with the color of the water in the well?

Water looks sinister. We felt the water could be clean ...good enough for bathing and washing. Of course back then, this would been an important source of water and maintenance activities like adding lime would be done on a regular basis.

The chasm between these massive rocks form a natural outlet for the water. However, a brick wall built across the walls works like a dam.

An ancient structure which could have been a granary.

We go down the hill and reach the other inner palace ruins close to where Durga and mom were.

All of us liked the place, in fact we spoke about camping one night at the summit. It was past noon when reached the village square.

Link to videos shot at Gummanayakana Kote.

Gummanayakana Kote co-ordinates; 13°48'8"N 77°55'34"E