How would you feel when surreal & mysterious ruins cradled in a rustic landscape, whisper the fables of grandeur and glory in your ears? This is precisely how Hampi intoxicates you with its charm & magnificence. A small village nestled amidst giant boulders in Northern Karnataka,Hampi is an enchantress reciting its own anecdotes bound to leave you in contemplation. It is an ode to the legacy of the Vijayanagara Empire.
Having parted with the razzmatazz of Bangalore; we drove for 7 hours & reached Hospet when amber colored glow was still sweeping away the twinkling studs.While we drove further into the town, the sun gradually began toilluminate the architectural marvels leaving us spellbound. We reached the Hampi bus station and hunted for an accommodation, eventually settling for Archana Lodge. After freshening up, armed with guidebooks and cameras, we started off our expedition.
Zigzagging along the boulders, we first explored the Vittala temple complex renowned for its exquisite craftsmanship. The main attraction is the Stone Chariot, adorning the temple courtyard. The mammoth structure has floral motifs and intricate depiction of battle scenes,coupled with four giant stone wheels ! Another attraction is the Ranga Mantapa, known for its musical pillars. Its ceiling is embellished with an elaborate lotus and various animals and deities.
We then moved to explore the royal enclosure, first stoppage being the Mahanavmi Dibba, which was constructed by the mighty emperor Krishnadeva Raya, to celebrate his triumph over Gajapati rulers. It was used by the king to witness religious processions and royal ceremonies.You can still see inscriptions engraved in the stone slabs near the structure.
Next destination was a fortified settlement known as Zenana Mahal, for the royal ladies. This sprawling green complex has an impressive Kamal Mahal, a two storied building with a lotus shaped dome. After this, we marched to the Virupaksha temple, one of the most sacrosanct complex in Hampi. Unlike other ruins, it is an important pilgrimage center and adobe of Pampa Devi, the goddess from which Hampi probably derives its name. It epitomizes the evolution of a religious tradition parallel to historical eccentricities.
Our final milestone was Matunga Hill, the highest point in Hampi, to witness the sunset. As the clouds enveloped the sun, the shuttering sounds of camera overpowered the location. After a while, we traced our way back to the hotel feeling satiated by what Hampi offered us.