What is Ramayana Circuit? Here is everything you should know about this project and which are the cities from Karnataka that got a place on the list.
Read: Ganga Ramayan Yatra – Travel Through The Ramayana Circuit
So, what is Ramayana Circuit?
The Ramayana Circuit is a well-thought tourist project that falls under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme. It aims to promote religious tourism. The Ministry of Tourism formulated 13 such tourist circuits under the scheme.
Lord Ram had travelled to a number of cities in India covering almost every region from the north to down south. Fifteen such destinations have been mapped under the Ramayana Circuit. These connected destinations forming the circuit span from Ayodhya to Nagpur.
They cover Shringverpur, Chitrakoot of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, Sitamarhi, Buxar, Darbhabga, Nandigram, Mahendragiri, Jagdalpur, Bhadrachalam, Rameshwaram, Hampi and Nashik besides the two mentioned earlier. The plan is to equip them with basic facilities including accommodation, drinking water and good infrastructure by involving both the State and Central Government.
Hampi – All about Ramayana
Hampi, the renowned UNESCO world heritage site of east-central Karnataka, is known for its ancient temples. Most of these temples date back to the Vijayanagara Empire. Proud to be a part of the Ramayana Circuit, Hampi deserves the credit is holds.
The city bears a very close connection to Ramayana. It is associated with the birthplace of Hanuman. As per mythology, Anjaneya Hill is the place where Hanuman was born. The folklore talks about the monkey kingdom of Kishkinda found around Hampi. It is believed that Lord Ram and Lakshman reached Hampi to find Sita. The tales of plotting against Ravan and Hanuman flying across to Lanka are well known.
The Tales of Hanuman and Rama
The temples of Hampi, including the walls, archways and pillars, are adorned with mythical tales of Hanuman and Lord Ram. Hampi probably has more depictions of Hanuman than any other God or mythological character. No wonder the place was called the Monkey’s Kingdom. There is a noteworthy religious appeal and significant carvings of the stories of Ramayana all along.
Another important location to note in this region is that of Matunga Hill. This significant hill being the highest point in Hampi offers the best views of the town. The northern side of this hill ends at the southern bank of the Tungabhadra River. This is where another temple dedicated to Lord Ram is located, namely the Kodanda Rama Temple.
River Tungabhadra and the Ramayana Connection
The River Tungabhadra that flows through the region has mythological stories attached to it as well. The connection of Hampi with epic is well-known. Hampi has been derived from the Kannada term Pampa Kshetra. This kshetra or region was the previous name of the famous Tungabhadra River. Moreover, Kishkindha was believed to be the kingdom of the younger brother of Bali, namely Sugreeva. Thus, the name Hampi by itself establishes a deep-rooted Ramayana connection.
Another spot to observe is the one below the Shiva shrine with a number of Shiv Lingas and Nandi bulls. On careful observation, one can notice a cleft that is believed to have been caused by the arrow thrown by Laxman. As you can see, Hampi is not just about sunsets and ruins, but a lot about the mythological significance and religious sentiment.
Ranga Temple and Lord Hanuman
Ranga Temple is another famous temple within the Hampi enclosure. It has 2 shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu as well as a huge carving of Hanuman. The carving is done on one of the biggest slabs in the area.
As if these weren’t enough, there is the Malyavanta Hill. It is another important tourist spot to mark. It houses a temple, Malyavanta Raghunataha Temple, dedicated to Lord Ram and that’s what makes it extra special. It is in this spot that Lord Rama and Laxman waited for monsoons to end before they continued their journey to Lanka along with Hanuman’s army to rescue Sita. This less touristy and rather isolated temple can easily be accessed by road. Not everyone prefers hiking to a hilltop anyway. It is on the way to Vittala Temple.
Ramayana Circuit and Anegundi
Anegundi lies in the Koppal district of Karnataka. To be precise, it is actually a village in the Gangavathi taluk. It is supposed to be way older than Hampi and lies on the north bank of River Tungabhadra. Most of the pilgrims consider their trip incomplete without a detour to Anegundi.
Anegundi houses a number of temples and places of significance like the Nava Brindavana, Huchapayyana Matha Temple, Ranganatha Temple, Kamal Mahal, Pampa Sarovar and Aramane to name a few. Nimvapuram is a village that lies close by and is known to contain the ash from the cremated remains of Bali. There are a number of stories associated with this kingdom and it is slowly catching up in terms of tourism.
Anegundi is the actual monkey kingdom. It is believed so from a mythological point of view as it literally translates to a forest in which monkeys live. 2 other places of association with the Ramayana are the Anjanadri Hill where Hanuman was born, and the famous Rishimuka Mountain. The village has a plateau that dates back to 3,000 million years. As per the local tales, Anegundi is supposed to be the hometown of Mother Earth or Bhoodevi.
Ramayana Circuit – Why Hampi and Anegundi?
The above reasons are enough to consider Hampi and Anegundi as destinations for the Ramayana Circuit. Ramayana is believed to have been composed during the 1st century BC. All the events are believed to have happened around Hampi and Anegundi at that time. Hinduism is rampant in the temples of Hampi. Not just that, the love for Lord Ram and Hanuman is pretty obvious too. There are a lot of stories and pieces of evidence to gather a touch of Islamic and Jain faith amongst others. However, the route of Ramayana Circuit is solely focused on Lord Rama and the paths he traversed.
More often than not, pilgrims like to visit these spots owing to their religious significance. Getting absorbed in the circuit will only tend to give them more exposure and help in diversifying the specific leg of religious tourism. As evident, the circuit to Hampi is considered complete with a trip to Anegudi and vice versa. Thus, they go hand in hand. Both of them are of religious importance and they bear a lot of stories by the folklore in relation to the epic Ramayana.