The picture below helps to get an idea about the once thriving markets of Vijayanagar, which must have been glorious so as to be recorded by travellers. R K Narayan paints the picture beautifully for us in his book The Emerald Route ” One can let one’s imagination roam over the old bazaar street in front of Virupaksha temple and arcades where flowers and gems, silk and ivory were heaped up and sold, the sound of laughter and music filled the air….”
From Virupaksha temple, we followed the straight line course of the old Hampi bazaar, ending at the foot of the Matanga hill in the east. We should have deviated to visit the Krishna temple; but we didn’t and so we missed the second temple complex in the sacred centre. And now we were off to the third and next major temple complex in the sacred centre – the Achyutaraya temple.
The colonnaded structures of the old Hampi bazaar are still standing, running parallel along the sides of the road, leading o the Matanga hill. In some places they becomes two storeyed and ocassionally there is a more elaborate structure.
It was 1:00 pm by now; sun was at it’s peak and we banished the thought of climbing the Matanga hill. The hill top has many antiquities to see and even more spectacular bird’s eye view of the entire capital. Sunrise at Matanga hill is a photographer’s delight and many tours start here at sunrise. We turned left and after a tender coconut break, soon found ourselves walking right on the rocky banks of the Tungabhadra.
The boulders were up close and massive in size. The river and the hills of boulders provided natural protection to the city.
The path seemed to stop here; but nope, you have to climb up a few steps and follow a narrow path, leading to a temple atop a small hillock. We climbed up, to inspect further, but couldn’t make out anything, it’s an abandoned structure. But looking down on the other side, you see a spectacular sight !?
And from the hillock you can see a lot of pillars still standing in memory of some grand structure that once stood there; we reached our next temple complex in the sacred centre !!
More in the next post, take care !!