The statue of Nandi is located on the other end of Virupaksha temple. The monolithic bull is housed in a two story twin building on a elevated platform. It located at the backdrop of rocky hill which gives an amazing view. The giant Nandi statue is probably one of the largest found in India. In front of the monolithic bull there is a elevated platform with roof which might have been used for addressing people during those days.
In between monolithic bull and Virupaksha temple, the Hampi baazar was located during the days of Vijaynagar empire. The steps besides monolithic bull takes you to the Acutaraya temple on the other side of the hill. We got an amazing view of Virupakhsa temple and surroundings after climbing the steps. One can also go to Vitthala temple from here. Another way on the right hand side takes you to the top of Mathunga hill.
Another thing I noticed is the monkeys here. They are not the typical ones (Rhesus monkey) found in and around Bangalore. They are the grey langurs (Hanuman) and sport a black face, hand, feet and tail hair.
Tungabhadra is one of the prominent rivers in the Indian state of Karnataka. Tungabhadra is formed out of the amalgamation of two rivers named Tunga and Bhadra. River Tunga and River Bhadra both originates from the Gangamoola-Aroli-Gangrikal hill range in Kudremukh National park of Western Ghats. Tunga flows through Sringeri, Thirthahalli and Shimoga town of Karnataka and joins river Bhadra at Koodli. Bhadra takes a different course through Horanadu, Bhadravathi etc untill they merge at Koodli near Shimoga.
From here the combined river is known as Tungabhadra. It continued its journey towards east until it joins river Krishna at Gondimalla, near Alampur in Mahaboobnagar District of Andhra Pradesh.
It is said that river Tungabhadra water is very sweet. I have not tested it but I can tell for sure that it is very clean and soothing cold.
In Hampi you can see Tungabhadra river meandering through rock stone by taking a left at Hampi Bazar. There are a few riverside restaurants which offers great view but little costly. 1 omelet costs Rs 50.
I would suggest that while visiting Vittala temple, you go by walk. It takes around 30 minutes by walk from Hampi Bazaar. The catch is you will be walking on the banks of the river, hiking rocks, country side view and watch many historical things on the way. I can tell you from my experience that it is one of the best trail I have walked on.
You will also see river Tungabhadra while visiting Anegundi. Here you will have to cross the river on boat as the old bridge is broken.
The royal enclosure is the nucleus of the capital city (Hampi) of Vijaynagar empire. It is the largest extent enclosures in the ancient city occupying an area of 59,000 sq km protected by lofty double walls. The enclosure had housed as many as 43 buildings.
The enclosure has three entrances, two on the north and one on the west. The northern entrance which is located to the east of Audience Hall was the main entrance with well guarded massive doorways arranged in zig zag plan. The other northern entrance with flight of steps near Mahanavami Dibba platform had a doorway with exquisitely carved monolithic temple type door flaps. The Western entrance leads to a passage the Hazararama temple on the north.
Entering the enclosure through the northern main entrance, there is a neatly plastered open courtyard and a pillared hall leading to a well decorated hall. To the south of this hall is the underground secret council chamber. The southwest of the secret chamber was the king’s residence with as many as 9 chambers including a pooja room. To the west and northwest of the residence were many structures. It is interesting to note that a flight of steps used to lead from a chamber to the first floor of the king’s audience hall.
To the east of the palace complex is the sacred area including a large open courtyard with well plastered floor, accommodating at the center a homa kunda and a tank. The two structures with decorative plinth on the south of the sacred area were the residences of Queens.
The long rectangular pillared halls in a row arranged in units of two and separately by a wide avenue on the south of the palace complex were probably the residences of people working in the palace complex. Water was brought to the enclosure from an external source through a main aqueduct running in the middle and feeds 23 small and big tanks in the enclosure.
The so called public bath located in the south eastern corner is the largest tank in the enclosure. However, the most ornamental among the tanks is the stepped tank located north of the public bath. Every ornamental member of this tank bears a mason mark indicating the exact location of the member in the construction. There is another “T” shaped tank in front of Mahanavami Dibba platform. There is also a well in the enclosure.
Stepped tank built in the 15th century is a beautiful ornate tank in the royal enclosure, Hampi. The tank is around 22 square meter in area and 7 meters in depth. There are 5 tiers, each comprising few steps which are symmetrically laid. The area is smaller at the bottom of the tank. The water for the tank is sourced from river Tungabhadra through stone ducts engineered those days. The stepped tank looks like an early work prefabrication at one place and then assembled at the destination. We could see aqueducts around the tank. Stepping in to the tank is prohibited.
This tank was also used for public bath. There are lawn gardens besides the tank. The stepped tank was excavated recently. Which means a lot of Hampi may be still waiting to be unearthed.
Mahanavami Dibba in Hampi is a royal stage used for special functions and announcements. It is located in the royal enclosure. The 22 feet tall stage is completely made of stone and has 3 layers. At the top it has an area of 80 square feet. After climbing the Mahanavami Dibba you can see the entire surrounding. It was constructed by King Krishnadevaraya of the Vijaynagara empire after his victory the Gajapati king of Orissa.
The symmetrically built state is further beautified by elaborate ornamental works. It shows elephant procession, beautiful dancers, fight sequence etc. What we see today may not be the complete structure as nearby we could see broken statues which might have been destroyed by Bhamini invaders. There are two ways to climb the Mahanavami Dibba, one staircase from the front facing east and one from the backside. Entrance is free.
Queen’s Bath as we can understand was the bathing placing of the women of the Vijaynagar royal family. This was first key visiting spot we saw as we entered Hampi from Kamalapur. From the outside this walled building likes an Iranian architecture. As we entered inside, we saw an elaborate design with Indian style windows projecting over the pool.
There is no water now and we walked down to the button of the pool. Though we saw an aqueduct which used to transport water to the pool from river Tungabhadra during the Vijaynagar empire. The roof of the building is beautifully crafted with various designs at different sections. There is a small garden in between the main entrance and Queen’s Bath building which are sometimes used by people for picnic.
The Queen’s bath may have been more than just a bathing place. Entrance is free and photography is allowed.