Hampi, the city of ruins, will transcend you to a different world.A world of gigantic boulders scattered among miles of green palm trees ,dazzling emerald paddy fields till as far as your eyes can go, rocky hills, rivers, fragments of age old monuments reduced to mere stones, dilapidated yet beautiful architecture and many tales and legends of the bygone era - this entire city looks like a fallen empire frozen in time.
Hampi indeed has very glorious history.It was the capital of the last great Hindu kingdom of South India, the bustling Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th century.Situated on the banks of Tungabhadra RIver, the city was prosperous, perhaps Indias wealthiest at that time.This empire was defeated and ransacked by the Deccan Sultanates, reducing Hampi to a ghost city, a vast land (spread over 4,100 hectares) of ruins and rocks.UNESCO’s World Heritage Site was conferred to Hampi in 1986.
But Hampi is not just about ruins and history, it is a uniquely beautiful village with surreal landscapes and warm people and a spiritual aura that lingers throughout.The architecture sure will capture the imagination of any history enthusiast, but the village in itself will enrapture you such that you will wish to stay here much longer than you intend to.
I had planned Hampi as a new year getaway from Hyderabad.I won't deny that Hampi was not my first preference because a few people had discommended saying "there are only temples and ruins".But the morning we had reached Kamalapura and I had laid my eyes on this city from an auto,all my doubts and prejudices were crushed in the most beautiful way possible.The fresh morning air infused with scents of wild flowers, the warm glow of the sun, rice paddy and rocky hills on either side of a winding road, villagers passing by with welcoming smiles - and I knew 3 days were not going to be enough .
How to reach Hampi
Hampi is well connected to the rest of the country by a strong network of flights, trains or buses.Hubli (166 km) and Belgaum (270km) are the 2 nearest airports, both in Karnataka. Hospet Junction(13 km) is the nearest railway station. Tourists from the prime cities like Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore mostly prefer to use the regular train services to visit Hampi.For road-journey lovers, you can take the reliable interstate bus services which will also drop you at Hospet. There will be plenty of autos available at any time of the day from here to till Hampi Bazar. They will charge Rs.150-200 per auto.You can also choose to hire a cab or drive yourself for a night to reach this lovely village of Hampi.I booked my tickets from AbhiBus.com because they list all the buses both private and state run and provide good discounts. It is better to plan a little ahead and book tickets in advance because the night journey is long and roads are very bumpy near the state border.Avoid last row seats unless you want to end up with a sleepless night and a severe backache.