India
At Vitthala Temple Complex.

 

At Vitthala Temple Complex, Hampi, India.

People come to Hampi, in India, for the temples and palaces of Vijayanagara, a majestic ruined 15th -century city.  But the locals are worth getting the camera out for too. I took this portrait at the Vitthala Temple Complex.  Some more photos here

Canon EOS 50D / Tamron 18-270 lens @ 142mm / f5.6 / 1/125s /iso200

 

 

 

 


 
Elephant Stables, Hampi, India.

Elephant Stables, Hampi, India

Mid-March, 2011. Hampi is the third most popular tourist destination in India after the Taj Mahal and Goa.  It is in the south of India in the state of Karnataka.

Hampi was the medieval capital of the Hindu Empire, Vijayanagara ( the City of Victory ). This ancient metropolis in South India is one of the most magnificent heritage sites in India.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts thousands of tourists and pilgrims each year.  Hampi is charismatic even in its ruined state.  Vast stretches of boulder-strewn hills make the backdrop of Hampi.  Dotted around the hills and valleys are about 500 plus monuments.  Among them are majestic temples, basements of palaces, remains of aquatic structures, ancient market streets, royal pavilions, bastions, royal platforms, treasury buildings....the list is endless.

Hampi is essentially a vast open museum of archaelogy, history and culture.

These are the Elephant Stables, a Giant chamber for Royal Elephants.
The Elephant Stables in the Royal Enclosure is a long building, divided into eleven stalls, each capped with a fine dome.  The domes are round, octagonal or vaulted and arranged in echoing pairs on either side of a lofty central chamber with a square turret. The long exterior is relieved by arches and recesses. This building was used to ‘Park’ the royal elephants.  Metal hooks (used to tie the elephants) on the inside roof can still be seen.
Islamic Influence:
The stylistic similarities between the tombs, mosques, citadels and court pavilions in Hampi and those that fell under the Muslim Bahmani Kingdom suggest that artists and craftsmen moved freely between the 2 kingdoms.
Like the Bahmani relics, the Vijayanagara monuments in the Royal Enclosure are also built of solid masonry-stone rubble and mortar, all plastered over.  This medium of construction was not seen in the region until the Muslim armies arrived from the north.
Prime examples of Islamic features in the Hampi monuments can be seen in the Elephants’ Stables, Queen’s Bath and Lotus Mahal. However, despite the use of Islamic architectural elements these monuments remain essentially ‘Vijayanagaran’ in style.

Some more photos here

 

Camera Lens Focal Length Shutter speed Iso Aperture Additional details
Canon 50D Canon 17-40mm 18mm 1/125secs 200 f13

 

 

 


 
Shiva Temple, Malyavanta Hill, Hampi.

Shiva Temple, Malyavanta Hill, Hampi

14th March 2011

Hampi was the medieval capital of the Hindu Empire Vijayanagara ( the City of Victory).  This ancient metropolis in South India is one of the most magnificent heritage sites in India.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts thousands of tourists and pilgrims each year.  Hampi is charismatic even in its ruined state.  Vast stretches of boulder-strewn hills make the backdrop of Hampi.  Dotted around the hills and valleys are about 500 plus monuments.  Among them are majestic temples, basements of palaces, remains of aquatic structures, ancient market streets, royal pavilions, bastions, royal platforms, treasury buildings.....the list is endless.
Hampi is essentially a vast open museum of archaeology, history and culture.

The region around Hampi is closely associated with the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, for this is believed to be Kishkinda, the mythical kingdom of the monkey kings, Vali and Sugriva . Rama, and his brother Lakshmana were travelling southward in their search for Sita, who had been abducted by Ravana, and it was in Rishyamuka that they met with Hanuman and Sugriva, who had sought refuge from Sugriva’s rival, Vali.  Hanuman and Sugriva became Rama’s ardent followers. Following this, Rama killed Vali and Sugriva was enthroned as the king of Kishkindha.
According to the Hindu epic, it is here on Malyavanta Hill that Lord Rama, and his brother Lakshmana waited for the monsoon to pass before they marched towards Lanka with Hanuman’s monkey army to rescue Sita.
It was quite fitting that there were scores of monkeys sitting on the rocks here when we arrived the first morning to shoot the sunrise !

Some more photos here

 

Camera Lens Focal Length Shutter speed Iso Aperture Additional details
Canon 50D Canon 17-40mm 17mm 1/250secs 200 f11

 

 


 
Lotus Mahal, Hampi, India.

Lotus Mahal, Hampi, India.

14thMarch 2011

Hampi was the medieval capital of the Hindu Empire Vijayanagara ( the City of Victory).  This ancient metropolis in South India is one of the most magnificent heritage sites in India.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts thousands of tourists and pilgrims each year.  Hampi is charismatic even in its ruined state.  Vast stretches of boulder-strewn hills make the backdrop of Hampi.  Dotted around the hills and valleys are about 500 plus monuments.  Among them are majestic temples, basements of palaces, remains of aquatic structures, ancient market streets, royal pavilions, bastions, royal platforms, treasury buildings.....the list is endless.
Hampi is essentially a vast open museum of archaeology, history and culture.

The Lotus Mahal is one of the finest secular structures in Hampi. The exact function of this is not known. Located inside the Zenana enclosure, it was most probably a socializing area for the womenfolk in the royal family.
Unlike the other structures in Hampi, this is made out of lime mortar and brick made composition.
The shape of the structure is what gave it the name. The archways and balconies with the domed construction resemble a half opened lotus bud. There is also a lotus bud shape carved onto the centre dome.
Basically this is a two-storied structure with an open base floor. The side walls have tall arched windows. The upper floor has balconies with arched windows. There are hook-like structures to hang curtains. The arches of the ground floor are recessed and ornate. The decoration and architecture is a curious mix of Hindu and Islamic styles....Islamic style arches and Hindu style multi-layer roof.  There is a beautiful large lawn around the Lotus Mahal.

Some more photos here

 

Camera Lens Focal Length Shutter speed Iso Aperture Additional details
Canon 50D Canon 17-40mm 32mm 1/250secs 200 f10

 

 


 
Stone Chariot, Vitthala Temple complex, Hampi, India.

 

Stone Chariot at Vitthala Temple Complex, Hampi, India

March, 2011.

On entering through this complex the first thing that catches your attention is a series of compact platforms along the central axis of the campus.  At the end of these platforms stands the stone chariot. The stone chariot is one of the two main highlights of the Vitthala Temple complex. It is almost an iconic feature of Hampi.  An image of Garuda(the eagle God) was originally enshrined within its sanctum.  Garuda, according to Hindu Mythology is the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. Thus the Garuda shrine facing the temple’s sanctum is symbolic.  It may appear (and is sometimes even referred to) as a monolithic structure. In reality this stone shrine was built with many giant granite rocks.  The joints are cleverly hidden in the carvings and other decorative features that adorn the Stone Chariot.  The chariot is built on a rectangular platform about 12 inches high.  There are mythical battle scenes carved all around the base platform.  Although the chariot is not resting on it, the four giant wheels attached mimic the real life ones complete with axis shaft and brakes.  A series of concentric floral motifs decorate the wheels ( lotus flowers).

Some more photos here

 

Camera Lens Focal Length Shutter speed Iso Aperture Additional details
Canon 50D Tamron 18-270mm
18mm 1/500secs 200 f8

 

 


 
Sasivekalu Ganesh Shrine.

 

Sunset at Sasivekalu Ganesh Shrine, Hemakuta Hill , Hampi, India.

Mid-March 2011

Some more photos here

 

Camera Lens Focal Length Shutter speed Iso Aperture Additional details
Canon 50D Canon 17-40mm 24
10secs 200 f5 Graduated filter (Cokin)

 

 


 
Washday at Chakratirtha, Hampi, India

Washday at Chakratirtha, Hampi, India.

14th March, 2011.

We came across this lovely scene on the banks of the Tungabhdra River at Chakratirtha.  There were 3 generations of a family all doing their washing here.  The little boy was very enthusiastic about his chore.   See some more photos here

Chakratirtha is Hampi’s most sacred bathing ghat.  In the local language Chakratirtha means the sacred water body that swirls. Located close to the Kodandarama Temple, this spot is considered the holiest spot in Tungabhadra river. Local legend has it that on some special occasions the swirl in the river forms the images of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana. You can see a larger number (esp on auspicious days) of pilgrims take a dip at this spot before visiting the temple. The flat sheet of rock at the riverbank facing the Kodanda Rama temple is filled with many carvings of religious significance. Shiva Lingas, footprints carved in a circular pattern, images of worshippers praying etc. Also this is one of the spots where you can hire a coracle to cross the river or go on a trip up the river. On the flat rocky riverbank, all the coracles are left out to dry under the sun.

 

Camera Lens Focal Length Shutter speed Iso Aperture Additional details
Canon 50D Tamron 18-270mm
50mm 1/160secs 200 f16

 

 


 
Sunset at Hanuman Shrine,Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India Hill

Sunset at Hanuman Shrine, Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India.

14th March 2011

Some more photos here

Hemakuta Hill is not one of the tallest hills in Hampi. But this hilltop and its slopes offer a splendid view of the sprawling ruins .
This hill is sprinkled generously with a large number of temples, archways and pavilions. The perimeters of the hill were fortified with tall wide stonewalls, the ruined remains of which can be still be seen. Once you have reached (about 15 minutes climb) the top, it’s almost a flat expanse of rocky sheet with occasional ups and downs.
Hemakuta Hill is one among the best places in Hampi to see the sunrise and sunset.


According to Hindu Mythology, it’s on this hill that Lord Shiva (the god of destruction) did penance before marrying a local girl Pampa. Shiva was impressed by her dedication for him and agreed to marry her. On this it rained gold from the heavens. Hema in Sanskrit language means gold. The name of the hill thus connects with this legend.
Also this is the place where Shiva burnt Kama (the god of lust) with his third (fire) eye. In helping Pampa to marry Shiva, Kama distracted Shiva from his penance. This incurred Shiva’s wrath, and he killed Kama in a ball of fire. Later Rathi (goddess of passion and Kama’s wife) pleaded for the life of Kama. Shiva brought him back to life but only in character not as a physical being.

Hence a number of temples in this area are dedicated to Lord Shiva, the major one being the Virupaksha temple at the north of this hill.
There are probably 30 shrines of varying size and elaboration scattered along the slopes. They are perhaps the oldest structures in Hampi, as historians say they were constructed between the 9th and 14th century.

 

Camera Lens Focal Length Shutter speed Iso Aperture Additional details
Canon 50D Canon 17-40mm 26mm 1/10secs 200 f9

 

 


 
Coracles on Riverbank, Hampi, India

Coracles on banks of Tungabhadra, Hampi, India.

14th march, 2011

Some more photos here.

We were able to hire a coracle at Chakratirtha and do some more exploring further upstream.  Nowadays the coracles are made from a synthetic fabric, but in times past they were made from animal hide.  They are similar to the boats used at Newgrange thousands of years ago to transport the stone made to construct the burial chamber up the river Boyne to the site.

 

Camera Lens Focal Length Shutter speed Iso Aperture Additional details
Canon 50D Tamron18-270mm 18mm 1/800secs 200 f8

 

 


 
Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink

March 2011, Hampi, India.

I took this portrait on Hampi Bazaar.  This little girl was with her mum.  Initially shy, she hid behind her mum, also dressed in pink.  However with some gentle coaxing, I was rewarded with this beautiful smile. This is my favourite photo of the trip, and this shot was printed in the Sunday Times newspaper on10th April 2011.  Some more photos here

Hampi Bazaar :

All the main temples in Hampi had a chariot street or bazaar fronting the main temple. These bazaars were up to a kilometre long.
Hampi was well known for its bazaars in the days gone by, when merchants from all over the world assembled to show off their wares. The markets boasted a huge variety of goods from gold and diamonds to horses and cows.  These market places weren’t like our roadside shops, but well planned and well laid out areas, paved with stones, with residences for the merchants, as well as stables for their mounts !
Today the merchandise includes clay dolls, musical instruments, images of the Gods, stone products, garlands of beads, stones and all the stuff that appeals to today’s tourist.
Also known as Virupaksha Bazaar, Hampi Bazaar is located in front of the Virupaksha temple.  About a kilometre long, the east end of the bazaar ends at the foothill of the Matanga Hill. Both sides of the street are lined with a series of old pavilions, some of them are two-storied, all once part of a thriving market, and residences of the nobility. Towards the west end (towards Virupaksha temple), the pavilions are now encroached and made into shops, restaurants and the likes making the street narrower. Poor villagers have made some of the pavilions into their homes. It is interesting that the houses of the rich merchants and nobles of the empire are now being occupied by one of the poorest sectors of society.
A huge Nandi bull is located at the east end of the bazaar, and next to it is a two-storied pavilion where there is a photo gallery.Of all the places we visited in Hampi, this street was by far the most colourful and lively.

 

Camera Lens Focal Length Shutter speed Iso Aperture Additional details
Canon 50D Tamron 18-270mm 84mm 1/125secs 200 f5.6

 

 


 
Meditation

Meditation.

13th March 2011, Hampi , India

Sadhu meditating at Malyavanta Ragunatha Temple complex, Hampi, India.   Some more photos here

 

Camera Lens Focal Length Shutter speed Iso Aperture Additional details
Canon 50D Tamron 18-270mm
40mm 1/80secs 200 f4

 

 


 
Sadhu at Virupaksha Temple

Sadhu at Virupaksha Temple.

13th March 2011, Hampi, India.

Virupaksha Temples is the oldest and principle temple is Hampi. This temple is located on the south bank of the river Tungabhadra. This are in general has been an important pilgrimage centre for the worshippers of Lord Shiva.
Virupaksha as Lord Shiva is known here was the patron Deity of the Vijayanagaran rulers, and it is perhaps fitting that this is among the few temples where prayers have continued, uninterrupted through the centuries.  It is believed that the temple has been functioning uninterruptedly ever since its inception in the 7th century AD. That makes it one of the oldest functioning temples in India.

Some more photos here

 

Camera Lens Focal Length Shutter speed Iso Aperture Additional details
Canon 50D Tamron 18-270mm
270mm 1/400secs 200 f6.3

 

 


 
Sadhu at Malyavanta Ragunatha Temple, Hampi, India.

Sadhu at Malyavanta Ragunatha Temple, Hampi, India.

Mid-March 2011.  See more photos here

 

Camera Lens Focal Length Shutter speed Iso Aperture Additional details
Canon 50D Tamron 18-270mm
21mm 1/80secs 200 f4.5

 

 


 
Monkeys at Sunrise, Malyavanta Hill, Hampi, India

Monkeys enjoying the Sunrise at Malyavanta Hill, Hampi, India

13th March, 2011

I spent 3 days in Hampi, and this was my first morning there.  We went to Malyavanta hill to see the sunrise.  It was deserted apart from a few monkeys and ourselves. I was startled when one of them latched onto me as a took a photo.  I needn't have worried though as they were quite gentle.  The only danger with them was that they would steal your stuff, so had to keep a firm grip on all my gear while they were around.   Some more photos here

 

Camera Lens Focal Length Shutter speed Iso Aperture Additional details
Canon 50D Canon 17-40mm 38mm 1/30secs 400 ff4

 

 


 
Converted pavilion, Hampi Bazaar.

Converted Pavilion, Hampi Bazaar, Hampi, India

13th March, 2011

Some more photos here

All the main temples in Hampi had a chariot street or bazaar fronting the main temple. These bazaars were up to a kilometre long.
Hampi was well known for its bazaars in the days gone by, when merchants from all over the world assembled to show off their wares. The markets boasted a huge variety of goods from gold and diamonds to horses and cows.  These market places weren’t like our roadside shops, but well planned and well laid out areas, paved with stones, with residences for the merchants, as well as stables for their mounts !
Today the merchandise includes clay dolls, musical instruments, images of the Gods, stone products, garlands of beads, stones and all the stuff that appeals to today’s tourist.
Also known as Virupaksha Bazaar, Hampi Bazaar is located in front of the Virupaksha temple.  About a kilometre long, the east end of the bazaar ends at the foothill of the Matanga Hill. Both sides of the street are lined with a series of old pavilions, some of them are two-storied, all once part of a thriving market, and residences of the nobility. Towards the west end (towards Virupaksha temple), the pavilions are now encroached and made into shops, restaurants and the likes making the street narrower. Poor villagers have made some of the pavilions, like the one shown into their homes. It is interesting that the houses of the rich merchants and nobles of the empire are now being occupied by one of the poorest sectors of society.

You can see a little schoolboy here sitting on the steps of his house doing his homework.  His younger brother was hiding behind the door, but was too shy to come out when he saw me.

 

Camera Lens Focal Length Shutter speed Iso Aperture Additional details
Canon 50D Tamron 18-270mm
18mm 1/500secs 200 f5.6

 

 


 
Water tank at Krishna Temple, Hampi, India

Water Tank at Krishna Temple, Hampi, India.

13th March 2011.  Some more photos here

All the temples had a water tank adjacent to them. These tanks were used for domestic and religious purposes. The Murtis ( statues of the Gods) were bathed in them before being brought into the temple to be blessed.  On festival occasions, the Murtis were displayed on the platform in the middle of the water tank.

The Krishna Temple was built by Krishnadeva Raya to commemorate the success of his Orissa Campaign.  It is believed that he brought back with him, an idol of Bala Krishna- Krishna, the child- which was enshrined in the temple.  Krishnadeva Raya was the greatest of all the Vijayanagaran kings.

 

Camera Lens Focal Length Shutter speed Iso Aperture Additional details
Canon 50D Tamron 18-270mm
18mm 1/400secs 200 f5

 

 


 
Lakshmi the temple elephant.

Lakshmi, the temple elephant, Hampi, India.

13th March 2011.

Some more photos here

Temple elephants are a vital part of many temple ceremonies and festivals in India.  In the Hindu faith the elephant represents one of the faith’s most important God’s-Lord Ganesha.
Lakshmi is the temple elephant for the Virupaksha temple.
Lakshmi has a bath in the river every day at 7:30am.  After her bath, her make-up (paint) is reapplied daily.
At the entrance to the temple, there are women selling bananas and other fruits to people who want to feed Lakshmi.
Visitors give her a coin which she takes with her trunk and gives to the mahout (trainer) before blessing the donator by tapping him or her on the head with her trunk. She blesses hundreds daily.

 

Camera Lens Focal Length Shutter speed Iso Aperture Additional details
Canon 50D Tamron 18-270mm
39mm 1/250secs 100 f9