Coracle Ride across Tungabhadra in Hampi

While planning a trip to Hampi (ruins of a glorius medieval kingdom) a couple of years ago , I was brushing up on history not to miss even an iota of what the place had to offer. It turned out to be a weekend packed with history, culture and coracle rides. History and culture apart, the Coracle Ride across the river Tungabhadra in Hampi is something I often reminiscence about.Coracle Ride in Hampi

Coracle is a saucer or bowl shaped primitive country boat which is generally rowed with one paddle. It is made with thin strips of bamboo which is interwoven in a lattice framework to build the base and then the same pattern is followed to raise the sides. The bottom is further strengthened with layers of hide, plastic and sometimes tar to ensure it is sturdy (heavier than the sides) and waterproof.Coracle Ride in Hampi

I stood beside the river side oscillating between fear and desire whether to take a coracle ride across the river or simply travel in one of those small and noisy motor boats.Coracle Ride in Hampi

Meanwhile, the coracles were engaged in brisk business, ferrying men and their motor bikes and sometimes multiple pieces of luggage. The men on the bikes appeared to be straight out of a regional pot boiler absolutely at ease on the coracle.Coracle Ride in Hampi

If that small thing Β could sustain the weight of 3 motor bikes, surely, I would be safe, I reasoned with myself. Minutes of indecision later, I decided to take the plunge, assuring myself that there were several people around to pull me out in the event I give in to my clumsy side and fall off the coracle. Β The coracle rower made some passengers sit on the base and a few others on the edge to ensure that the weight was somewhat evenly balanced.Coracle Ride in Hampi

As we moved, I got comfortable watching other Coracle’s float by, racing each other to cross over in the shortest time. The next 20 minutes was bliss, so much so that it left me wanting for a longer ride. As I got off for a promising sightseeing journey of medieval history, I did not mind being wet at the wrong place from the occasional water seepage in the coracle.Coracle Ride in Hampi

Coracle’s are popular in the southern part of the country, specially in the areas along the river Tungabhadra and Cauvery. Hampi is about 350 kms from Bangalore and is accessible by road and rail. It is a great 3 day trip from Bangalore.

You may want to read:

  1. Vittala Temple, Hampi by Day and Night
  2. Priest and his Mobile in Hampi
  3. Hampi – Badami- Bijapur on a Long Weekend

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  1. For me that was nostalgic. I spent a few summers there at my grandfather’s place on the island. They used to supply milk to all the coffee shops on the main street in Hampi. As a kid in the 60s, I used to cross Tungabhara at least 4 times on the coracle (arugolu in Telugu) to supply milk. The island used to be a jungle in the 1950s, with an ashram and a guru. My grandfather and his associate bought the island from the guru before he passed away, and transformed it into an agricultural land and cultivated it in those days.

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  6. Nice writeup. The images brought back memories. My first experience of Coracle was in Hogenakal falls. The fellow wanted to frighten us and moved the coracle round and round like a top to the howl of my friends. It can move in shallow waters unlike a large boat.

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      • I mentioned Hogenakkal because I saw coracles for the first and last time during hogenakkal visit. ..Amazing spot for photography and nature lovers; and not far from Blore . πŸ™‚ You will love it.:) My another favorite place close to Bangalore was Nrityagram. πŸ™‚ Take care:)

        • Actually I have not seen much around Bangalore since I was travelling back and forth from work πŸ™ I will now go around the city and surrounding areas.

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