Visiting the Chandramauleshwara Temple in Hampi

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

IMG_0276 - Hampi Bazaar - 270For years I’ve been meaning to visit Hampi, the extensive city of temple ruins in the state of Karnataka. It’s an overnight train trip from the southern metropolis of Bangalore or a slightly shorter trip from Goa on the coast, the difficulties of getting there perhaps help to keep the tourist numbers in check, but a visit is thoroughly worthwhile. I thought it was a wonderful site, more reminiscent of the scattered temples of Bagan in Mayanmar than the more imposing structures of Angkor Wat in Cambodia although the architecture is entirely different from either city.

◄ The morning view from the terrace outside my room in the Pushpa Guest House in Hampi Bazaar.

IMG_0272 - Hampi Bazaar - 540▲ During my stay I planned to visit the Chandramauleshwara Temple. I’m a director on the Global Heritage Fund Board of Trustees and some years ago GHF did some work on the temple. It’s not on the usual round of Hampi temples since it’s on the other, much-less-visited side of the river. From my guest house I could also check the place where I’d hire a bicycle to get to the temple:

IMG_0294 - ferry across Tungabhadra to Anegondi - 540▲ The ferry that took me across the river.

IMG_0299 - village puncture repair - 540▲ But I don’t get far on the other side before I had a puncture, fortunately there was a village close by and an efficient bicycle puncture repair wallah.

IMG_0303 - Chandramauleshwara Temple turn-off - 540▲ I soon come to the well-signposted turn-off to the Chandramauleshwara Temple:

IMG_0309 - Purandara Mandapa Temple & Ancient Bridge over Tungabhadra - 540▲ One of my Hampi favourites, the amazing ‘Ancient Bridge’ leads directly across the river to the Chandramauleshwara Temple. The bridge columns still stand on both sides, in the middle you can see the huge square holes cut to take the bridge columns. This is definitely a ‘wow’ site.

IMG_0318 - Chandramauleshwara Temple - 540IMG_0158 - clumsy repair, Inscribed Vishnu Temple - 270▲ The temple itself left me thinking ‘if this is after, what on earth was it like before?’

◄ Although a lot of temple reconstruction at Hampi seems to be of the ‘prop it up for now, we’ll get around to fixing it properly later on’ school of thought. At least the GHF ‘fix’ was just scaffolding, an awful lot of temples had been tended to by the Archaeological Survey of India, here is one of their amazingly ugly and clumsy stone buttresses slapped up against a wall.

IMG_0326 - Shiva ashram beside Chandramauleshwara Temple - 540▲ The temple also has its own ashram right next to it, with four friendly Shiva sadhus.

IMG_0348 - Tungabhadra coracle - 540▲ Finally two sari-clad ladies paddled me (and my bicycle) back across the river in their coracle.