Indian Pitta

It inhabits scrub jungle, deciduous and dense evergreen forest.

Nilgiri Flycatcher

An endemic resident in the Western Ghats of southern India.

Brown-winged Kingfisher

These kingfisher species excavate their nests in a river mud bank.


Tales from the Land of Mowgli


Feeds mostly on small birds, capturing them in mid-air in rapid pursuit.

Malabar Trogon

A resident of dense tropical forests.

Malabar Pied Hornbill

This species is omnivorous, taking fruit, fish and small mammals.

Crimson-backed Sunbird

Diet of sunbirds is based mostly on nectar

Golden-breasted Fulvetta

They prefer dense undergrowth, usually dominated by bamboo forest.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hampi – Tales by Stones - A Photo feature

The first and last sites that you would see in Hampi are huge boulders scattered all over the place. They looked similar and differentiating between them was not possible in the four hours we spent walking around with my friends Rajesh and Yogesh. It was their idea to visit HAMPI, which is known as Pampakshetra of Kishkindha, Hampi is situated on the southern bank of the river Tungabhadra. Once it was the seat of the mighty Vijayanagara empire..

We reached the site on 22th December 2012.  As time was short on hands, we hired a guide and stared our four hour tour. The guide had been there since ages and knew almost exactly what each stone had to tell on each age long story that must have gone by…

Hampi - A UNESCO World Heritage Site

“Hampi, austere and grandiose, is the site of the last capital of the last great Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagara, whose extremely rich princes built Dravidian temples and palaces which won the admiration of travellers between the 14th and 16th centuries. Conquered by the Moslems in 1565, the city was pillaged over a period of six months, and then abandoned.”- UNESCO

The Archaeological Survey of India started the excavation work at Hampi in 1976, under a national excavation project but had to be stopped midway and was resumed only in the mid nineties…

Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple
Normally, I love to click only in the early morning light or evening light, but this is one of the occasions when I have taken images in harsh light, and it shows…

In Hindu mythology every good deed, work needs to start with the name of Ganesha. The guide did the same and started the tour by showing us the Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple...
Front                                                                                                      Back
This monolithic statue carved out of a huge boulder measures about 2.4 meters (8 feet). The rear side of the monolith does give an impression of Ganesha sitting on his mother Parvathi's lap. (see collage of two images)
How these stones came here is not known for certain. Indian mythology has a different tale and science tells us that they are the last remnants of a volcanic eruption…The monuments and sculptures are made from a special stone and designs on them are breath-taking…


We posed in front of the Krishna Temple, Yogesh on my left and Rajesh to my right...

A large number of royal buildings are believed to be raised by Krishnadeva Raya (AD 1509-30), the greatest ruler of the dynasty. The core area is stated to be enclosed by seven lines of fortifications.

Carvings on the pillars within the Krishna Temple

Carvings on the pillars within the Krishna Temple
Most of the prominent monuments excavated are in the inner most circle.

Krishna Bazaar

Krishna Bazaar is a relatively newly excavated site in Hampi. As the name indicates this Bazaar is associated with the Krishna Temple. Basically this was the car street for the temple. The sacred tank (Pushkarni) of the temple too is located next to the Krishna Bazaar.

Thanks to the low laying terrain the whole bazaar got buried in silt over the time. This area later turned into thickets of banana plantations. Before the excavations it was impossible to tell that it was a marketplace once.

Restoration of the monuments is being done, which is clearly visible. (Pink colour)


Narasimha’s is the largest statue in Hampi, It is sitting on the coil of a giant seven-headed snake called Sesha. The heads of the snake acts as the hood above his head. The god sits in a cross-legged Yoga position with a belt supporting the knees.
Sometimes this is referred as Ugra Narasimha (i.e. Narasimha in its terrifying form). The protruding eyes and the facial expression are the basis for this name.
Narasimha (means half-man’half-lion in local the languages) is one of the ten incarnations (avatar) of Lord Vishnu.

It seems the original statue contained the image of goddess Lakshmi, consort of the god, sitting on his lap. But like all the other, even this statue was damaged seriously during the raid leading to the fall of Vijayanagara.

The Mint
The Mint was excavated in 1994. The area adjacent to this is the Zenana enclosure, which was a secluded area reserved for the royal women. This walled harem houses many interesting highlights. The major attraction is the Lotus Mahal located at the southeast corner.

Just further down, is the Zanana enclosure...

Lotus Mahal
The shape of the structure is what brought it the name. The archways and the balcony with the domed construction resemble a half opened lotus bud. Also is the lotus bud shape carved on to the center dome.


Elephant Stable
One among the few least destroyed structures in Hampi, Elephant Stable is a major tourist attraction. This long building with a row of domed chambers was used to ‘park’ the royal elephants. There are 11 domed tall chambers; some of them are inter- connected. The centre one is specially decorated and big. Each doom has a design and a tale to tell…

Watch Tower within the Zanana Enclosure

Place for capital punishment

Stairs that lead to the basement (bath area)

Defaced structures

Mahanavami Dibba - built to commemorate victories

King Krishnadevaraya constructed this in commemoration on the victory over Udaygiri (now in Orissa). Archeologists believe that this platform had undergone systematic enhancements by successive kings came into power

Carvings along the Mahanavami Dibba

Carvings along the Mahanavami Dibba

Stone Doors - carved from a single large stone

Carvings on the Mahanavami Dibba

Stone aqueducts within this royal enclosure connects 20 or so wells and ponds.

Aqueducts are made in such a manner that the water flowed due to gravity

Water well

Another view of the water well

Plates - Made of Stone

Stone plates – food was served on these. Such stone plates were placed on a large dining area, with an aqueduct flowing in the middle. Once the multi course meal was over, the water from the aqueduct is simply made to flow over the plates to clean them.

View from the Queen's bath

Queens bath
Aqueduct would get in water into this large area, called as the Queen's bath

Entrance to the Vittala Temple

The main highlight of the Maha-Mantapa, with in the temple is the richly carved giant monolithic pillars. The pillars are popularly called the musical pillars. These slender and short pilasters carved out of the giant pillars emit musical tones when tapped. Probably they emit the sound of the instrument that has been carved on it (See a collage of three images). Unmindful curiosity of the visitors has damaged many of these pilasters and tapping on it is banned for the sake of preservation…

 Carvings showing Horses and its trainers…

Hall adjacent to the Vittala Temple

Defaced sculptures

The guide explaining to us and Rajesh trying his hands on the camera....

Pillars (collage of two images) inside the temple… having a story to tell on its own…
Well designed Corners

Story tales on the walls

Narasimha kills Hiranyakashipu


The “Stone Chariot”, as it is often referred is the flagship tourist attraction of Hampi. This is not a chariot ,as the name suggests, rather a shrine built like a chariot...

Walls of the Vittala Temple

Closer look at the design - walls around Vittlala Temple

It seems this temple looks very beautiful during monsoon. The rain water flows smoothly over the well-designed outer surface. The flowing water forms drops over the doom like structure (see left top corner) and then the drops fall into the ring shaped surface (see left bottom). They are well shaped and smooth. The water flows to the bottom from these smooth edges, without creating a splash or sound !!!

Walls made of stones, nicely carved and aligned. 
We did not realise, how the time went by. It was almost 4PM and had to head out of the town. Before heading out, we are suggested by the guide to have our lunch at "The Mango Tree Restaurant"

We were made to sit on a multi-layered, stone-cut set of benches which overlooked the Tungabhadra river. Here we enjoyed some very yummy authentic local food, which was served on banana leaf.

Hope to visit this place again, suggested period of stay - 3 to 4 days !!! Hire a Moped and see each location and listen to the story each stone has to say...

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