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This holy man in Lakshmi Temple gestured to follow him when we had just entered into the temple compound after a long climb of steps. He took us up into a higher point which was surrounded by stone walls. It looked like a fort from the outside.

Skipping from massive boulder to boulder at the hill top, we finally arrived at this viewpoint. In the distance, we could make out Anjaneya Hill where the Hanuman temple stood. It is believed that the birthplace of Hanuman was at that very spot on Anjaneya Hill.

Both Lakshmi Temple and Anjaneya Hill are located at Anegondi, north of the Tungabhadra River, just across from Hampi.

The Vittala Temple in Hampi was famous for its musical pillars in its heyday. The slender monolithic granite pillars were constructed to sound the different notes of the scale when struck. Today, the pillars are guarded from whimsical beatings of visitors to protect it from further damage. These pillars pictured here were from another pavilion opened to visitors.

Hampi is a UNESCO site where the ruins of the ancient Vijayanagara empire still stands. Some has been extensively restored for posterity and viewing by visitors. The area covers some 26 square kilometers across the arid boulder-strewn landscape.

This drain-like structure forms part of the aqueduct system in the ancient Hampi city in Kartanaka. The criss-crossing of rock aqueducts transports water across the city to palaces, royal residences and water tanks. Some of these were raised high above the ground to ensure that the water is carried across different terrains.

Hampi was once home to the ancient South Indian Vijayanagara empire. It was founded by two brothers on the banks of the Tungabhadra River in 1336. Hampi was a major centre of Hindu rule and civilization for 200 years. Today, one can still visit the ancient ruins of the city made of rocks and boulders, which are abundantly found across the landscape as far as the eyes can see.

Zenana Enclosure in Hampi

in India
on 31 October 2012

The Lotus Mahal is one of the main highlights in the royal Zenana Enclosure in Hampi. The two-storey structure has ornate plaster decorations above the multiple archways leading into a pavilion. The upper floors have balconies with arched windows while the center dome is in the shape of a lotus bud.

Hampi was once the capital of the ancient Vijayanagara empire, which was said to stretch from the Arabian Sea to the Indian Ocean. It was home to a population of half a million and protected by more than a million soldiers. The 26 square kilometers area in Hampi still contain sacred sites and palatial areas of old opened to visitors. The still active 7th century-built Virupaksha Temple is also found here.

In this image, the characters in a Kathakali performance were engaged in a fighting scene. The story was taken from the Hindu epic Ramayana. Kathakali refers to classical Kerala ritual plays characterised by melancholy songs, vividly painted faces, detailed costumes, drama, music and dance. It is said that Kochi is the only place in Kerala where one can go for a live Kathakali performance on a daily basis. In fact, there are several Kathakali theaters in the city.

The Kerala Kathakali Centre was established in 1990 and has become a leading theater for this ancient art form. It's "aim is to popularize and encourage the classical arts of Kerala, discover new talents, and improve the standards of training and performances by rigorous discipline and dedication. Various traditional arts and rituals are also encouraged and performed at our Centre." For more info, please refer to Kerala Kathakali Centre

Kathakali is an ancient dance-drama tradition that is found in Kerala. It is an amazing mix of drama, dance, music, melancholy songs and ritual. The drama is brought alive by characters with vividly painted faces and elaborate costumes. The story is usually taken from the Hindu epic Ramayana.

Here in the Kerala Kathakali Centre, the audience is treated to witness the long process of make-up before the performance. The drama characters paint their faces with traditional ingredients while the green-faced one in front is assisted by a helper.

Next to the Kochi's Parade Ground is the Church of St. Francis. Said to be built in 1503, it is regarded as the oldest European church in India. The great Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, who discovered the route by sea from Europe to India died in Kochi in 1524. It was his third visit to India.

He was buried in the Church of St. Francis in Kochi but his remains were later removed to Lisbon. The plot where Vasco da Gama was buried can be seen here in the image. It is on the right side of the image, behind the guide. The said plot is surrounded by the short two-bar barrier.

Kochi was the spice capital of India from the 14th century. It was occupied by the Portuguese in 1503 and subsequently by the Dutch and the British. Even so, it remained the center for spice trade for many centuries, which includes pepper, ginger, turmeric and essential oils.

In the Jew Town area of Mattancherry, one can find spice warehouses, auction rooms and shops selling spice like this one in the image. Sacks of dried spices are laid on the floor while plastic-packed spices are laid on the tables and hung from the strings.

Saint Thomas, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, was believed to have sailed to India and established the "Seven and Half Churches" in Kerala. He is widely acknowledged as the Apostle of India while the Saint Thomas Christians are known as "Nasranis" because they are the followers of "Jesus of Nazareth".

The Christian legacy is widely seen as one goes about in the state of Kerala. This image shows one of the many churches situated next to the waterways of Kerala.

At Kerala backwaters, where the water canals and rivers meander through the state, it is not surprising that water transportation is one of the main ways to get around. The locals use boats to go to work, go to school, go to market, even go to church.

And then there are some enterprising locals who had thought of reversing that. The Floating Triveni Super Store took the extra step of bringing the store to the locals instead.

The web of waterways in Kerala stretches for 75km from northern Kochi to the southern Kollam. Not surprisingly, the longest lake in India, Vembanad Lake, is part of the waterways system. It is also the largest lake in the state of Kerala.

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Hello... I Am Josh

A Travel Writer & Photographer from South East Asia

A little about me

Josh For some, it's shopping therapy. Others, movie therapy. Yet more, reading therapy. For me, it's writing therapy.
 
Why writing? When I travel, I enjoy first-hand the experience like in shopping therapy. But when I write about my travels, I live vicariously the experience again, as if like a movie sequel (or more like GroundHog Day, except that this is fun!). Yes, writing evokes the memories, the fun and the not-so-fun but all-in-all it gives the satisfaction of reliving the sense of place once more.
 
With images, it enhances the experience down one's travel memory lane. With this in mind, I hope to share my travel stories in words and images with you. For your escape therapy! More...

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