It has been a while I haven’t updated my travel dairy. But I somehow feel I should pen down the memories of my travel to Hampi.
Hampi was in my wishlist from the time I started exploring southern India. 2016 was high time I get that checked. With not much of thoughts me and my friend decided to explore Hampi.. An UNESCO world heritage site in India.
Hampi is an ancient village in the south Indian state of Karnataka. It’s dotted with numerous ruined temple complexes from the Vijayanagara Empire.The ruins are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also, it is believed that Hampi in its earlier avatar of thousands of years ago (roughly at around 4,000 B.C.) was the city of Kishkinda. As many of you would know, Sugriva and his brother Bali (the monkey men in Ramayan) were the rulers of this city. Hanuman is also believed to have been born at this place itself.
Hampi is famous for the rugged topology and natural granite rocks, green palm groves, banana plantations and paddy fields that lay scattered around the archaeological ruins. It is majorly a tourist attraction now. The tourist season peaks at around October-December.
Hampi is close to 400km from Bangalore city and it took us overnight (8 hrs almost) by bus from both the directions to reach the destinations. Upon reaching we found that 15th October is celebrated as Balmiki Diwas in Hampi. A rowdy bike rally hovering through the city as a part of the celebration.
The ruins of Hampi have been classified into 2 groups – Royal Center and Sacred Center. Also, there are a few sites on the other side of the river – they are mostly related associated with Ramayan and were already there before the Vijaynagar era.
Let me now talk about our travel experience. I believe 2 days is enough to explore and relax in Hampi. However, Hampi is such an wonderful place that everyone will definitely feel like lingering for a while and I can bet on that. We were advised to stay on the river side. Sai Plaza was our resort. Brilliantly located next to the river on a hill.. The view is one of the best thing that we enjoyed.
Day 1 : We went for a bike ride along the other side of the river… Visiting the Hanuman Temple, the Durga Temple and the lakshmi Temple. To reach the hanuman temple we had to ride almost 575 stairs, unfortunately neither of us could. We gave up after 350 steps.
On the way we came across the beautiful clean Sanapur lake. It was exotic beautiful but hot. The lake is clean, untouched and offers some stunning views. We can have a bath in the lake or can jump from the cliffs. The view is amazing and so is the road leading to the lake. People sit in a coracle and just relax and sail across the lake. A must visit.
We came back to the resort in the evening and had tantalizing lunch. The resort had an Wonderful place to sit, relax and have good food. The staffs of the resort were quite humble and welcoming. We had some wonderful food there for the entire evening. Sat there for a while and then dozed off. We had a scheduled day 2 ahead.
Day 2 : Well, apart from your own vehicle (car/bike) the best option to move around the Hampi city is Auto. We hired one and for the whole day we were charged 1000/-. We started our journey with Hemkuta hill, which though isn’t shown on the map, but it’s right at the Bus stand. The first monument we covered was the temple of Kadalekalu Ganesh. The Ganesh shrine there is shaped like an unsplit Bengal gram seed. Below is the view of the Hemkuta hill, you’d come across several smaller temples like the one in the picture scattered across the hill slopes of the hill. We also have the sunset point on the same hills.
Next destination was the Krishna Temple which was built by the emperor Krishnadevaraya after military campaigns in Odisha. The carvings had intricate patterns and a part of the temple is currently under restoration. The 20+ feet high temple gate was a monolith. Below is the top of the structure at temple entrance, and shots of the pillars at the main temple complex. This temple was abandoned since the fall of Vijayanagara and there is no active worship today.
Right opposite to the Krishna Temple is the ruins of Hampi bazar. This bazar has been excavated through the last decade, and restoration work is still in progress. This bazar used to sell vegetables, puja offerings and other daily life items such as spices. Krishna Temple Bazaar was close to 500m long twin pillared enclosures made of stone for the vendors about 30m apart.
It is very important that we hydrate ourselves at regular intervals in Hampi. Its hot in any time of the year.
Now we moved on to the underground Shiv Temple. It is at the beginning of the Royal enclosure and has quarters for noblemen and travelers next to it. It was mostly built as a temple for the visitors.
Moving to the main buildings of the Royal Enclosure. The first building we come across there is Lotus Palace which was meant for the queen. The palace is located right next to the King’s palace but that’s in complete ruins now. The structures at royal enclosure are built in Indo-Islamic style of architecture, so in all probability they were built in or after 15th century. Then comes the Royal Elephants stable. One among the few least destroyed structures in Hampi, Elephant Stable is a major tourist attraction.This long building with a row of domed chambers was used to ‘park’ the royal elephants.
We also covered Hazara Ram temple, Mahanavami Dibba, Stepped tanks and the Queen’s bath on our way back.
It was afternoon and the terribly scorching sun could not even reduce our zeal to explore more. Now we headed towards Vitala Temple. The road leading to the temple was once a market where the horses were traded. Even today we can see the ruins of the market on both the sides of the road. The temple contains the images of foreigners like Persians selling horses, like the one below. We saw horses grazing in the sun.
The iconic Vitala temple has amazing stone structures such as the incomparable stone chariot and the fascinating musical pillars. This predominant monument of Hampi is a major attraction of the ruined town and is a must-see for visitors and tourists.
On the way back to the resort before leaving Hampi, we had another to visit the most sacred among all.. Virupaksha Temple. It is magnificent and huge. Could not explore the temple more at it was dark already. However I have some snaps captured there(photography is prohibited).
We had great time at Hampi, a lot to relax and explore. A must visit place for all travel enthusiast I feel…it’s amazing !! Another perfect weekend gateway !!