[pullquote-right] Hampi doesn’t have the life that Anegundi possesses. Its sheer natural beauty, with the valley, river, rocks and forests, is fantastic.
– Shama Pawar
Anegundi or Anegondi actually means Elephant Gorge (Ane = elephant; Gundi = Gorge). The depth of the river in this area is of the height of an elephant, making it a convenient location to bathe elephants. Gundi also means ‘group’ since a stable was located here one could see elephant herds and hence the name Anegundi. Anegundi is the cradle city of Vijayanagara.
Anegundi has a very long history beginning from the 3rd BC century when it was taken into the boundaries of Ashokan Empire. There has been no looking back since. Anegundi has been a part of numerous empires- the Satavahanas, Kadambas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Delhi Sultanate, Vijayanagara, Bahamanis, etc. In the year 1334, Anegundi’s Chief Minister Deva Raya, became the first ruler of Anegundi. While the imposing ruins of this medieval capital lie in to the south of the river, vestiges of the period can also be seen in Anegundi, sometimes combined with earlier, pre-Vijayanagara period elements.
Not only did Anegundi bask in the glow of the great Vijayanagar Empire, but also has it’s roots in one of India’s great epics, the Ramayana. Aneguni is believed to be part of the mythical city of Kishkinda, home to the mighty Indian monkey God Hanuman. Anjunadari, Hanuman’s birthplace lies a few kilometers away from Anegundi.
Anegundi has a charm like no other! If one walks around it’s streets, you can see women grinding spices to make pickle, decorating their houses with rangoli, or weaving banana fiber into bags for The Kishkinda Trust’s art and crafts shop, Shorba. They sit in front of ancient white washed houses, with beautiful carved wooden pillars and granite floors.
Anegundi is situated on the banks of the river Tungabhadra. While strolling along this mantappa dotted landscape, you feel as if time stands still! Traditional coracles (light weight round boats with a bamboo frame, covered with buffalo-hide, said to have been used since pre-historic times) are still in use today.
Anegundi’s architectural heritage is relatively unspoilt and it’s inspiring landscape makes it not only an important heritage site, but a living, natural one as well.
With the help of The Kishkinda Trust (TKT), the implementing agency of endogenous tourism in Anegundi, the village has become a role model in heritage conservation and a number of sustainable and development projects.
There are a number of beautiful historical sites around Anegundi that are within walking distance from the TKT office.