Sunday, January 6, 2013

Matanga Hill, Hampi

Vittala Temple
In December, had a chance to trek to Matanga Hill in Hampi, which was once the glorious capital of the mighty Vijayanagara Empire. The trek to the top of the hill was truly rewarding as it provide a breath taking view of the Hampi landscape. The flow of Tungabhadra in the hilly terrain, the rugged boulders and the ruined city of Vijayanagara among the lush green plantation is truly inspiring.

Boat ride Anegundi - Hampi

Most visitors prefers to stay in Hospet during their visit to Hampi as it satisfies the accommodation, food and road connectivity needs, but we preferred to stay in Anegundi a small and quite village on the banks of Tungabhadra.  From Anegundi we crossed the Tungabhadra River (at Talarikatta) in the small motor boat, to reach the Vittala Temple.  The short ride took 5 minutes and costed Rupees 10 per person (boat service available from morning 7 a.m. to evening 6 p.m.).  After spending an hour at Vittala Temple, a short walk took us to King’s balance, where one could see 12 Foot granite pillars with pair of stone rings to accommodate large scales. Here the kings of Vijayanagara on certain occasions, used to weigh himself with gold and precious stones, and distributed them to the priests. Going further, we reached Purandradasar Mandapam which is located at the banks of Tungabhadra overseeing the Anjandri Hill, where we had our first break. Sitting in the mandapam with cold river water flowing over our feet felt like heaven for the next 30 minutes. Finally we crossed few more small temples to reach the Achyutaraya Temple, which is also known as Tiruvengalanatha temple, located at the foot of the Matanga Hill.

Purandradasar Mandapam
Destroyed Temple entrance situated on the way to Matanga Hill
The trek to the top of the hill is bit challenging as there is no clear pathway or sign boards, directing us to take turns, but we were able to make it to the top in an hour. After enjoying the breath taking view of Hampi, we trekked down, to visit the Kodandarama Temple and Yantrodharaka Anjaneya Temple, where one can see Hanuman in a meditative or prayer position. Both the temple are so close to the  Tungabhadra that during peak monsoon season, the locals say,  the river water rises and sometimes reaches up to the temple courtyard.
Matanga Hill
View of Achyutaraya Temple
We came across locals and many foreigners especially people from Europe, during our trek to Matanga Hill and some recommended us to stay and watch the awesome sunset at Matanga Hill as we were heading down.
View of Virupaksha Temple

View of Achyutaraya Temple Tank or Pushkarani
Next we spend an hour riding in Tungabhadra river in a locally made boats are called Parisal (handmade round shaped Bamboo ferry). Finally we re-energized our self with tender coconut water drink before heading back to Anegundi for our night stay.

Parisal (Round Boat made out of Bamboo)
Trek Cost
Rupees 10 per person for one way boat ride to cross Tungabhadra (Anegundi – Hampi)
Rupees 10 per person to visit Vittala Temple
Rupees 10 per tender coconut
Rupees 150 per person for Parisal ride in Tungabhadra

Trek Duration
Anegundi - Matanga Hill - Anegundi approximately 6 hours.