Hampi is an ineffable beauty , the more you explore the more you get enchanted by the mystery that wraps this place in a sepulchral silence of an era that was once .
The town of Hampi is located on the ruins of Vijayanagara and was once the capital of the empire. The whole landscape is strewn with precariously stacked up boulders after boulders interspersed with serene & calmly flowing Tungabhadra river and bright green paddy fields on one side. The whole town is nothing but miles & miles of surreal architecture ruins of temples telling a story of its own. Hampi is frozen in time , it feels like you have entered a time machine and landed into an another era. It is unbelievably beautiful and nothing like any place in India.
How to Get here?
If you are driving from Bangalore, then take the Chikkaballapur-Anantapur- Bellary route. The drive is scenic with excellent roads and some beautiful wind farms on the way. Alternatively, you can take a bus till hospet and then hire a local auto to reach hampi.
What to do in Hampi?
There are two sides to the town - Hampi bazaar & the Hippie Island for which you have to cross the river as there is no bridge connecting the two sides. We stayed at Hippie Island and had to cross over to Hampi Bazaar for the temples sightseeing as all the architecture ruins are on the Hampi Bazaar side.
As we arrived by late afternoon at our guesthouse, we decided to explore the Hippie Island and relax at one of the many cafes dotting the area. The Hippie Island is concentrated in a semi circular patch of land flocked by the paddy fields and enormous boulders visible in the distance. Sitting at one of the cafes , watching the locals going back from the day's work at the fields and enjoying the sun go down over the distant mountains, it was as mesmerizing as it could be.
Once you cross over to the main Hampi Bazaar, you will see the temple ruins almost in every nook & corner. Start off with the must visit sites - The Virupaksha Temple , which is on the banks of the river and visible from across the Hippie Island, it hold a very important place in the Hindu mythology as Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were married here and it is also the only temple where the idols were not destroyed by the Deccan invaders. In December, it is swarming with pilgrims from across South India.
The Vitthala Temple - is the highlight among Hampi's temple architecture and also the most extravagant wonder. It is a huge complex with elaborate and intricate sculpture work along with engravings in Kannada on the entry doors of temples. The Famous stone chariot is also in the same temple complex and is as fascinating as seen in many a pictures before. You will need few hours to properly explore this temple and will advise hiring the local guide.
The Lotus Mahal , Elephant Stables, Ranganath Temple , The Lakshmi Narasimha Temple , Queens Bath are few other sites that we could cover. Since there are so many sites and there is a lot of walking around to do, it is not possible to cover all the temples.
Anegundi & Anjaneya Temples
On the outskirts of the Hippie Island is a small village of Anegundi which again is home to many UNESCO heritage sites. Hampi is believed to be erstwhile empire of Hanuman in Ramayana- Kishkinda Nagar. The Hanuman Temple on the top of Anjaneya Hill is said to be the birth place of Hanuman. You have to climb 600 steps to reach at the top but the view is breathtaking. Make sure you go at the time of sunset :)