Malapanagudi is a tiny village on the way Hampi. The road on which you are traveling from Hospet to Hampi bisects through this village.
As you approach Malapanagudi you can the Archeological department’s signboard on your left pointing to the direction of the Stepped Tank. The well is popularly known as Soolai Bhavi ( prostitute’s well ) , for some curious reason. It’s believed that a dancing girl (or courtesan) commissioned for the benefit of the travelers to the ancient capital.
The well is made in the typical Islamic style architecture. The octagonal shaped well is made in a multi storied style with a series of steps leading down to the water. Each of the walls is designed with an arch each in the middle facing the water body. From outside the well look a bit low profile and plane. So it appears as a simple structure from the roadside. You experience the vastness of the structure as you start stepping into it.
A couple of minutes later your bus is made to wriggle through a cramped village square. You've just crossed Malapanagudi.
Probably this village itself was a fortified enclave during the Vijayanagara days. Though ruined , two gateways still stand on either end of the village. The centerpiece of Malapanagudi is the Mallikarjuna temple, on your left. The whitewashed main tower of the temple faces the main road. The temple is still in active worship. Though it is not as grandiose as some of the Hampi’s temple the Mallikarjuna temple is quite old (even older then the Vijayanagara empire) and peculiar with its fort like walls around the compound.
Though the main road pass through the village, visiting Mallikarjuna temple could pose a challenge logistically if you are reaching Hampi by bus. That’s mainly because this village is a bit far from the rest of Hampi ruins sites. One option is to ‘return’ to Malapanagudi from Hampi after hiring a moped or bicycle.
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