In someway detached from the rest of the typical tourist circuits, many Hampi visitors often fail to make it to Malyavanta Hill . Those of you take the trouble to venture on to it will be rewarded with a few pleasant surprises , and of course a relatively less touristy ambient
First of all it is one of the few hilltops in Hampi (or is it really the only one?) where you can reach by a vehicle. That’s welcome news for those of you find it difficult to hike, despite a desire, to a Hampi hilltop.
The view and ambiance are as remarkable, and more tranquil, than the much talked about Mathanga Hill top. Due to its relative isolation, you would find a much smaller tourist crowd on top of this hill than say the Matunga Hill or the less tall Hemakuta Hill .
Apart from the usual expectation from a hilltop, the highlight of this hill includes large temple campus at the top. The main temple, popularly known as Malayavanta Raghunatha Temple , is dedicated to lord Rama. (See Gods of Hampi )
According to mythology , it is here lord Rama and his brother Laxmana waited till the monsoon season gets over; and then they marched towards Lanka with Hanuman’s monkey army to rescue Sita.
The narrow but decently paved uphill path terminates in front of the eastern gate of the temple campus. Enter through the towered porch and you are inside the campus with many temples and pavilions all around. At the east side (towards your left) of the wall you can spot huge entrances tower. Out side this is a vantage area overlooking a long chain of boulder hills. Just beneath lies the main road that you took from Kamalapura.
A modest opening at the back (west side) of the campus wall leads to a cliff. Devoid of any interruptions, the wind seems powerful enough to lift you off your feet. From this point you can get an almost 360 degree panoramic view. The haze in the horizon seems the only barrier.
The topography of many hills, the contours of the green fields filling the valley and planes, the almost thread like trails that snake through the ridges and fields, the anonymous monuments that scatter around all gives a feel that you are looking at a gigantic live map of Hampi. The visibility is especially great during the brighter part of the day.
Just around this area you will notice a gigantic boulder, over which a whitewashed shrine tower is located. The shrine beneath it houses a Shiva Linga.
Just in front of the shrine, on the rocky floor, you can spot an array of carved Nandi (Bull) statues and Shiva Lingas (See Gods of Hampi ) . A cleft on the floor, usually filled with water, separate the two rows of carvings. This cleft is believed to have caused by Laxmana’s arrow.
Owing to its westward projection, this is a fantastic place to enjoy a Hampi sunset
Though a bit isolated, reaching Malyavanta Hill is not a great struggle. It is located somewhat on the way to Vittala Temple from Kamalapura town. If your itinerary covers this route (-Kamalapura- Ganagitti Temple - Bhima’a Gateway - Vittala Temple -), it’s not a bad idea to tweak it a bit to include Malyavanta Hill as a side trip.
From Kamalapura take the main road (the same road that goes to the Ganagitti Temple and the Bhima’s Gateway) that goes in the northeast direction towards Kampili. At about two kilometers from Kamalapura, or after passing the Ganagitti Temple on your right, road reaches a fork. The left branch goes towards the Vittala Temple. The main road continues towards Kampili. About 500 meters from the junction, at the left side of the main road you see the Malyavanta Hill. A cemented ramp to the hilltop with an arched gateway at the foothill is a distinct landmark. A moped may not be powerful enough to pull all the way up with two people riding on it. You can park your bicycle or moped anywhere in the vicinity, that is, by the foothill, near the ramp at the courtyard of the temple complex at the top.
Another option is to follow the route plan as suggested in Route-4 of Hampi Itinerary
For a couple of rupees, a local bus from Kamalapura bus station can drop you near the arch mentioned above. As a norm the buses are packed to the limit imaginable with the village folks. And that excludes the 25 or so brave ones clinging on to the rooftop.