Nov 29, 2017

pony gives a curious look

August 15, 2017
We were driving from Anegundi towards Dharwad. Some where near Hosa Harlapur village there was shepherds camping next to the road. Their horses were left free to graze. At the sight of this little fellow I stopped. Its too sweet to drive past without giving it another look. New to this world, it would be curious of everything around it. While the grownups were least bothered, the little one was curiously looking at us. Few seconds later, with its snout it prodded its mum :) No reaction from mum, she was busy browsing.

We decided to leave ..did not want to make the little one uncomfortable.

Nov 25, 2017

Bheemana Hebbagilu, Hampi

August 14, 2017
As we drove out of Hampi, back towards Anegundi, we happened to notice a signage showing Ganigitti Jain temple and Bheema's Gateway. We decided to quickly check out the gateway. The Jain temple is situated right besides Hampi-Anegundi road and a dirt track next to the temple leads to the gateway.. approximately 280 meters away.

For a gateway to be located here, there had to be a fort wall here but there's no trace of any walls in the vicinity. The gateway is typical Vijayanagara style but has a primitive look. Not sure if its in the original condition or it was restored during recent times. 

The gateway arch is unfinished. The topmost layer of slabs is balancing the layers below a weight pressing down and maintaining equilibrium.

Its actually a gateway complex ..55m long x 35m wide in aerial view, it encloses a zig-zag path within it. A wall in the center has two sculptures embedded into it.

The wall is made of dressed granite blocks, obviously built by highly skilled builders.

The foundation layer peeking out from the ground. Building techniques were simple yet most effective.

The two sculptures seem to be depicting the same set of characters- Draupadi, Bheema and Duryodana. Draupadi is watching Bheema and Duryodana wrestle. This is probably one of the last fights between the two warriors.

The second sculpture at the top.

A blank tablet lies at the base of the wall.

A sculpture of Bheema wielding a mace and decked in heavy jewelry. In the left hand is a lotud bud. His posture is similar to Lord Hanuman's. This image gives an identity to this gateway complex.

View of the entrance from Bheema's image.

 Further into the complex is a structure which seems to be an unfinished temple.

The path leading out of the fort.. looking towards north.

I head back towards the arch.. The gateway does look solid, just like Bheema.

One final look at Bheemana Hebbagilu, the eastern entrance to Hampi fort.

Another gateway I would like to check out is Sri Rangana Hebbagilu ..that would be during my next visit to Hampi.

Nov 22, 2017

Blister bug or Black-Red beetle

This beautiful creature was spotted by Nilesh, a biker-friend from Pune, at the Hampi's Elephant Stables.

The six legged insect could be a "blister bug" or "red and black striped beetle." I'm not sure what the correct name is.

An early morning exploration of Hampi's wilderness will yield lot of interesting creatures... insects are generally less active in cold weather, so capturing them would be easier.Once the sun is up and air is warm, insects become more active and more sensitive to movement around them.

Nov 18, 2017

inner domes at Queen's Bath, Hampi

Queen's Bath is one of the most visited and liked spots of Hampi. The four-sided enclosure houses a water pavilion open to the sky. Around the bath area is a rectangular corridor with screens. The corridor's roof is decorated with equally spaced several domes, every dome is unique.. a mix of floral, and geometric patterns. Few have imitation of metal chains. The domes' perimeter are circular, star, octagonal, hexagonal or square shaped. These 500 year old art works are not easy to maintain yet they are preserved well - thanks to the care-takers.

We went around clockwise starting near the entrance. This is an octagram with lotus at the center. Most domes have lotus at the center. These art works are made of mortar.. wondering how they worked supported the wet material.

The next two domes are squares and stepped.. like an inverse Gopura.

Octagram ~ octagonal star inside an octagon.

16-spoke wheel and a Lotus hub.

Dome of chandeliers and chains.

Large lotus dome.

Off all domes, this is the only asymmetric design.

This looks like a spiderweb ..however, it seems more like a net created of metal strips with rivets at intersections.

Another form of octagonal star. The eight stripes diverging from the hub look like a ceiling fan blades. They also be perceived as eight converging stripes.

A cart-wheel.

Lotus in full bloom and 8 chains.

An octagonal star with diamond shaped niches. The circular dome's perimeter is lined with little intersecting arches. This is probably the most beautiful of all domes here.

An complex octagonal star ..unfortunately the hub is missing.

A eight-pointed star, its center is a hollow octagon.

This is another chandelier and chain dome, sadly the art work has fallen off.

The arches around the perimeter seems like balconies.

A eight-blade ceiling fan. Simple yet elegant.

Another web of metal strips and chains.

The care-taker referred to this dome as a jhumki ..a type of jewelry worn by women.

Another lotus.

All these designs are a mix of Hindu and Islamic art. The octagon star is a symbol of AshtaLakshmi. The Lotus is again a sacred flower in Hinduism. The metallic chains and stripes seem to be Islamic, so are the diamond-shaped niches. From the looks these seem to be created by junior or trainee artists.. that's my opinion. Vijayanagara kings did spend a lot on luxury which did create employment for artists. Its quite possible some of these art work might be designed by the king's family members.

Here's a link to my account of the first visit.. the Queen's Bath House.

Nov 11, 2017

Zenana Enclosure - palace ruins

Aug 13, 2017
Lotus Mahal is the item of attraction in Zenana Enclosure. Usually tourists see the palace and move on to the Elephant Stables. But tourists who patiently look around find more than just the Mahal. Within the enclosure are the following- two water tanks or pools, a palace pedestal, watch towers and the treasury building. The palace pedestal is what remains of another palace which stood here once upon a time which would have been slightly larger than the Kamal Mahal. The two water tanks are simple constructions ..stone lined pits. The palace is north facing. The north entrance steps are flanked by two damaged stone elephants ..image the grandeur in its original condition. 

View from the platform. The walls are made of stones and lime mortar; the outer surface consists of  sculpted stone blocks and the gap is filled with earth and lime mortar. I'm guessing the open space would be covered with flower and fruit bearing trees we have only Neem trees.

View of the palace from the western side. This picture was shot from the shade of a red-orange Frangipani trees. The flowers are fragrant and mix of warm colors, yellow, orange (see inset).

The two palaces and two water tanks are positioned diagonally opposite so that both palaces are kind of equidistant to the tanks. This tank is more like a swimming pool. Besides the pool is a granite mound ..from where this picture was shot.

From the same point, I turned around to get a glimpse of the elephant stables. The enclosure walls are at the lowest here and small watch tower on the eastern wall.

Panning little to the right is a beautiful Neem tree. The caretakers have planted lot of White Frangipani cuttings ..Neem and Frangipani thrive in Hampi's rocky terrain.

Two very old Neem trees, probably close to 100 years.

In the northwest corner of the enclosure is an ancient structure known as the Treasury Building. Currently it is a museum of paintings and sculptures. Among the items is Vijayanagara family tree. The high walls and tall watch towers explains the reason for security. The rulers had the palaces built so that they could remain close to their movable wealth.

Among the sculptures is a well preserved elephant about 2' tall. It is decorated with jewelry befitting a royal elephant.

Hampi was known for its markets. Areas were marked for different types of precious commodities like precious metals and stones, expensive fabric, exotic food and spices, etc. I remember visiting four markets- Virupaksha Bazar, Pann Supari Bazar, Krishna Market and Soolai Bazar. It is said that jewelry and gems were sold in open baskets.. the markets were so secure. Below is a artistic depiction of one of the markets.

The north east wall where it touches the watch tower. A sculpture of Lor Hanuman is embedded into the wall to signify its strength. If you look at the watch tower base, it has an opening, probably to an exit for rain water.

In the immediate vicinity of Zenana enclosure are the following-
Ranga Temple Complex
Elephant Stables
Guards Quarters
Teanali Rama Pavilion
State Archaeology Office
Pattada Yellama Devasthana

Nov 8, 2017

500 year tamarind tree of Devara Hipparagi

August 19, 2017

Devara Hipparagi village east of Bijapur on Bijapur-Jevargi road. On the outskirts of the village is stream, on its bank is Mallayya Devasthana. The temple is quite popular in this region. The temple has 1000+ years history. The temple popular by itself is also known for its tall Deepatambha (also called as Mahalagumb) and tamarind tree. The lamp-tower is almost 70 feet tall. Its is said that light at fire at the tower top was visible as far as Bijapur hence this was like a lighthouse for travelers. The tower was probably built during Adil Shahi's time. The tamarind tree is said to be planted back then ..going by the look of its trunk, the tree is really old. It is similar to the trees seen at Adil Shahi summer resort at Kummatgi.

I'm guessing this isn't the only ancient tree. Probably there are few more trees in the vicinity especially along the stream.

Next time when I visit Devera Hippargi I'll check out points D and E marked in this Google Maps screen-shot here.