All India Padayatra Visits Hampi, The Birthplace Of Hanuman In Karnataka
By Acarya Dasa
On May 2nd we were at Hospet, on the bank of the Tungabhadra River, 12 km from Hampi. Officially named Hosapete, the town is located in the Bellary District of central Karnataka. We stayed there for 3 days and performed sankirtana in different areas. Sarveswar Shyam Dasa, a disciple of HH Radhanath Swami Maharaja, made all arrangements for our accommodations.
BIRTH PLACE OF HANUMAN
We also visited Hampi, as it is just 12 km from the city. Anjeyanadri Hill is an interesting destination to explore in Hampi. This hill is famous as the birthplace of Lord Hanuman. It is located at a distance of about 5 km from the historical site of Hampi.
Anjeyanadri Hill is surrounded by lovely plantain and paddy fields. The hill has 572 steps to reach the top and offers a lovely view of the valley and of the Tungabhadra River. The Hanuman Temple at the summit is one of the attractions of the Anjeyanadri Hill, a sacred pilgrimage center for Hindus. The temple is a white-washed structure with a pyramidal roof and a mall red dome at the top. A red flag flutters in the air and is easily visible from a far-off distance.
This simple temple has an image of Hanuman carved from a rock. There is a small shrine for Lord Rama and His wife Sita inside the temple. We took darsana of Lord Rama and Sita maiya and the best servant of Lord Ram, Hanuman. When we talk of dasyabhava, the mood of servitorship to the Lord, the name of Hanuman comes first. We all prayed to him to bless us so that we can serve our spiritual master and our Lordships with all our hearts.
MILITARY SOLDIERS DANCE IN ECSTASY
As elections were going on, there were checkposts of military soldiers all over the city. They did not cause any hindrance to our padayatra, but in fact were very helpful. A group of soldiers accompanied us as we went to Anjeyanadri hill for darsana. As we started kirtana, all of them joined us and danced with all their hearts. Infact when we stopped, they said, “Please continue sankirtana for some more time. The holy name has so much power!” They all danced joyfully, forgetting their temporary designations. They had come to ask strength to Hanuman and by his grace they received the holy name.
We also visited Pampa Sarovar, about a kilometer from the foothills of the Hanuman temple. In the Ramayana it is mentioned as the place where Shabari, a devotee of Rama, waited for His arrival.Shabari, a pious devotee of Rama, prayed faithfully every day to see Rama. She lived in the ashram of her guru Matanga in the place now known as Matanga Parvat, in Hampi. Her guru Matanga Rishi told her that she would certainly see Rama. After his death, Shabari continued to live in his ashram, waiting for Rama to come. Many years passed by and Shabari became an old woman. One day Lord Rama stopped at the ashram on his journey to Lanka and gave her darsana.
VIJAYA VITTHALA TEMPLE
The Vitthala temple in Hampi is an ancient monument that is well-known for its exceptional architecture and unmatched craftsmanship. It is considered to be one of the largest and the most famous structures in Hampi. The iconic temple has amazing stone structures such as the incomparable stone chariot and the fascinating musical pillars.
It is said that this temple was built as an abode for Lord Vishnu in his Vitthala form. However, the Lord had found the temple to be too grand for His use and had returned to live in His own humble home.
The Vitthala temple complex has the richly sculpted stone chariot, which is considered to be the most stunning architecture of the Vijayanagara kingdom. This stone chariot (or Ratha) stands in the courtyard of the temple and is one of the three famous stone chariots in India. The other two chariots are situated in Konark (Orissa) and Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu).
The Ranga Mandapa is one of the main attractions of the Vitthala temple. This large mandapa is renowned for its 56 musical pillars. These musical pillars are also known as Saregama pillars, indicating the musical notes emitted by them. The musical notes are emanated when the pillars are tapped gently.
When we had darsana of Lord Vitthala, this place reminded us of Pandharpur and the Tungabhadra river of the Chandrabhaga river. Feeling like we were in Pandharpur, we sang abhangas of Tukaram Maharaja for the pleasure of Lord Vitthala.
This 6.7 meter high monolithic statue is an awe-inspiring piece of art. Carved out of a single granite boulder, the statue portrays a four-armed seated figure of Lord Narasimha. The hands are all broken now, alas. It has a seven-hooded naga (snake) curling above its head. Though mammoth in size, the carving is neat and intricate. Today it stands as one of the most striking remnants of a time which witnessed attainment of a very high degree of artistic excellence. Untouched and unscathed by the ravages of the modern world, Hampi offers a refuge for the worn out souls and is a solace for the heart.