HAMPI- I have only heard this name in my history books. Later when I shifted to Bangalore, I came to know Hampi is located in Karnataka so we planned a short weekend trip.
As the distance of Hampi is about 365km from Bangalore. We boarded a bus from Bangalore to Hospet(the nearest town to Hampi) in the evening and reached Hospet by 5:30 am. Then we boarded an auto from Hospet bus stand till Hampi.
The name Hampi is derived from 'Pampa'- the old name of the Tungabhadra river, on whose banks the capital city of Vijayanagar empire was built. Surreal, stark yet stunning- one will soon run out of words to describe Hampi and its monuments, as they stand strong over time.It has an air of lost glory ,architectural marvels from past and rugged yet alluring landscape. There are two areas to stay in Hampi; the Bazaar, which is the village in the shadow of Virupaksha temple and the Hampi island , divided by a river. So we decided to cross the river and explore Hampi island. To explore Hampi one can hire two-wheelers and bicycles. Our reservation was for 1 night so we opted a proper Tent stay at Dream Mango Resort.
The place is jam-packed with truly incredible sites and ruins, one can spend a week or more travelling around this place. So I have collated a list places which I feel are worth visiting.
MATANGA HILLS and DURGA DEVI TEMPLE (16th FEBRUARY 2019)
This was our first spot to visit as it was still dawn so we thought to watch sunrise from the hilltop (a perfect start,isn't it ?).Matanga hill is just at the centre of Hampi and one can get a bird's eye view of the entire place. And the view of sunrise is mesmerizing and soothing.
The Durga devi temple is located on the Anegondi side on a small hillock. It is located at the base of a fort. So its believed that its name is derived from the word Durg, meaning fort and not Goddess Durga. If we move further from the temple towards the gate of the fort, number of tombs belonging to the Vijayanagar dynasty can be seen.
SANAPUR LAKE and PAMPA SAROVAR (16th FEBRUARY 2019)
From an array of options that Hampi offers, Sanapur lake built at foot hills is certainly worth a walk offering calmness combined with spectacular sunrise views in morning.But we visited in the evening and this was the highlight of this day, as we did the famous Coracle ride in the lake.Its a unique thing to experience in this ancient town. A coracle is a circular shaped country boat that carry about 6-8 people on a single trip. These boats have been in use in Hampi since the time of the Vijayanagara empire .
The Pampa Sarovar is one of the sacred ponds among the Hindus and is located near Anjaneya Hills. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort Pampa Devi beside the pond.
THE ANJANEYA HILL AND TEMPLE AKA MONKEY TEMPLE (16th FEBRUARY 2019)
The Anjaneya hill is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman. The hill is located on the other side of Rive Tungabhadra on the Anegondi area. There is a temple on the hilltop dedicated to Lord Hanuman. We have planned to watch sunset from hilltop and the hill has about 600 steps but the view from the top is breathtaking as one can see the patches of paddy fields, Hampi city ruins around and the amazing sunset. As sitting at the edge of hill, makes me wonder how small we as human beings are , infront of those huge and high rocky cliffs and nature's other wonders.
ELEPHANT STABLE and UGRA NARSIMHA TEMPLE (17th FEBRUARY 2019)
Elephant stable is a major tourist attraction so expect a ton of camera-happy tourists milling around. The row of chambers used to be house for royal elephants that were used for royal processions. The stables are huge and worth exploring.
The Ugra Narsimha statue is the largest statue in Hampi. Narsimha is sitting on the coil of Sheshnag, a giant seven head snake.The statue presents a menacing look of Lord Vishnu in his Narsimha avtaar. (Hindus can relate it with story of Holika and Prahalad) The original statue haf Goddess Lakshmi sitting on the lap of God. But that statue was damaged heavily during the fall of Vijayanagar empire.
STEP TANK and LOTUS MAHAL (17th FEBRUARY 2019)
The Step tank is totally different from other structures at Hampi as the tank is constructed using finely finished blocks of black schist stones.All the stones bear some marks or sketches made by architects. These tanks were used for rituals and religious ceremonies by the royals.
A tour to Hampi is incomplete without visiting Lotus Mahal. It is one of the fine architectural designed palaces that are uniquely identified by its lotus look like structure. This glorious building is within the Zenana Enclosure, a segregated area that is used by the royal women of Vijayanagara Dynasty. This is otherwise called the Kamal Mahal or Chitragani Mahal. It's remarkable and unmistakable design is the main highlight of the palace. It is one of only a handful few astonishing building in Hampi that had not been damaged or destroyed amid the attack on the city.
VIRUPAKSHA TEMPLE (17th FEBRUARY 2019)
One of the most prominent structures of Hampi id the Virupaksha temple located on southern banks of Tungabhadra river. Standing tall near the market area, its not at all easy to miss the temple. Its an important place of worship for Shiva worshippers. Temple has a grand structure sprawling over a large area and also has an interesting engineering marvel- working of the first pinhole cameras.(One can see the inverted image of temple at distant inside temple)
VIJAYA VITTALA TEMPLE (17th FEBRUARY 2019)
The Vijaya Vittala temple is the most extravagant architectural wonder of Hampi. The temple is spread across a large complex where there are numerous halls and gateways. Outside the main temple complex, there are other ruins also. It seems like an entire town has been set up there. In fact, it is the remains of the ancient town of Vittalapura. Vittala, another form of Lord Vishnu was worshiped in the temple. And the first thing one can notice while entering the complex is the iconic stone chariot.(which can also be seen on Rs.50 note)
And after finishing all these sightseeings we left for Hospet as we had to board our bus at 8pm from Hospet and reached Bangalore at 6am.
HAMPI is the perfect place to get lost, without worries and with no inhibitions. It's perfectly safe and people will always help you find your way if you were lost.
If you like heritage and history, HAMPI is your thing. If you like the architecture of past, visit HAMPI. If you like adventure, visit HAMPI. There is a laid back, kind of spiritual aura, in Hampi that I found captivating. Hampi seems to have a way of bewitching a visitor and cast a spell that makes people linger longer than expected, which is just as well because it takes time to really get under Hampi's skin. Travel, Meet and Connect. Get Set GO !! ❤