Vitthala Temple in Hampi

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Heritage walk to Vittala Temple

Today I go on a heritage walk to the majestic Vittala Temple, dedicated to Vitthala, the South India name of Vishnu. Built around the 15th Century CE, and expanded several times by succeeding kings of the Vijaynagar empire with the most extravagant architecture and exceptional craftsmanship, the temple is the main attraction of Hampi.
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Anegundi

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The Monkey Kingdom of Kishkindha

Today I went to explore the quiet town of Anegundi. As per the legend of Ramayana, the city used to be known as Kishkindha where Bali and Sugreeva, the monkey kings used to rule. The monkeys though have been driven away by the growing number of foreign tourists and it is just the mystifying boulders that remain to tell us the story of what was once a strange but interesting kingdom.
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Mahabalipuram Lighthouse

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Mahabalipuram Lighthouse

Before we head back to Bangalore, we decided to stop at the Mahabalipuram's old lighthouse. India's oldest lighthouse, built around 640 AD by Pallava king Mahendra Pallava stands next to the newer and modern lighthouse. The credit for this visual treat goes to the department of lighthouses and light ships which felicitated the re-opening of the lighthouse for the public, ending a decade-long ban over fears of terrorist threats.
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Krishnas Butterball

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The curious case of Krishna’s Butterball

Today I went to explore one of the most mysterious ancient artifacts found in India. Krishna's Butterball is a gigantic granite boulder resting on an extremely small and slippery area of a hill in the historical town of Mahabalipuram. The boulder is approximately 6 meters high and 5 meters wide and should be easily weighing around 250 tons. This precariously balanced boulder is believed to be a bolus of butter the young Krishna would steal. The rock continues to defy gravity and has been sitting on this 45-degree slope for 1300 years or even more. Although its original name is "Vaanirai Kal" today, this enigmatic giant stone is simply called Krishna's Butter Ball.
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Monuments of Mahabalipuram

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Monuments of Mahabalipuram

Today we go on a tour of the monuments of Mahabalipuram. The city of Mamalla, named after the title of Pallava ruler Narasimhavarman-I, was a sea-port during the time of Periplus and Ptolemy. Today it is a town studded with rock-cut caves, monolithic shrines, cave sanctuaries and structural temples. The open-air museum also includes the largest open-air rock relief in the world. The group of monuments at Mahabalipuram, were accorded the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1984.
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Shore Temple

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The last Pagoda of Shore Temple

We drove to the Shore Temple at dawn to witness the pristine structure, built with blocks of granite, dating from the 8th century AD. Overlooking the shore of the Bay of Bengal, it is one of the oldest temples in Southern India. Constructed in the Dravidian style that reflects the royal taste of the Pallava dynasty, its sanctuaries are dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva.
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