Hampi/Vijayanagar (4)

A coracle on the Tungabhadra

After being overwhelmed by the Vitthala Temple, we went around behind it to look at the King's Balance. Tradition has it that the king was weighed for his weight in gold here. In back are the ruins of many buildings, from the walls of which one has a nice view over the Tungabhadra River. Pradeepa drove us down there and we discovered to our delight that we could take a coracle ride here. A coracle is a boat made of bamboos tresses, the bottom covered with some kind of tar to make it water tight. It is perfectly round and without any keel or rudder or front (bow?) or back.

King's Balance Digging the view
Tourist waiting to be weighed on the King's Balance Digging the view
View being dug Ancient bridge pilings
The view being dug Ancient Vijayanagar bridge pylons
What construction! Waterside mandapa
What construction! The purandara mandapa

It turned out we "boarded" the coracle just downstream from where John walked yesterday afternoon. So we headed upstream to get a view of that area and look for some rock sculptures we knew to exist along the water.

Siv in the coracle Kondandarama Temple and mandapa
Siv in the coracle View of Kondandarama Temple and mandapa
Small Durga temple along waterside Sculpture of Durga
Small Durga temple along the waterside Sculpture of Durga in the waterside temple
Sculpture of Shiva on a boulder Over the rocks
Lifesized sculpture of Shiva on a boulder Over the rocks we go - note the rock sculpture in the background (ulh corner)
Lingas carved in boulder Siv among the rocks and ruined temples
Two sets of lingas carved in the tops of the boulder Siv among the rocks and ruined temples

We scrambled out of ("disembarked from") the coracle near a small temple right down on the riverside. There is a small sculpture of Durga in the temple. Then we clambered and climbed and occasionally stumbled over rocks to a large, approximately life-sized (well, man-sized; I have no idea how tall Shiva is) sculpture of reclining Shiva on the side of a boulder. A lotus buds from his navel (yes, his navel) and, at the top, Brahma is seated on the flower. Finally, John managed, with only a little help from the boatboys ("May I help you to cross the ... rocks, sir?"), to climb up to where there were some sculptures in the boulders -- multiple lingas. This is the charm of Hampi, rocks and sculptures and ancient ruins all jumbled up together. After admiring the rocks and things, we regained our trusty craft and returned to the car for a return to the guest house for lunch and a nap.

After that, we set out once again for a visit of the so-called Royal Center, to the south of Hampi Village.

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