Ever thought of a few places we’ve read in the books, forgotten and less famous while planning a trip ? Through this post Kindleandkompass makes an attempt to take you to one of such places in India – “Hampi” – the ancient city with boulders and temples at every corner. One of the most picturesque destinations in Karnataka that proves not just mountains and beaches are beautiful.
Here is a brief note on the history of Hampi, taken from the Wikipedia.
Hampi, located in the Northern Karnataka, India , was the Capital city of the Vijayanagr Empire during the 14-16th Century. Hampi was chosen as the capital city because of its strategic location, bounded by the torrential Tungabhadra river on one side and surrounded by defensible hills on the other three sides .Hampi is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi.
Here’s what that makes Hampi much more than an archaeological site.
Beauty in the ruins – Do you see beauty in the ruins ? Then Hampi is your go-to place. You will see millennia old ruins spilled all over the village. Every rock will have a story to narrate. The withering temple shrine will have secrets to share with you.
Un-wind & de-stress – Hampi is where you can feel totally undisturbed, unlike other tourist spots. You can choose to spend time sitting on the banks of the river Tungabhadra, take a coracle ride across the river, get lost among the rocks or unwind yourself in a hammock under the tress with a book and day dream in absolute tranquility. How does it sound ?
Walk, ride and explore – The beauty of Hampi can be explored best by walking or by hiring a cycle. If you don’t mind doing long walks/rides, you are going to experience the best of this place. The roads are in good condition with proper signage, totally traveler friendly. For those who prefer comfort, you get auto-ricks and private vehicles to hire and tour around. Charges may vary from Rs 800 – 3000 per day.
Monuments of architectural significance – Hampi is a heaven for people eyeing for details and archaeological splendors. The stone chariot at the Vittal temple complex is truly an iconic structure. The queen’s bath, the stepped tank, the Lotus Mahal, the royal enclosure and the list keeps going. You can spend hours admiring the architecture and not have enough pictures clicked.
Mix of cultural potpourri – Travelling is incomplete when you do not meet different kinds of people. Hampi is where you can find a sadhu resting under the shades of a monument, easily engaging in a conversation with you, the locals speaking fluent English & Hindi along with the 3 other south Indian languages,travelers from different countries and culture, free-spirited, nature lovers, adventure seekers.
Back to the basics – One cannot expect luxurious, 5 starry accommodations in Hampi. The bare minimal essentials will be available. It’s the kind of place that will take you back to the basics. Accept and appreciate the rustic life. Enjoy the unsophisticated-ness, the life of a backpackers and the free-spirited.
How to reach –Hosepet is the base. Fly up to Bangalore/Hubli and hire a private vehicle to reach Hosepet. The national highways NH48 & NH75 from Hosepet-Bangalore with boulders on both the sides of the road with windmills spinning is a treat. There are only a few good restaurants and a few small dhabas. Buses ply between Bangalore-Hampi, Chennai-Hampi.
Where to stay – There are few accommodations located close to the monuments(around Kamalapur) and plenty of home-stays and resorts along the banks of River Tunghabadra and the paddy fields.Choice is yours. Mayura Bhuwaneshwari, Clark’s Inn, Kishkindha Heritage Resort are a few we’d recommend.
Where to shop – The Hampi Bazar area (next to the Virupaksha temple) bustles with trinket shops to buy souvenirs and things bohemian. Do check the Mango tree restaurant near the Bazar area, for their yummy food and the super cool ambiance.
Things to carry – A map of Hampi is a must. We took one from here. Cameras with fully charged batteries and an extra storage card. Hampi is usually hot and dry. So, remember to carry your umbrella/hat, sunshades, water bottles. Wear easy- breezy clothes, sturdy and comfortable shoes as you’d be doing a lot of walking. A stroller, if you have an infant. And do not forget to splash on that sun-screen generously!
Best time to visit – The best season to visit Hampi would be from October – February. Hampi Utsav, a 3 days carnival celebrated during the first week of November, highlighting the glorious past of the country is something not to be missed.
Unlike other tourist places, Hampi cannot be considered done in just a day and marked off from your wish-list. It’s an experience, Hampi-ness, to feel the beauty, stillness, freedom and the magic will be cast on you. The rocks there live, breathe and speaks our history and heritage.
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