I have always enjoyed stories, especially the ones with a touch of magic and mystery and as a child, I remember bawling my eyes out till I got the books that told these stories. So, when I announced to my parents that I was going to visit Hampi- a tiny and magical boulder strewn landscape frozen in time interspersed with bright emerald paddy fields and shining waters that could give the Flinstones a serious run for their money, and boasting of a rustic grandeur that has endured the sands of time with remarkable elegance- it didn't come as a surprise to them.
Situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra river in the southern state of Karnataka, Hampi, a UNESCO world heritage site, happens to be an ancient village, that was once the rich and bustling capital of Vijayanagar empire, back in 14 th century AD, until it was razed by the Deccan Muslim sultanates in the latter half of 16 th century, leaving ruins that have survived till this day to tell the tale of the town's legends from the days of yore. The mythical grandiose of Hampi, however goes way back as it finds its mention in the Hindu epic, Ramayana, as Kishkinda, the land where Lord Rama met Hanuman for the first time and cemented a bond whose praises will be sung till eternity. Today, Hampi serves as a portal that lets you travel in time through India's extremely rich and diverse history.
A phone with no network coverage, a series of miscommunications, a seriously scary auto-ride in a mad dash to get on the bus that had already left, and a few other misfortunes that always seem to accompany me later, my trip finally began and despite the day's crazy events, I couldn't be more excited. My friend and I stayed up all night planning it out till we finally saw the rising sun peeking through the hills as we caught the first glimpse of Hampi and trust me, no blog or picture available on the internet can prepare you for the breathtaking vistas that greet your sight- narrow labyrinthine pathways surrounded by gigantic boulders balancing precariously on top of one another and yet seeming to offer a surprisingly unwavering stability, juxtaposed between golden paddy fields, tall palm trees and the glistening waters of Tungbhadra, with ancient temples towering above them all. It's just surreal.