Anegundi – A Photologue & the search for Kishkindha

Continuing from the last post where I wrote about my adventures in HampiΒ – I took a moped and rode off to a village called Anegundi to check out some Kishkindha ruins from the time of Ramayana!

Anegundi was a surprise. I entered this village chowk on a sultry afternoon with just a few people around. There were sign boards pointing towards various heritage sites like the 1000 pillared mandapam and so on. Β It was an unique village I have seen, with chickens running out of some cow dung plastered mud huts while there were some very nice looking apartments like this one,

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There really wasn’t anyone around whom I could ask about this. I found this bungalow kind of structure very intriguing as it looks so new age almost.

I then headed off to see the 1000 pillared mandapam. On my way I came across many old folks sitting around and a bunch of kids playing. They didn’t greet me in anyway – this was different from Hampi – in Hampi most of the locals would greet me with a “Hello, how are you” in english! πŸ™‚

The mandapam was so cramped with the 1000 pillars taking up all the space it was kinda funny. I believe I still need to develop my appreciation of ruins πŸ™‚

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Maybe at the time it was built this technology might be impressive! I am not clear when this built though… as all the ruins in this area are kind of mixed up. There is stuff from the Vijayanagara times which was fairly recent compared to Kishkindha – Ramayana times.

Just outside the mandapam was a river where the village women were washing clothes.

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In the distance I could see another white temple structure – it is another heritage place which was called the Chintamani Temple. That is where I headed next,

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Chintamani Temple – a white, intriguing structure

 

Anegundi Temple

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Interesting carvings… I wonder whether they have been taken from different parts of the temple and placed here or were they always here….

I met a sweeper/care taker kind of person who doubled up as a guide as well. This is a whole another story about first impressions and women safety which I will write about in a separate post. Basically the guy looked so disheveled but I judged partly by his body language and partly by general gut feel that he was an ok fellow.

The place rather entire Anegundi was devoid of any tourists when I went there. Being solo I was a little creeped. Entering temple ruins isn’t the best safety procedure but my overall gut feel is that in a place where tourism is main source of income at least the locals would not mistreat travellers.

Apparently there is a spot inside where Rama stood to kill Vaali. As the Ramayana story goes Sugreeva fights Vaali for the rule of the monkey kingdom. It was important for Sugreeva to win so Rama kills Vaali from afar standing at this spot,

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Footprints of rama – someone has been here and put some flowers. Overall a lovely spot.

Yes I know without the relevant context it seems like what Rama did, killing Vaali from afar when he was busy fighting Sugreeva seems to be dishonest. I am sure the story explains the matter out – I cannot remember the entire thing as of now…

There is a small bow carved out into the hill near this place. Apparently the flowers have been placed on the stone which has footprints of Rama. Again I am little skeptical about what is authentic historical marks and what are propaganda kind of stuff for tourist/religious purposes.

What was cooler however was the cave behind this place. It seemed really good but because there was one local man sleeping inside and only this caretaker fellow around, I didn’t go in. Otherwise I would have loved to meditate inside. There was also a small goat track leading up into the hill where Rama went to repent for his killing of Vaali. Overall though I saw all these spots with some skepticism

Overall my instinct about the caretaker were right, he was very respectful and decent. Kudos to awesome folks who are disheveled yet decent! πŸ™‚

The main temple building which is still standing is probably many hundred years old. The main deity is a Shiva linga form – Chintamani. Overall nice sprawling temple with many little alcoves, pathways and river side scenic view!

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Cow shed outside the temple

So overall was a very nice visit to the Chintamani temple. Then I headed out again and drove around the town for a bit…

Came across a Jain temple. I am still surprised when I learn of Jain temples in random places like Anegundi, Karnataka or Kangra Fort, Himachal Pradesh, but I guess it is to be expected as Jainism is after all a very ancient religion …. and it has had a vast number of kings catering to it as well which allowed it to propagate and make its presence felt!

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Various signboards around town – Basadi Jain temple
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Jain temple structure – looks intact from outside but empty from inside and somewhat vandalized

I went into the Jain temple and checked but the doors were closed and inside there were no deities – so just ruins. In fact there were some broken idols nearby which is a problem because it is not supposed to be good to keep broken idols in Jain/Hinduism. There were also some signs of vandalism so was a little troubled by that.

Already by this time I had spent 1 an half hour or so here in the heat. I was really feeling very dehydrated. There are hardly any inviting cafes/shops around in Anegundi – at least when I was there. Considering the lack of even a single tourist apart from myself makes me wonder whether I landed up at some really off time! Maybe because this was just after the Dassera festival hence people may have come for holidays and returned back.

Final place I visited was a Jagannath temple I saw just at the cross-roads before leaving the town. I wasn’t sure whether to visit, but it was a good decision to go in as I really liked the architecture and overall feel of the place. This is the first time I saw a reclining Vishnu idol on the snake in Vaikunth. It was very cool… similar to all those mythological pictures like this one! πŸ™‚

This was outside that temple, couldn’t photograph inside,

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Anegundi Temple – Jagannath Temple, the vishnu idol was reclined on the snake as in Vaikunth

Good time visiting this quaint town… would be good to go when there are a few more people around, that way I can explore freely. There are still more ruins to explore though… so if you go there then you can spend a lot more time if you are prepared for it πŸ™‚

Anyway my story does not end here…. will write the next blog post where I finally feel like I found Kishkindha! πŸ™‚