5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan

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Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

It is so easy to get attached to places, people and things that eventually it becomes difficult to cope with the inevitable parting.

I hadn't laughed so much in the past few weeks as I had in those two days in Hampi. It is wonderful how the right combination of people and place can make the world seem nothing but perfect.

The Train to Hampi

The 10 pm Hampi Express was patiently waiting at the platform of Majestic Railway Station, Bangalore when we reached. Vendors roamed around clumsily. Paunched men and few saree-clad women had already set up the berths for the night.

The nearly-empty platform was relieved of the last bit of the daily commotion as our train slowly chugged out.

En route Hospet

Photo of Bangalore City Junction Railway, Subhash Nagar, Sevashrama, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India by Sheeba Kaul

By 8 am, the next day, the boulder mountains marked the beginning of the city of Hospet. As I peeked out of the open door of the rushing train, the wind hit me with a welcoming warmth. I immediately knew it was going to be a fantastic weekend trip.

Virupaksha temple as seen from the Jolly Side

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

We took an auto from Hospet Junction to Hampi, which cost us around 200 Indian Rupees per auto. After dodging the dust and traffic on the bumpy roads for almost 30 minutes, the ancient city came into view.

A small lane laid with sandstone led us to the banks of the river Tungabhadra, that streams behind the famous Virupaksha temple. We descended the stairs to reach the bank from where a small motorboat took us to the other side of the river.

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

On the banks of Tungabhadra

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

The locals identify Hampi as two regions. The river bank where the Virupaksha temple and a whole lot of other architectural ruins stand is called the holy side. The other side or the 'hippy island', where most people spend time relaxing and loitering, is popularly called the jolly side.

Photo of Mr Ranjith, PC: Prashanth Patil

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

This was explained by our lively and cheerful auto driver Mr Ranjith, whose auto got featured in the Marathi movie named Hampi in which the character of the auto driver was inspired by him!

You can contact him at +91- 8762024986 ( humpibumpi on Instagram) and rest assured that you will have a jolly time at Hampi.

Stay At Hampi

On the jolly side, right opposite a small boulder mountain and across the unnaturally green paddy fields stood a group of shacks called Bobby 'One Love' Guest House. It opened to a restaurant with floor seatings at the entrance followed by a passageway under the canopy of tall trees. On either side stood tiny coloured huts with a thatched roof, which looked more like doll houses.

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul
Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

Our home in Hampi

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

Our basic single room huts came with netted beds, attached bathrooms. A floor-seater restaurant catered to both Indians and outsiders. Hanging light bulbs discreetly hidden behind colourful shades reminded me of Goa. The only thing I missed was the sea and clearly, Hampi made up for that.

1. Adventures at Sanapur Lake

We hired a two-wheeler and visited the first place on the jolly side is Sanapur Lake.

Photo of Sanapur Lake, Sanapur, Karnataka, India by Sheeba Kaul

Coracle Ride: nothing will give you more peace than riding in the coracle boat, across the Tungabhadra river. Pay a bit extra and the boat owner will take you to the safe swimming spot, which is on the other side of the lake.

Braving the waters of Tungabhadra to reach that slippery rock was my 'Stunt of the Day' at Hampi

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

Cliff Jumping: for those of you who know swimming pretty well, plunge into the reptile-infested river from a nearby cliff for a rejuvenating break from life! Just kidding. No crocodiles in Tungabhadra.

2. Stunning Sunset at Hanuman Temple, Kishkinda

View from Anjaneya hill

Photo of Kishkinda Hanuman Mandir, Panerion Ki Madri, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India by Sheeba Kaul

Sunset at Hampi is mystical and enchanting no matter where you witness it from. However, if you are on the jolly side, watching it from the Anjaneya hill is a treat to the eyes.

Occupy this spot at Anjaneya hill before the monkeys do to get the best sunset pictures!

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

The holy site is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman, the ardent devotee of Lord Ram and one of the central characters in the scripture of the Ramayana. We climbed a total of 575 steps. Our cameras came out every time we stopped to look at the beautiful landscapes across the boulder land. After visiting the temple, we found the most comfortable rock to rest on and enjoy the setting sun.

Such gripping sunset views that you almost think that the cameramen and-women would slip off the cliff while capturing them

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

We all know some of us as kids thought this was a rocket

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

3. The Unrivalled Beauty of Ruins

And, how can you go back without visiting the ancient ruins! Hampi's rich history reflects in the awe-striking architectural structures that are scattered across its landscape.

Virupaksha Temple

Photo of Sri Virupaksha Temple, Hampi, Karnataka, India by Sheeba Kaul

Don't forget to check out this cool flowchart of the Saluva Dynasty at Virupaksha Temple.

Photo of Sri Virupaksha Temple, Hampi, Karnataka, India by Sheeba Kaul

This massive 15th-century temple remains functional since its consecration. The temple courtyard is where Lakshmi blesses people with its trunk when offered a 10 Rupees note yes-she is the living goddess there. Langurs lurk around looking for a quick snatch meal. Bats still hang from the ceiling wall within the dark inner sanctum.

Lakshmi, the elephant - Isn't she a beauty!

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

The crowd at Virupaksha didn't deter us from watching the inverted image of the Gopuram. It was difficult capturing it though.

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

This time though it was special. I saw the inverted, surreal shadow of the temple Gopuram cast upon the inner walls of the temple chamber-the architectural amazement is an evidence of the scientific understanding of the people of that time.

Find out more about Virupaksha temple and how to reach there.

Lakshmi Narasimha and Badavilinga Temple

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul
Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

Our auto zoomed up to the top of the Hemkunta hills and dropped us right outside the compound of the Narasimha and the Shivalinga. The monolithic stone sculpture and one of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, the Narasimha is a half-lion and half-man.

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

Adjacent to it, quarterly immersed in the water is the Badavilinga templea 3-metres long, monolithic Shivalinga. The temple priest was an old man bent double with age and ailment, yet staunchly dedicated to taking care of the sanctum.

Zenana Enclosure and Elephant's Stable

We arrived at Zenana enclosure, thirsty and tired.

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

Note: Don't forget to carry water bottles and caps with you.

This is where you halt to catch your breath after a long excursion. The shade in the well-maintained gardens of Zenana Enclosure was a relief from the scorching sun.

Lotus Mahal

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul
Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

A fortified place for the Queens of the Vijayanagar empire held many beautiful stone structures that were damaged by the Mughals attackers. The ruins can still be seen. Out of those, Lotus Mahal stands as the sole attraction, that takes us back in time.

There was a will, there wasn't a way - to the top of this watchtower

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

I had this urge to climb up one of the dilapidated watchtowers and I stayed out of the enclosure in search of the doorway, towards a pile of rubble. Before I could find one, a local lady appeared out of nowhere and asked me to not venture out of the enclosure. Reluctantly, I abided by her stringent warnings.

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

Elephant Stables

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

The Elephant Stable is a fun place to be, maybe not for the elephants then. A vast ground spread before the multiple chambers that you could run across like somebody gifted you 'freedom'!

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

The Royal Enclosure

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

Ever wondered how a king would feel looking at his gigantic kingdom? Climb up the steps of the architectures of the Royal Enclosure and discover for yourself!

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

The remnants of the vast Royal complex, spread over 59,000 square metres, included Bukka's aqueduct (towards the extreme left). It was an advanced network of stone pipes that connected various wells and ponds across the empire.

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

Intricate moulding on the Mahanavami Dibba (6 meters high) depict everyday lives of the people of Vijayanagar

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

The stepped tank at the Royal Enclosure

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

Don't miss out the underground tunnels and chambers present in the Royal Complex where, it is believed, the king held the most crucial discussions with his trusted aids.

Imagine the time and effort it would have taken to carve and mould these granite stones!

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

Vitthala Temple

The Vittala temple is the most ornate and the most visited architectural monuments at Hampi. It will take you close to an hour to completely absorb the essence of this place. It is here that you will find the famous Chariot temple and various Mantapas that boast of Vijayanagara's architectural excellence.

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul
Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

The Ranga Mantapa constitutes 56 musical pillars that emanate sounds attributed to the 'SaReGaMa' musical notes when tapped gently - although doing that is prohibited due to the damage it caused to the pillars.

Find out more about Vittala temple.

4: Quiet Nights

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

This tiny town embraces the silence of the night. There is nothing like witnessing a quiet, moonlit countryside.

The boulders stood before us like sentries and I couldn't stop admiring the stillness that engulfed them. On a new moon day, the night sky is lit with stars that you can't resist looking at unless other indulgences keep you busy.

5. Ginger Honey Tea and Bhajji

Out of the umpteen options on the menu of Bobby Guesthouse we got addicted to their Ginger Honey tea that got us completely inebriated with its taste and tanginess-a must try at the guesthouse. Additionally, when you are in Hampi, don't forget to eat bhajji from the local stalls near Virupaksha temple.

For our gang of five, an overindulgence in ginger honey tea and a hearty laugh over UNO (the card game) made our day at Hampi.

GALLERY

Read more about my adventures at 2 Little Moments

Make a face, but always listen to your photographers

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

Lunger 1 to Langur 2, "Did anybody see Mr Nandi? He was right here!"

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

Nobody would have enjoyed the day looking at the Tungabhadra the way he did.

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

Way to Vittala previously known as Hampi bazar

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

You can find Shiva in the most unexpected places

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul

Well, we were smiling back at the Sun!

Photo of 5 Reasons to Never Say No to the Hampi Plan by Sheeba Kaul
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