At the tail end of my Deccan Odyssey I decided to check out the Kishkinda country across the Tungabhadra river near Hampi.
You might find it hard to believe it when I say not once, during my stay in Anegundi, did I cross the river to visit Hampi. The reason being there are plenty of fascinating places in Anegundi itself. For example the first ever Fort built by the founder of the Vijayanagar Empire.
Here is an entry from Wikipedia:
Anegundi, older than Hampi, is situated on the northern bank of Tungabhadra River. Huchappayana matha temple (with black-stone pillars and dance sculptures), Pampa Sarovara, Aramane (a ruined palace), Ranganatha temple,Kamal Mahal, and Navabrindavan are the major attractions. Nimvapuram, a nearby village, has a mount of ash believed to be the cremated remains of monkey king Vaali.
Anegundi, believed to be the monkey kingdom of Kishkindha in the epic of Ramayana, is at a distance of 5 km from the historical site of Hampi. Anjanadri hill, the birthplace of monkey-god Hanuman, and the mountain Rishimuka are the other places near Anegundi associated with Ramayana.
It is said to have one of the oldest plateaus on the planet, estimated to be 3,000 million years old. So, only local story-tellers refer to Anegundi as the maternal home of Bhoodevi (Mother Earth).
But I had other things on my mind. I had heard about an ancient site called Hirebenekal in Anegundi where stone-age megalithic structures can be found.
I began inquiring around as to how to get there when Mr. Sridhar – son of the landlord of the Guest house where i was staying, volunteered to take me there in exchange for some tips on Photography. I readily agreed.
We took off next day. Most of the route hugs a canal and passes through some scenic and rugged countryside.
After about 4 Kms we crossed a bridge and veered into the path leading to the foot of the Hirebenekal Hill.
It was rough going then on because…
We were lucky to bump into a villager who. for a reasonable fee, agreed to act as a guide for the trek to the site. So now we were three. A short climb up the hill and we were on a fairly level plateau..with rocks of all shapes strewn all over..
It was getting pretty hot, especially because of the rocks radiating the mid day heat strongly..
‘May be the heat has split this rock right in half..’ I wondered..
There was relief all around when we stumbled upon a wonderful pond filled with wild weeds, lotuses and hyacinths..
We knew we had reached the Heritage site when we spotted a bureaucratic sign-board ..
and few dozen meters on .. yet another…
And we sure did…It certainly was an eerie experience – wandering among the Tombs and Cists…pondering about the people who built these, their culture,the tools they could have used etc.
I will let the hardworking but little appreciated guys of the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) to throw some light on the marvels of Hirebenekal…
We plodded on..with Mr. Lingappa – our guide – pointing out the main structures to us..
There were more sign – boards to help visitors figure out the structures…
There were boards which ventured into guessing the layouts that could have been..
‘ Watch out guys. these are tombs not bus shelters…’
Our vocabulary too was enriched by the addition of some new words..
The place was surreal to say the least…
It was time to head back to Anegundi…
And some ASI guy with a poetic bent of mind wondered..
and I thought I too could contribute to the research..
Ok, at least I made an attempt…