Tag Archives: archaeological sites

Myth and mystery of the cave 90 feet deep

Patal Bhuvaneshwar temple was in and out of our itinerary for the Bloggers Bus at various points. It was no where in the initial plans, but  when a fellow blogger asked for it than it was included in the programme. By the time we reached from Kausani to Chaukori, KMVN official in-charge of our trip came up with the information that it wasn’t safe to go inside as there would be lack of oxygen inside the cave and it was also raining continuously in the region. There was another catch, we were told that cameras are not allowed inside and all phones and cameras have to be deposited at the counter outside the cave. Most of our interest got diffused because of that too. Going to a new place and not able to photograph it was somewhat turn-off. 

Here starts the walkway to the cave after the road ends

It rained whole night at Chaukori and that already disrupted our morning schedule. Rain had stopped by the time we left. Having already missed all other activities at Chaukori for the morning, the idea of Patal Bhuvaneshwar again propped up as it was on the way towards our lunch destination at Gangolihat. Just seven kilometres before Gangolihat there is a diversion towards the Patal Bhuvaneshwar cave and it is further seven kilometres from that point. So we all, finally decided to take a chance.  It was 12 noon by the time we reached the village. This village would have got populated in later stages because of this cave temple. Cave is further  half a kilometre from the road-head on a paved walkway.

The gate that welcomes, but cave is still further

It is a beautiful place undoubtedly. At an altitude of 1350 metres (almost as Gangolihat) this cave is located on a hillside in the middle of thick jungle laced with deodars, pines and oaks. This cave is actually in the middle of the hill as the river flows another few hundred feet below. It is therefore very calm and serene here. A lovely place to be for whatever reasons. We had another reason to be happy and that was being able to take the photographs inside the cave. Armed with the information that just a few days back ASI had allowed photography inside all its monuments/sites, we managed to convince the personnel there to allow us to take cameras inside. But all that not before many hectic calls, getting order copies online et al.  All this episode consumed another half hour, but all in good spirit and for a cause, and with a better end result.

Bells lined up on the way to cave. You will find this at many of the temples in Uttarakhand. This is one of the way to pay obeisance to the god after some of their wishes are fulfilled!

Patal Bhuvaneshwar is said to be one of the most revered cave temples in India and perhaps the most mysterious as well. It is located in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand.  This limestone cave is just 160 metres long and 90 feet deep. Having seen many other caves in India, we can safely say that natural cave systems are one of the most intriguing geographical feature of this planet. India has many bigger and majestic caves. Most of them have very interesting stalactite and stalagmite rock figures. Many of these figures got myths associated with them in the long term.

Mythology associated with the cave temple at Patal Bhuvaneshwar.

Similarly Patal Bhuvaneshwar cave temple is said to have a deep association with Hindu mythology. Undoubtedly it has some very amazing stalactite and stalagmite figures carved out by nature on limestone rocks. But this relatively very smaller of all caves has got hidden some biggest of the mysteries and myths, one being that this cave is as old as the earth itself.

Entrance to the cave

We were fortunate on two counts that day. Firstly we got to take the cameras inside and secondly, there was no crowd that day, may be because of the rains. We were told that normally there are hundreds of pilgrims waiting to visit the cave at all times and it takes quite few hours for your turn to go inside.

Way to go down the cave

What is different here from other caves that I have seen is the cave mouth. It is tough to go inside as there is a narrow tunnel like passage going down the cave where one has to slide down with the help of chains. At some point there are stairs and at other there is just rock face to slide.

Not an easy task by any means!

Oxygen inside is less, hence there is a chance of suffocation or breathlessness, mostly during the rainy season. Hence going inside is tough for all those who are oversized, have stiff bodies, problems in knees or back or those who suffer from claustrophobia. And mind it that it is a long way down. Cave is almost 90 feet deep from the mouth.

A look back towards the cave mouth

It is said (and is written on the boards and plaques here) that this cave was first discovered by King Rituparna of Surya Dynasty (सूर्यवंशी राजा ऋतुपर्ण). That has been mentioned in chapter 103 of Manas Khand of Skanda Purana. That happened in mythological ‘Tretayuga’ (त्रेतायुग). Than in Dwapar Yuga (द्वापर युग) Pandavas again reached here while they were in exile. And then in Kalyuga (कलयुग) in 822 AD Adi Shankaracharya (आदि शंकराचार्य) rediscovered the cave. Later in 1191 AD Chand Dynasty kings started maintaining this place and they brought priests from Bhandari family of Kashi to perform puja here. Since then same family has been doing that continuously. Currently their 18th generation is presiding the prayer rituals here.

Fellow bloggers sliding inside the cave

For those who love adventure, it is a very interesting to be in. This narrow passage suddenly drops you to a large cave. Though, still this is not very big as other caves but it is comfortable for few people to move and be there. Once you are in, you start feeling better because getting in or out of the cave is more energy-sapping.

Group of bloggers inside the cave

The cave takes you to a mythological world. Tourists are not allowed to go inside the cave without an authorised guide as there are many blocked passages. One also needs to understand mythology behind this. This guide takes you to the journey of belief inside.

Passage inside the cave. The wave like structure on the base is said to be the rib cage of snake god Sheshnag!

It starts right from the place where one gets in, where you see a rock in form of snake hood (शेषनाग). Mythologically it is said that this earth is placed on the hood of snake god. Since this cave is down inside the surface of the earth, hence it is termed as Patal (पाताल).

Narrow passage wet with flowing water nside the cave

Once you move in, you can see two closed passages. That particular junction is said to have four entrances- Randwar (रणद्वार), Paapdwar (पापद्वार), Dharamdwar (धर्मद्वार) and the Mokshadwar (मोक्षद्वार)। We are told that Paapdwar was closed at the time of death of Ravana and Randwar was closed after the Mahabharata war. Dharamdwar is the one through which we enter and the Mokshadwar is the one where we proceed, where all the gods are present inside the cave in various forms.

Four Dhams of Shiva inside the cave

It is said that all Hindu gods (33 कोटि देवता) that you have heard of, reside here. So besides Sheshnag, you have Kal Bhairav, Ganesha among others. Many myths are taking form here including the four Yugas and also the coming of Ganges on the earth (गंगावतरण).  Many pilgrim destinations take shape here including Badrinath, Amarnath, Somnath and Kedarnath. You can see feet of elephant of the gods- Airavat (ऐरावत) and hairs of Shiva.

Said to be thousand feet of Airavat elephant
Idol of King Bhagirath on one side, the small pond is said to have holy water and all other Hindu gods on other side
Jata of Shiva, through which he held the force of the river Ganges, when it came to the earth

And, actually they are few to mention. There are many more legends associated to these rock formations. They are indeed amazing. With so many myths associated to his place and a temple still there pilgrims from near and far come here to seek the blessings, making it one of the most sacred places of the region.

Temple of Patal Bhuvaneshwar inside the cave at the far end. It is said that it was established hundreds of years ago by Shankaracharya himself.

Its indeed worth going there. For me it was entirely different from the all my earlier cave visits. It is always interesting to explore when belief and nature combine to give birth to many mythologies.

You can see the entire video from inside the cave on m YouTube channel by clicking on the link below-

This Bloggers Bus trip happened on an invite from Uttarakhand Tourism. Seven travel bloggers from across the country participated in it including me for an eight day road trip to some unseen destinations of Kumaon. This was the third Bloggers Bus of the Uttarakhand Tourism for the season. I was also the part of the first Bloggers Bus to Garhwal. You can read the amazing stories from this journey of Bloggers Bus 3.0 by going to the blogs of my fellow bloggers- desi traveler, travelure, Voyager, Anamika Mishra and Ghoomophiro.

Have you ever been to Patal Bhuvaneshwar temple? How was the experience? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

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Khajuraho of Aravalis : Neelkanth

Immediately after Bhangarh, I landed to this place. And, I am sure that less than 10 percent of people present at Bhangarh would have heard about this temple and among those who would have heard, less than 10 percent would have ever visited it. As a day later at Kankwari fort, here too, we were the only travellers. There were some locals to pray, although. Besides, we also came to know that there were many tourists a day earlier (on first day of the new year).

Neelkanth Temple

Well, this is all about Neelkanth Temple, how it is commonly known. The board here says its name as Neelkantheshwar Temple (not any difference in the meaning of both words). Actually, if you go on searching online, all the pages will lead you to Neelkanth temple near Rishikesh in Uttarakhand. You would have been lucky enough to land on this post.

The board outside temple
The board outside temple

I have been to the Neelkanth temple in Uttarakhand as well. Despite the number of tourists & pilgrims that the temple attracts and despite its location on a beautiful hill with glorious views, that doesn’t fall in the league of this Neelkanth temple that I am writing about- lonely, deep inside a jungle valley of Sariska National Park.

Side view of the temple from out
Side view of the temple from out

The title of the post says a lot about, what I mean to say. Comparing any temple to Khajuraho might be seemingly a big deal, but while doing that I also have in mind, besides what is there; what is lost as well. Khajuraho is known for its sculptures and Neelkanth has got lot in common with Khajuraho. There have been many temples around the country, built around the medieval times, to have erotic sculptures. Most of them get a Khajuraho adjective prefixed to their names. Is Neelkanth a similar phenomenon?

Not much is known about the history of this temple. There is nothing here which puts any light on the origin of the temple. Locals say it is there from the time of Mahabharata and Pandavas had established the temple. Actually, in this area especially the Sariska National Park, there are a few places which are attributed to Pandavas, Pandu Pole being the most famous one. Its said that more recently, King Ajaipal built the Neelkanth temple in 1010 A.D. By that account, this temple is almost contemporary to Khajuraho temples. Neelkanth is Shiva temple (most prominent of Khajuraho temples is the Kandariya Mahadev Temple, which is also a Shiva temple). But unlike Kandariya Mahadev Temple, this Neelkanth temple is a functioning temple, where pujas are performed regularly.

Sanctum sanctorum of the Neelkanth temple
Sanctum sanctorum of the Neelkanth temple

Actually, from what is known, this place is a treasure trove of archaeological findings and perhaps Neelkanth is a part of it. It is said that this valley used to have 360 temples at some point of time in history. Most of them were destroyed- either by attackers, pirates, looters or got weathered down. One can still see ruins of many temples scattered around in this area. So rich has been discoveries here that at the Neelkanth temple complex on both sides of the entrance the sculptures excavated from the area have been kept behind big locked iron grills. There is a round the clock presence of police for the security of these priceless sculptures. There is a police post, while the temple itself is under the supervision of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). You can still find a lot of sculptures in the open, on the temple walls, pillars, panels etc.

An erotic sculpture at Neelkanth temple
An erotic sculpture at Neelkanth temple

Sculptures at Neelkanth are in many ways similar to Khajuraho temples- in postures as well as human figures. Have a look at them-

Just opposite to the main temple are samadhis (memorials) of the the siddhas from the different generations who have been priests to this temple.

Samadhis of the priests
Samadhis of the priests

There are few other notable structures near to the Neelkanth temple. There is also a small pond-

A small pond
A small pond

Just besides this pond are ruins of another temple-

Few hundred metres away is another important temple complex with one main temple and a platforms of few smaller temples left. Locally this is called an Naugaja (नौगजा) as it is nine gaja (गज or yards) above the ground level. Here in the main temple there is big 16 feet high statue of a Jain Tirthankar (tough to name, might be Mahavir or Adinath or someone else). Considering the condition of the temple and the statue, it also can’t be surely said that whether this statue was always here or was it brought later on. The platforms of other smaller temples in the complex have many sculptures of dancers and musicians, which indicates that this temple had something to do with dance and music. Have a look-

There is lot more to explore in this area. Besides these sculptures and archaeological wonders, this valley is naturally very beautiful. Interacting with the villagers is fascinating. But what also attracts you here is the number of peacocks and peahens, and I actually mean that the number is unusually huge then whatever I have seen at any other place in India. You will simply love their presence-

Vital Details:

Now the turn of some important details. As I said that the Neelkanth temple, other temples and the village are inside Sariska National Park territory. But this is not the core area of the tiger reserve. Here is a village which has escaped relocation probably because of the Archaeological importance of the temple. Only way to reach Neelkanth Temple is through Tehla. Tehla also has a gate to Sariska Tiger Reserve, but the way to Neelkanth temple is different from that. Tehla is around 65 kms from Sariska gate of the tiger reserve. From Sariska (or Alwar side) one has to reach Gola turn (मोड़). From here one road goes to Bhangarh and then to Dausa. Another one goes to Rajgarh via Tehla. Tehla is roughly 15 kms from Gola mod. From Tehla a road goes to Neelkanth. Temple is around 10 kms from here.

Sunset at Neelkanth Temple
Sunset at Neelkanth Temple

From Tehla, a jungle road goes towards park area. You pass through Mansarovar Dam on the right. Roughly after seven kms you will hit a hill and then one has to climb (drive) on a very rough winding road upto the top. There is a fort gate on the top. The hills surrounding the park have a fortified wall on the top, which used to be part of Rajaur Garh (राजौरगढ़) .  From the gate through the fort wall, you move another kilometre downhill to Neelkanth village and through village to the temple.

There was no fees, entrance fees to be paid anywhere. Police at the temple prohibits you from taking photos inside the sanctum ( surely if they see a large DSLR hanging around your neck). But you can argue and convince. Ironically, nobody stops you from clicking image from your mobile, even if your mobile camera resolution is far better than any DSLR. But then, this is how it works in India.

Any questions or need a tip? Don’t hesitate in writing!

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Stepping into history – Adalaj Vav

Adalaj is a suburb of Ahmedabad in Gujarat and Vav is a term in Gujarati which means a step well. This term is also probably derived from hindi term for step well, i.e. Bavari (बावड़ी). Adalaj Vav is among the few remaining step wells in Gujarat and among the most popular ones besides the Rani ki Vav in Patan. Being not so glorious as Rani Ki Vav, Adalaj gets a comparatively less number of tourists. Still it is very preserved, beautiful and an important landmark in the history of Vaghelas. It was built in 1498 AD for Rudabai, wife of Vaghela chief Veer Singh.

Adalaj Vav2

As per inscription at the well, this Oblong step well runs from south to north. Entry to the Vav is from south through stairs on three sides which descend into a spacious landing with octagonal opening supported on eight pillars. At each of the four corners of landing platform is a small room with oriel window.


From the landing platform the corridor begins with gently descending staircase leading to octagonal well-shaft on north. The stepped corridor has a parapet wall at ground level.

Adalaj Vav3

The octagonal shaft is five storeyed.

Adalaj Vav4

It’s upper four storeys are entered through spiral staircases on western and eastern sides (these are now closed for the visitors)

Adalaj Vav5

The corridor railing around octagonal shaft, pillars, pilasters, entablatures and other architectural constructions are profusely decorated.

Adalaj Vav6

The well at the bottom still has water but visitors are not allowed to go near it owing to safety majors.

Adalaj Vav7

Another view of the well-

Adalaj Vav8

Although not as intrinsic as contemporary sculptures found elsewhere in north India, among sculptures particular mention may be made of a king seated on a stool under parasol with two chauri bearers in attendance. There are also some erotic scenes and alongside it a scene showing churning of butter milk, as has been the tradition in most houses of the region. There are also scenes depicting Bhairava, Kalp Vriksha, female dancers and musicians and various birds and animals like Gaja-sardula. There are also symbolic representation of mother goddess and medallions, held-medallions, scroll motifs evolving out of Kirttimukha etc. Floral patterns are of Islamic style. You can see few of these depictions in these photos-

Step wells were very common in Western India and many of them were built between 5th and 9th centuries. Besides working as a source of water for this mostly arid region, they were also frequented by travellers and caravans as stopovers along trading routes.

Adalaj Vav15

Adalaj is 18 kms north of Ahmedabad and 5 kms from state capital Gandhinagar.

Adalaj Vav16

There is another slice of history attached with this well, though. Legends say that the construction of the well was started by Veer Singh. But it was completed by a muslim ruler Mohammed Begda who had invaded Veer Singh and killed him in war. That is the reason there is fusion of traditional Solanki architectural style and Islamic architectural style in the step-well. Begda did this to fulfil the condition put up by Veer singh’s beautiful widow Rudabai (at some places she has been named Roopba- may be to depict her beauty) to marry him. But the queen killed herself by jumping in the well. Well, there are many associated plots and sub-plots. Knowing about them all adds to the mystic of this beautiful place worth a visit.

Adalaj Vav1



विजय का नगर: हंपी

हंपी के कुछ हिस्सों में घूमते हुए कई बार लगता नहीं कि हम पांच सौ साल पुराने इतिहास के बीच हैं। सब कुछ इतना जीवंत लगता है। वहां जाकर महसूस होता है कि जीत का अहसास कितनी भव्यता प्रदान करता है और हार उस भव्यता को किस कदर मटियामेट कर देती है। हंपी में ये दोनों ही नजारे साथ-साथ देखने को मिलते हैं 
हेमकुटा पहाड़ियों से बारिश की बूंदों के बीच विरुपाक्ष मंदिर और जैन व शिव मंदिरों का नजारा
हेमकुटा पहाड़ियों से बारिश की बूंदों के बीच विरुपाक्ष मंदिर और जैन व शिव मंदिरों का नजारा

हेमकुटा पहाडि़यों पर बने इक्कीस शिव मंदिरों में से एक में मैंने बारिश से बचने के लिए अपने गाइड के साथ शरण ले रखी थी। पीछे विशाल चट्टानों से बहता पानी बहुत सुंदर लग रहा था। उसने छोटे-छोटे झरनों के आकार ले लिए थे। सामने विरुपाक्ष मंदिर के तीनों शिखर एक साथ दिखाई दे रहे थे। विरुपाक्ष मंदिर हंपी के उन गिने-चुने मंदिरों में से है जिनमें आज भी विधिवत पूजा होती है। विरुपाक्ष मंदिर के भीतर जितनी चहल-पहल थी,  उसके उलट हेमकुटा पहाड़ी से आसपास बने शिव मंदिरों, जैन मंदिरों और पीछे विरुपाक्ष मंदिर का नजारा बारिश से बन गए कुहासे में बिलकुल किसी प्राचीन सभ्यता की झलक दे रहा था। ऐसा लग रहा था मानो आप म्यांमार के बागान मंदिरों को देख रहे हों।

विजयनगर साम्राज्य के बारे में इतिहास की किताबों में पढ़ा था। लेकिन राजा कृष्णदेव राय को सबसे ज्यादा जाना तेनालीरामन के किस्सों से। जेहन में इन दोनों का नाम हमेशा से साथ-साथ ही अंकित रहा। उसी विजयनगर और उसी राजा कृष्णदेव राय की राजधानी हंपी पहुंचा तो बरबस फिर से तेनालीराम याद आ गए।
हेमकुटा पहाड़ियों पर यह आश्चर्यजनक छतरियां यात्रियों के आराम के लिए बनी थीं
हेमकुटा पहाड़ियों पर यह आश्चर्यजनक छतरियां यात्रियों के आराम के लिए बनी थीं

हंपी बहुत फैला हुआ है। पुरातत्व विभाग के अनुसार 26 वर्ग किलोमीटर इलाके में। होसपेट से आते हुए रास्ते में कई जगह उस दौर के मंदिर मिल जाते हैं। विरुपाक्ष मंदिर व हेमकुटा पहाड़ी के मंदिरों की अहमियत दो अर्थों में सबसे ज्यादा है- एक तो वहां अब भी पूजा होती है। दूसरा, हंपी की मौजूदा आबादी  इसी के इर्द-गिर्द है। गांव, बाजार, रेस्तरां, गेस्ट हाउस, पार्किंग, सभी कुछ यहीं है। हंपी आने वाले सैलानी सबसे पहले इसे ही घूमते हैं। वैसे शिल्प की दृष्टि से विट्ठल मंदिर परिसर सबसे समृद्ध है। इस मंदिर में कोणार्क के सूर्य मंदिर का प्रभाव जमकर दिखाई देता है।  जाहिर है, उड़ीसा के राजा गजपति को हराने के बाद कृष्णदेव राय ने वहां के शिल्प का जमकर अनुसरण किया होगा। विट्ठल मंदिर में स्थित पत्थर का रथ हंपी के सबसे बड़ी पहचानों में से है। हंपी का तीसरा सबसे महत्वपूर्ण परिसर शाही अहाते और हजारराम मंदिर वाला है। शाही अहाता में तो पुष्करणी अभी तक अक्षुण्ण है। यह दरअसल सीढ़ीदार कुंड की तरह है। इसके अलावा खुला मंडप है जहां बैठकर राजपरिवार विभिन्न आयोजन देखता होगा। हजारराम मंदिर का नाम ही बताता है कि वहां हजार राम अंकित हैं। हंपी में कई अन्य मंदिर व इमारतें हैं और दूर-दूर फैली हैं। उन सभी को तसल्ली से देखने के लिए कम से कम तीन-चार दिन का समय तो अवश्य ही चाहिए। 

विट्ठल मंदिर में यह पत्थर का बना रथ, हंपी के शिल्प की सबसे बड़ी पहचान में से है। माना जाता है कि राजा कृष्णदेव राय ने उड़ीसा के राजा गजपति को हराने के बाद कोणार्क की प्रेरणा से यह बनवाया
विट्ठल मंदिर में यह पत्थर का बना रथ, हंपी के शिल्प की सबसे बड़ी पहचान में से है। माना जाता है कि राजा कृष्णदेव राय ने उड़ीसा के राजा गजपति को हराने के बाद कोणार्क की प्रेरणा से यह बनवाया

हंपी जाकर एक मध्यकालीन नगर की संरचना का अहसास होता है। मंदिरों के भीतर धर्मशालाएं, रसोई, विवाह मंडप, सब कुछ थे। शाही अहाते में पानी की सप्लाई के लिए रोमन शैली के एक्वाडक्ट देखे जा सकते हैं। हर प्रमुख मंदिर परिसर के बाहर एक विशाल बाजार हुआ करता था। जैसे विट्ठल मंदिर के बाहर घोड़ों का बाजार था तो हजारराम मंदिर के बाजार पान-सुपारी का बाजार था। मंदिर के शिल्प में मध्यकालीन भारत के शिल्प की तमाम प्रवृत्तियां देखने को मिल जाती हैं। जैसे यहां के कई मंदिरों में मिथुन क्रिया व श्रृंगार की मूर्तियां मिल जाएंगी। 

तुंगभद्रा और किष्किंधा 
दो सौ साल से भी ज्यादा समय (सन 1343 से 1565) तक हंपी ने अपना वैभव देखा। हालांकि उसे सबसे ज्यादा भव्यता कृष्णदेव राय के शासनकाल में ही मिली। हंपी तुंगभद्रा नदी के किनारे बसाया गया था। हंपी का चयन इसी लिए किया भी होगा कि एक तरफ से तुंगभद्रा इसकी हिफाजत करती थी तो बाकी तरफ भारी-भरकम व विशालकाय चट्टानों से बनी पहाडि़यां इसको घेरे हुई थीं। दरअसल हंपी में जाकर वहां के शिल्प के साथ-साथ ये पहाडि़यां और उनके पत्थर भी चमत्कृत करते हैं। माना जाता है कि रामायणकाल में बाली-सुग्रीव की किष्किंधा नगरी इन्हीं पहाडि़यों में थी। 
हुबली का गेटवे होटल तमाम सुविधाओं से युक्त है और हुबली में ठहरने की सबसे शानदार जगहों में से है।
हुबली का गेटवे होटल तमाम सुविधाओं से युक्त है और हुबली में ठहरने की सबसे शानदार जगहों में से है।

खास बातें

कैसे: हंपी उत्तरी कर्नाटक के बेल्लारी जिले में स्थित है। यह वही बेल्लारी जिला है जो माइनिंग के विवाद के चलते सुर्खियों में रहा था। वैसे हंपी के निकट का बड़ा शहर 12 किलोमीटर दूर होसपेट है। होसपेट में रेलवे स्टेशन भी है। होसपेट दरअसल अंकोला से हुबली होते हुए बेलारी जाने वाले राष्ट्रीय राजमार्ग 63 पर स्थित है। हुबली ही हंपी के निकट का सबसे बड़ा शहर है। धारवाड़ जिले में स्थित हुबली कर्नाटक में राजधानी बेंगलुरू के बाद दूसरा सबसे बड़ा शहर है। बेंगलुरू हंपी से 335 किलोमीटर दूर है। वहीं हुबली की दूरी हंपी से लगभग 160 किलोमीटर है। हुबली  में रेलवे स्टेशन भी है और छोटा हवाई अड्डा भी जहां के लिए बेंगलुरू से रोजाना उड़ानें हैं। गोवा (मडगाव) से आने वाला रेलमार्ग हुबली होते हुए होसपेट जाता है। इसी तरह पूना-कोल्हापुर होते हुए भी रेलमार्ग से हुबली और वहां से होसपेट पहुंचा जा सकता है।
कब: हंपी का समूचा इलाका पथरीली पहाडि़यों और बड़ी-बड़ी चत्रनों से घिरा हुआ है। गर्मियों में यह इलाका बेहद गरम हो जाता है। उस समय जाने से बचें। सर्दियों में जाया जा सकता है, क्योंकि यहां की सर्दियां उत्तर भारत जितनी सख्त नहीं होती। लेकिन बारिशों में यहां जाने का मजा कुछ और ही है। हंपी तुंगभद्रा नदी के किनारे है और नदी के प्रवाह का मजा बारिशों में ही है। वैसे भी उत्तरी कर्नाटक के इस इलाके में कई नदियां हैं और जब तरफ जमकर हरियाली है। नारियल के पेड़ और ज्वार व गन्ने के खेत हैं। इस हरियाली की असली रंगत बारिश के मौसम में ही देखने को मिलती है।
कहां: हंपी में बड़ी संख्या में देशी-विदेशी सैलानी आते हैं। रुकने के लिए हंपी में कई सस्ते गेस्ट हाउस व होमस्टे विकल्प उपलब्ध हैं। लेकिन वहां बड़े रिजॉर्ट नहीं। थोड़े अच्छे होटलों के लिए होसपेट शहर को टटोला जा सकता है। चूंकि निकट का सबसे बड़ा शहर हुबली है, इसलिए वहां अच्छे, सुविधाजनक होटल मिल जाएंगे, जैसे कि द गेटवे, हुबली (चित्र) झील के किनारे है। वैसे हुबली को बेस बनाया जाए तो वहां से हंपी,  के अलावा पश्चिम में गोकरणा उत्तर में डांडेली टाइगर रिजर्व और दक्षिण में कई खूबसूरत फॉल्स को घूमा जा सकता है। 
विरुपाक्ष मंदिर के प्रवेश द्वार का गोपुरम। हेमकुटा पहाड़ियों व आसपास की अन्य पहाड़ियों पर रखी ये विशाल चट्टानें और इनका संतुलन हैरान कर देने वाला है
विरुपाक्ष मंदिर के प्रवेश द्वार का गोपुरम। हेमकुटा पहाड़ियों व आसपास की अन्य पहाड़ियों पर रखी ये विशाल चट्टानें और इनका संतुलन हैरान कर देने वाला है
यह विशाल शिवलिंग दक्षिण भारत का दूसरा सबसे बड़ा शिवलिंग माना जाता है और इसका निचला हिस्सा हमेशा पानी में डूबा रहता है
यह विशाल शिवलिंग दक्षिण भारत का दूसरा सबसे बड़ा शिवलिंग माना जाता है और इसका निचला हिस्सा हमेशा पानी में डूबा रहता है
विट्टल मंदिर की यह नाट्यशाला भी बेजोड़ शिल्प का नमूना है। माना जाता है कि इसके पत्थरों में से अलग-अलग वाद्यों का संगीत निकलता था
विट्टल मंदिर की यह नाट्यशाला भी बेजोड़ शिल्प का नमूना है। माना जाता है कि इसके पत्थरों में से अलग-अलग वाद्यों का संगीत निकलता था

विट्ठल मंदिर की यह प्रतिमा अलग-अलग जानवरों से मिलकर बनी है और ये सभी जानवर अलग-अलग व्यवहारों के प्रतीक हैं। इन सभी पर काबू पाकर ही सही रास्ते पर आगे बढ़ा जा सकता है

शाही अहाते में बनी यह पुष्करणी अभी तक काफी अच्छी हालत में है
शाही अहाते में बनी यह पुष्करणी अभी तक काफी अच्छी हालत में है