Anegundi: Of history and mysticism

Anegundi: Of history and mysticism


Ancient town: Anegundi was the first capital of the Vijayanagar dynasty. Photo by the authorThe town also has samadhis (graves) of mystic saints. In the early 14th century, Anegundi (elephant enclosure) got its name from the Vijayanagar army which had its elephant contingent in the hilly environs of the fortified capital Anegundi located on the banks of the Tungabhadra.

The very first capital of Vijayanagar dynasty, Anegundi was also the capital of several dynastic rulers. This region was ruled by the Shahi dynasty of Bijapur, Moghuls, Marathas and also Tipu Sultan during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. During the British rule, the king of Vijayanagar who ruled from Hampi lost his kingdom according to the 1824 treaty with the British and the Nizam of Hyderabad. The 1824 treaty provided a monthly pension of Rs 300 to the then king’s family which was forced to leave Hampi and make Anegundi its official residence. Rani Lalkumari Bai was the royal family’s last descendant who received this monthly pension paid by the government.

The grandson of Rani Lalkumari Bai, also named Krishnadevaraya and his family (the 19th generation) are now residents of Anegundi. Today’s royal link of Anegundi, the son of Raja Achyutharaya and Rani Chandrakantha Devi, Krishnadevaraya, professionally a mechanical engineer, having worked in the US for seven years, left his job and returned to Anegundi after the death of his father Achyutharaya. Geologically, the Anegundi region is known to be one of the oldest plateaus on earth. In the beginning of 13th century, Anegundi came to be ruled by Malik Nayab, the appointee of Sultan of Delhi, Mohammed bin Tuglaq who won the war against Jambukeshwara Raya. Later, when he was outwitted and defeated by Harihara Raya and Bukka Raya (Hakka-Bukka) who renamed their kingdom as Vijayanagar (originally Vidyaranayanagara named after the Rajaguru Vidyaranya who founded the kingdom). Anegundi has numerous religious and natural heritage sites.

Mythology has it that Anegundi was Anjanadri hill, the birthplace of Lord Hanumantha. It was also Kishkinda ruled by Vanara kings Vali and Sugriva of the epic, Ramayana.

Anegundi’s tourist attractions are the hills Taraparvatha, Rishimuka, Anjandri, the holy pond Pampa Sarovara, Aramane (palace ruins), Jain basadi, Navabrindavana, Huchchappayana Mata and the ancient Ranganathaswamy temple. A short coracle journey across the river takes you to an islet situated in the backdrop of the Anegundi hill ranges. This isolated spot is called Nadugadde (island) Nava Brindavana and has tombs of nine Madhva saints. Vysaraja Thirtha (1460-1539), whose Brindavan is easily distinguishable at the Anegundi Navabrindavana site, for 20 long years was the Rajguru of Vijayanagar emperor Krishnadevaraya.

Getting there

Anegundi is 18 km from Hospet via Hampi Talvaraghatta river crossing by easily available boats and coracles. It is about 350 km from Bangalore. Hospet is well-connected by direct buses and train services. The nearest airstrip Toranagallu is 30 km from Hospet and Bellary airport is 70 km.

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