Just 5 km separate Anegundi from Hampi, with the temperamental Tungabhadra River forming the fissure. But this village could not be more different from the touristy bustle of its more flamboyant cousin. Anegundi (‘elephant’s pit’ in Kannada) is still basic, still culturally pristine, and still endlessly beautiful.
Anegundi has multiple points of significance, even a mythological milestone – this place is supposed to be the Kishkinda of the Ramayana, and the birthplace of Lord Hanuman. No wonder then that over 600 temples dedicated to the monkey God dot the landscape.
The most significant of this is the Anjanadri Temple, located on the Anjanadri Hill, offering every visitor a pit stop of piety, and some breath-taking views of the entire landscape.
Historically, Anegundi is one of the oldest spots on the planet, and rock paintings belonging to the Neolithic Age can still be seen here. During the reign of the Vijayanagara Empire, Anegundi truly came into its own. In the 21st century, it has become a prime rural tourism destination, put on the popularity map by its burgeoning banana fibre cottage industry.
Anegundi breathes at an easy pace. Its people are unhurried, they enjoy their coffee even when the sun is scorching their ground, and they love having visitors. Here you can walk the streets without ever losing the feel of being at home. Quaint little homes populate this place, with friendly families running small eateries and home-stays.
Under a moonlit night, Anegundi’s charm can defeat the most eloquent in their craft. Sitting on the amazingly beautiful rock formations, with the river gushing by, epiphanies will be many.
Today, Anegundi comes under the Hampi World Heritage Site, and its many temples and mantapas are under good protection. If there was ever a site to feel completely disarmed by natural beauty, this is the one.
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photos Black Swan Journeys Pvt Ltd