#Hampi A place depicts its culture and culture depicts its people. But when two cultures with their opulent background came to make a fusion in a city 500 years old, it created impact, an impact so large that it eventually allowed the cross culture city to house around 500000 inhabitants way back in 16th century A.D, making it the second largest city in the world then after Beijing-Peking.
Yes, it’s none other than Hampi. The medieval Islam ruled capital of Vijayanagara Kingdom was one of the richest cities of its time. History speaks about its glory even now in every nook and corner of the village. Once the largest city of India has become a tiny archaeological village situated on the bank of river Tungabhadra in the Bellary district of Northern Karnataka. Temples, ruins, archaeological remains all made it a place worth the UNESCO World Heritage Site tag. So, let’s come to the details of the place. Hampi is 12 km away from the nearest railway station in Hospet. Hampi is connected with Hospet through Karnataka Govt Buses and private vehicles. Hospet is major junction station in South Western railway in Hubli Division. Bellary is 74 km and state Capital Bengaluru is about 353 km away.
The beauty of the town remains in its architectural heritage. The Indo-Islamic fusion style makes it even more extravagant. Mostly the architecture consists of temples and palace complexes. Broadly there are two zones to visit. Architectural style significantly consists fusion elements like columns with different animal figures, the Indian ogee arch, tiered plinth, Gopuram and Prakara.
First one is the Hampi Bazar area just near the bank of Tungabhadra River. Virupaksha Temple is there which the only living temple in Hampi till date is. The temple is grand, it creates an enigmatic impact. The meandering lanes and alleys tend to the river Tungabhadra behind the temple. The river has created its own magic with the composition of natural rock and soothing greenery. Veerbhadra temple, Achyutaraya Temple and Sri Ganesha temples are situated nearby. The monolithic Ganesha shrine of Hemakuta Hills is a significant structure to mention.
This area is very close to the famous Vitthala swamy temple. The temple is unique in its own right. The complex has got several small shrines and statues inside. The Nandi shrine or the bull statue here is epitome of the Shaiva sect of Hinduism. Kalyan Mandapa and Amman Shrine are the other two structures in the precinct. Then there is the Vitthala temple with the famous stone charriot. The temple has a special set of musical columns. Intricate detailing and folk depiction in the temple facade near the plinth make it even more attractive. A special mythological character of half man and half Lion called the Narasimha can be seen here in temples.
Another important cluster is situated near the more congested Kamalapuram area. Pattabhirama Temple, Hazararama temple are two of the main important temples situated in this cluster. The Hazararama temple complex is famous for its fresco and depiction of the epic Ramayana on the temple facade. This cluster also houses the royal enclosure. Royal Bath, Elephant stable and Lotus temple are some of the important monuments. This precinct is known as Zenana Enclosure or the private area for royal people. These monuments truly show the grandeur of the then dynasty. So, this is evident that the historic remains are the backbone of Hampi. But it would be unjustified if the natural composition is missed. The rocky terrain, small hillocks, excavated sites beside the roads and the rough ambience – all make the frame unique along with its sunrise and sunsets beyond the hills. The town surely promises to keep the history alive with its living nostalgia.
How to reach: Most of the South Central and South Western Railway trains halt at Hospet. Hampi Express connects Hospet to Bengaluru. The Goa bound Amravathi Express from Howrah also halts at Hospet. KSRTC buses connect Hospet to Hubli, Dharwad, Bengaluru etc many other cities of Karnataka as well as Goa.
Where to stay: Hospet has many hotels and lodges for the tourists which are reasonable in price. Some of them are Hotel Royal Orchid, Amruta Residency, Hotel Krishna Palace etc.
Special Mention : Language can be a barrier for interaction in the villages because most of the people speak colloquial Kannada.