Pampa Sarovar, at the base of Anjaneya Hill near Hampi, is a significant part of India’s vast spiritual heritage. This is also the place where the great Hampi group of monuments came up in later centuries. Hampi was the capital of the great Vijayanagar Empire in the 14th century CE. There are many stories connected with this spot that emphasizes its relevance in Sanatana Dharma.
Lord Rama’s Search for Sita Mata
The first story takes us back to the time of the Ramayana. When Lord Rama was searching for Maa Sita, He reached this place along with brother Lakshman. Here they met Shabari Devi, the most devoted of Lord Rama’s devotees. She had spent her lifetime waiting for Lord Rama and at last, He was in front of her eyes. Shabari Devi fed the brothers sweet fruits and then directed them to Pampa Sarovar – just a short distance away. She told Lord Rama that He would meet someone there who would help Him in His search. Before leaving Lord Rama blessed Shabari Devi to reside in His eternal kingdom – Vaikunth. Lord Rama and Lakshman then proceeded to Pampa Sarovar. It so happened that Sugreev was hiding from his brother Bali on Anjaneya hill in ancient Kishkinda. He saw the two brothers coming and sent Hanumanji to find out who they were. Hanumanji assumed the form of a Brahmin and enquired as to who they were. It was then Hanumanji realized it was none other than Lord Rama. He carried the two brothers to the top of the hill on His shoulders. There Lord Rama met Sugreev and subsequently, the search for Sita Maa by the Vanar Sena began.
Mata Parvati’s Penance
The second story is of Mata Parvati’s severe penance to obtain Lord Shiva as Her husband. Mata Sati had sacrificed Her body after being insulted during the Daksha Yagna. She was then reborn as Uma, daughter of Himavan and Maina – king and queen of the mountain kingdom. She was also known as Parvati. She knew that Lord Shiva could only be obtained by severe penance, so She came to Hemakuta Parvat here and began austerities. In those days this place was known as Pampapura. After thousands of years of penance by Mata Parvati, Lord Shiva agreed to marry Her. Mata Parvati came to be known as Pampa Devi and the place then became a pilgrimage. Virupaksha temple (Hampi) now stands in the place where they were married.
Pampa Sarovar is a beautiful lake tucked away in the hills and is covered with multicolored lotuses. When the lotuses are in full bloom the lake is an enchanting sight. There is an ancient Lakshmi temple now partly in ruins. Adjacent to the Sarovar is another temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati Mata, as well as a Ganesh temple. Pampa Sarovar is one of the five sacred Kunds known as ‘Panch Sarovar.’ The others are – Mansarovar, Bindu Sarovar, Narayan Sarovar, and Pushkar Sarovar. Shabari Dham, about 6 km from here was the ashram of Rishi Matanga and where Shabari Devi spent her lifetime serving Rishi Matanga. Before leaving his body Rishi Matanga promised Shabari Devi that she would see Lord Rama and achieve Moksha.
Pampa Sarovar is a short distance away from Hampi. It can be reached by crossing the Tungabhadra river in Hampi. Boats are available here. By road, it is a distance of about 22 km. Accommodation is easily available in Hampi and can be booked online on the YatraDham.Org website.
The nearest Railway Station is Hospet, about 14 km from Hampi.
Hubli Airport is the nearest airport and is about 171 km from Hampi.
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