Hemkuta hill with its gentle slopes offers a remarkable view of the sprawling ruins of Hampi. The hill contains many abandoned temples and boulder carvings scattered across along with two huge monolithic statues of Ganesha. It is also one of the best places to witness sunsets in Hampi.
Virupaksha was the main center of pilgrimage at Hampi since the dawn of the 7th century. Since then this UNESCO World Heritage Site has been elaborated on by future rulers and especially Krishnadevaraya, the most famous kings of the Vijayanagara Empire, who commissioned the iconic nine-tiered gateway that we identify the temple with today.
We are at the edge of Pangong Tso in the outer reaches of Ladakh at a height of about 4,350 m above seal level. The colors of Pangong lake change dramatically from a vivid blue to aqua green depending on the angle of the Sun. The beautiful lake is shared between the countries of Tibet and India.
Nubra is a cold desert at 10000 ft above sea level and the color of the sand is unlike anywhere in India. These dunes lie close to the Hunder village that sits like an oasis in the middle of the cold desert. The weather is not friendly here and it gets pretty cold once the Sun hides behind the clouds. The strong breeze keeps blowing the fine sands, reshaping them into new shapes.
The drive from Leh to Nubra Valley goes through Khardungla Pass, said to be one of the highest motorable road in the world. Goes without saying the view was just mesmerising as we motored along the golden mountains towards snow capped peaks. I’ve always had this desire to travel the world – but nothing beats exploring your own country.
We hiked to the Shanti Stupa, one of the iconic structures in Leh. Located at a height of almost 12000 ft – overlooking the city, it was commissioned in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist, Gyomyo Nakamura with the aim to promote world peace. The stupa is always surrounded by enthusiastic tourists and its next to impossible to take a photo without one.
The vivid blue skies of Bangalore pushed me out of the cozy sanctity of my home towards this little known hillock in Avani. Just about 80 km away from the bustling city of Bangalore this site finds its name in the legendary tale of Ramayana. Yes, this hill, hidden far away from away from the casual tourists is said to be the location of the ancient ashram of sage Valmiki, who sheltered Sita during her exile, where she gave birth to Luv & Kush.
Today we go to explore a Shiva temple raised to cleanse the sins of Rama and his brothers. The Avani village forms an intricate part of the story of Ramayana, as the birthplace of Luv & Kush. The shivalings at the Ramalingeshwara Temple here is said to be established by the Ayodhya princes themselves to absolve them of their sins of waging war against the twin adolescents.
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.