The ruins of Hampi

Tripoto
1st Aug 2014
Photo of The ruins of Hampi by Sagnik Basu
Photo of The ruins of Hampi by Sagnik Basu
Photo of The ruins of Hampi by Sagnik Basu
Photo of The ruins of Hampi by Sagnik Basu
Photo of The ruins of Hampi by Sagnik Basu
Photo of The ruins of Hampi by Sagnik Basu
Photo of The ruins of Hampi by Sagnik Basu
Photo of The ruins of Hampi by Sagnik Basu
Photo of The ruins of Hampi by Sagnik Basu
Photo of The ruins of Hampi by Sagnik Basu

One of the greatest Hindu kingdoms in India’s history, the village has some extremely captivating ruins, intriguingly intermingled with large boulders that rear up all over the landscape. In fact, so richly steeped in history and culture is Hampi, that it has been listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The name "Hampi" is an anglicized version of the Kannada Hampe (derived from Pampa). Over the years, it has also been referred to as Vijayanagara and Virupakshapura (from Virupaksha, the patron deity of the Vijayanagara rulers). In its heydey it was a fairytale city with many temples, palaces and the most beautiful of mansions.

 You'll probably arrive at Hampi main bazaar. From there you can explore the whole area. Visit the temples or gaze at the rocky lansdscape with its winding river where you can find an alienationing sight of locals doing their laundry and then all of a sudden, in the middle of nowhere, the ruins of the World Heritage Vittala Temple Complex with its famous stone chariot, many pillars and lovely smelling jasmine trees.

Unfortunately, Hampi is lacking in quality hotels. We just needed a place for one night, so we decided to stay back at a cottage. Like always, village people were humble and kind, which made our ten hour stay more pleasant.

The sunrise and sunset over the village, viewed from atop the central Matanga Hill, are truly magical and are not to be missed. Be sure to have a comfortable pair of shoes with you as some of the ruins can only be accessed on foot and you’ll need to walk quite a distance in order to explore them. Ferry trips are must.
All in all , an incredible energy can be felt at this place. 

When on the hill, you will be living the vision of a ruler as the entire village would be under your nose and can appreciate the sheer wisdom of the Vijaynagara rulers for selecting Hampi as their capital. The best track for trekking enthusiasts is the one that begins from Hampi bazaar to the Achyutaraya temple. The picturesque sight from the top comprises the Tungabhadra River, the Kodanda Rama temple, the Veerbhadra temple and the Turthu canal. Matanga hill is historically connected to the epic Ramayana as it was the hiding place for Sugriva, the ruler of Kishkinda.
Photo of Matanga Hill, Hampi, Karnataka, India by Sagnik Basu
By entering inside the enclosure, one can see the land of Lakshmi on Narasimha's back with her fingers, nails and rings, all beautifully sculptured. At present the idol of Goddess Lakshmi has been kept at Kamalapura Museum. However, the idol of Narasimha with bulging eyes and delineated mane still attracts a majority of tourists. The idols of Lord Narasimha and Goddess Lakshmi were carved out from a single boulder. Also known as the Ugra Narasimha, the original structure had his consort Lakshmi sitting on his lap. Now only the hand of Lakshmi can be seen attached to Narasimha at the back. The statue of Lakshmi was damaged during enemy invasion.
Photo of Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, Krishnapura, Karnataka, India by Sagnik Basu
Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary I had seen sloth bears from a distance in the Western Ghats and the Nilgiris before, but when I found out about Daroji, I had the chance to see them from up close, in a sanctuary dedicated to them. The guide told us that locals believe that the name Daroji comes from the word darwaze or gates, indicating that this was a gateway to the nearby Hampi, the capital of the Vijayanagara empire, which flourished from 14th-17th centuries AD. Only misshapen boulders are strewn around. No human hand has touched these stones to mould them into the sort of mantapas I’d seen on our drive here.
Photo of Bellary district, Karnataka, India by Sagnik Basu
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