Welcome to Hampi, City of Sculptures and Boulders - Travelogue
My next travel destination is well known for his wonderful sculptures and antique art of the stone that is Hampi, a very popular for its ruins history and the erstwhile capital of Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th century. By geography location of this place in northern Karnataka that is around 13 KM away from Hospeth which is nearest railway head. Basically, Hospeth is the gateway of Hampi situated on the bank of the Tungabhadra River. Hampi has numerous prominent of Hindu God – Goddess temples for the religious stand point, few of them are still active place for worship and constructed in ancient style of architecture. This place is decorated with sculptures and handmade emboss on the rocks, which kept a specific history of Vijayanagara. Hampi name came out from “Pampa-kshetra” the ruins of Vijayanagara. There is various heart touching monuments to be most attraction of this place. This astonishing place is surrounded by gigantic rocks. These giant boulders are in different size and shapes which makes spectacular look and having a main attraction. Currently, Hampi in the list of UNESCO World Heritage site which gives an ultimate sightseeing and exploring opportunity to tourists. This place is one of the most visited tourist destination in Karnataka.
My Itinerary, Transportation and Sightseeing Details are as below;Way to Reach Hampi, Hospeth;Hampi, Hospeth well connected from Road and train this is one of the reason of fame of this place. There are plenty of options available to reach Hampi, Hospeth. As we are coming from Bangalore so it’s comparatively much economical rather than Mumbai, Goa, and Hyderabad etc. Hampi almost 370 Km from the IT city Bengluru by road and train nearest airport is in Ballary. Both the up and down journeys the train covers in the night, and that is one of the reasons for its popularity.
After arriving at Hospeth on scheduled time at 11 AM by Hospeth Passenger we took lavatory break and headed towards Hampi by public transport (Bus) which took hardly half an hour to hit that place it was around 12 PM. Someone can take direct cab facility or as per there convenience and budget for the entire tour they will pick you from the desired location and drop you the same place by evening where you can catch a return train if you are returning to Bangalore.
The last Bus stop will be Hampi bazaar where you will get off, but actually this is not a market this is a small village where you can buy handmade stone idol and enjoy a street food and lime soda water, Virupaksha Temple adjacent to this place known as one of the oldest temple. Mostly Hindu pilgrims buy a flowers, coconut, banana etc to offer Lord Shiva and Goddess Pampa. The fabulous 3 story temple just 200 meters far from the barricade placed on the way to stop the vehicles from there only. In order to enter Temple main area have to buy a 10 Rs entry ticket from the fee counter and using video camera 50 Rs which is also can be used to visit Vittala Temple later. Once entering the main gate the right side you can meet an elephant to take a smooch on head as blessings from trunk. There are lot more temple inside that place which we had visited quickly.
Luckily, today weather was pleasant and sky was clear which gives us ideal condition to visit. However, November to February is the best time to explore in order to avoid scorching heat. Mostly, all the buses go towards Hampi via Kamalapura so no need to worry any more. After reaching at Hampi firstly, we rushed to restaurant for refuelled our bodies with typical south Indian dish like boiled Rise, Sambhar, papad etc, we spent an half hour later on we came out to search for taxi to visit around all the places. After doing a tough negotiation, finally auto driver agreed to visit us top places around Hampi with his co-driver cum guide. If someone more passionate to explore the places by own they would hire a bicycle or bike on nominal rent on per day basis.
After visiting Virupaksha temple we have moved to next iconic temple called Lakshmi Narasimha and adjacent Badavilinga temple, floor is filled with water up to knee height. We spotted that old aged Priest was standing inside the Shiva Lingam temple merely wrapping a thin piece of cloth of his lower body part. I was wondering that how this person managed to get balance in the water till knee level. Anyway, we had a quick Darshan and took blessings. We had captured entire place in my SONY camera. We came out and had a nice soda water to keep our body hydrate and move forward.
One the way to underground Siva Temple we saw Sri Uddana Veerabhadra Swamy Temple. Actually, here every 500 meters there is temples to be found at Hampi, so, it’s quite challenging to cover all the places in single day, someone have to be there at least 2-3 days to cover up all places. Since next spot was Siva temple is situated below the ground level and top of that floor with the full of water and nearby grass growing. Apparently, we could not figure out where is the Shiva Idol or statue, it seems to be there inside the deep dark room, just imagine, not confident. You have to be very careful while step inside because of this slippery floor, however we had avoided to go there as seems creepy and dark, Do not take any risk as no emergencies facilities are available here, if something would have happened wrong. Definitely, how we can leave this place without taking stunning pictures, yes we, indeed.
Queen’s Bath monument was the next program, basically as the name indicates this place made for the Queen to bath ancient time artificially made swimming pool (just imagine) but not well-maintained highly required patch work in order to acquire more tourist attraction. Nevertheless, outside wide lane was pretty good.
Another spectacular place was Elephant Stable where we had visited. This ruin architect has 11 giant chambers looks like dome which basically used to park the royal Elephants of Vijyanagara Empire. From the inside it was very gloomy and spacious. These chambers are inter-connected to each other from the small doorway which is inside and high ceilings. What I feel that these doorway would have been used by Mahouts to enter and exit from one chamber to another. This whole place is surrounded by massive stone pieces wall. Do not forget to buy an Rs 10 ticket before entering this place. This stone wall looks very astonishing and provides best photo shoot opportunity. We also had captured couple of good shoots with the wall background image. Since photography is allowed here so no need to be behave like parsimoniously.
Now, we had headed towards next monument that was Lotus Mahal adjacent from Elephant Stable. Lotus Mahal also one of the ruins architectural monument at Hampi we spotted. The unique feature of Lotus Mahal its structure which looks like Lotus bud. This is made in a pyramidal form. During the ancient time people used to be relax and chit chats at this place. This place is the ideal for the photography and green large lawn add on beauty which gives most attraction.
Eventually, the movement had arrived to visit most gorgeous site called Vittala Temple which I have already been explored virtually so far, now we are goanna to see that temple in live. The most stunning stone chariot is the attractiveness of this place. This is most visited place at Hampi by the tourist and the same photograph you would have seen most of Karnataka tourist website. As far as I experienced since personal vehicle and taxies are not allowed to go till the Temple gate. Vehicles been stopped almost 2km away from the destination point. However, there are 3 types of services / options available to reach at Vittala Temple firstly you have to buy an Rs 50 ticket covered also return journey (up & down) of battery operated four wheel car but you have to wait almost 1 hr for your turn secondly boarded a bus which likely to be fully crowded and beware of pickpockets. The fare charges very nominal at Rs 30 up and down journey it’s optional. Hardly will it take 10 to 15 min to reach there and the third and last cheapest services where you no need to pay anything its absolutely FREE..FREE..FREE..Apart from sweat and physical efforts that is self-service going by a walk sound crazy right; believe me you will enjoy a lot. Just kidding, don’t worry this is optional; we experienced too much fun.
Therefore, we had decided to go by Bus and got a window seat at first attempt feeling proud as if I have conquered a battle. Anyway, most of the tourist prefers last option so that they can explore more on that way lot of ruined monuments and boulders which could be visited parallel while visiting Vittala Temple. It was around 5 Pm when we reached here. Entry fee is Rs. 10 and Rs50 for using camera. However, we had already bought a ticket from Virupaksha Temple, so no need to buy it again if you have not destroyed it. You can use the same ticket here. As soon as we entered into the temple the legendary Stone Chariot which dedicated to Lord Vishnu centrally located that shows admiration and being a centre of attraction. This is one of the most astonishing monuments across Karnataka. According to Hindu mythology chariot was the Lord Vishnu carrier. Excessive delicate carving done all over the Stone Chariot from the front views 2 elephants sculpture are positioned as if they are pulling the Lord Vishnu’s chariot. Sprawling Temple area is covered big compounds, walls, shrines and ornate crafted pillars. There is an inner small sanctum designed top of the chariot. The most interesting fact about this temple is 56 musical pillars which produce SAREGAMA sound while gently tap.
Now, it’s getting dark and we had to visit Maha Mandapa but unfortunately couldn’t because of been under constructed. Everyone is busy taking the family photos around temple from various angels. In spite of low battery warning that I had ignored I couldn’t resist myself taking couple of snaps. After wandering all over the place we were completely exhausted and just sat nearby temple’s stairway and analyzing these amazing antique stone carving like an archaeologist.
It’s was around 7 pm time to say good bye. As soon bus arrived we boarded and got off the same place. Nearby at the parking place driver was eagerly waiting. We got down at Hospet bus stand where we caught Bangalore bus and reached early morning at 5 AM.