The Lost Kingdom of Hampi, Revived Anew

This blog is essentially a Travelogue about the beautiful and ancient place of Hampi, yet it is an unusual Travelogue. Travelogues in a blog are written by personal experiences primarily. But we do not call our ourselves to be Travel Bloggers outright. We are connoisseurs of memories, of talent in every nook and corner and thus this unusual travelogue about Hampi is about experiences of people who have travelled there, captured the beauty of Hampi and are here to tell their tale.

So Coming to basics, Hampi is an old village and Temple town located in the East – Central region of Karnataka. It was the largest and richest city during the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire. The official website of Hampi Tourism is http://hampi.in/

It housed as many as 2,000 spectacular monuments and also functioned as a world centre for the ruby and diamond trade. However, during a siege in 1565 by Muslim sultans from the south of India, however, Hampi endured a lot of destruction with months of riots and looting going on, post which Hampi was abandoned and left as a destroyed and wrecked city. Whilst its power may have been crushed forever, its beauty could not be destroyed.

Many of the ruins of this old city still stand today and in 1986, Hampi has officially been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its sprawling landscape of enormous boulders, fascinating rock formations and incredible ancient palace and temple ruins make it an ideal holiday destination for every type of traveller. You can go there for a Weekend getaway or a short 3-4 day trip. But you must not miss this place. There are many resorts around this place where you can live comfortably while you explore the old ruins of the city. You can travel to Hampi by any means, Go by car or hire one. Take a bike from nearby towns in Karnataka. You can also easily go there from Bengaluru via a bus or train that go to Hampi. The nearest railway station is Hospet.

So now let us explore the main interests of Hampi and share a few travel Experiences through some of these wonderful people who have helped us put together this travelogue.

Rahul Aursang

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Hello,

Well, Traveling alone to Hampi is one of the great travelling experience of my life!
You get to know new people, make new friends. Well, even I made some. You can go where ever you want, stop where ever you wish too!
Hampi has that richness in its culture.
So, My day started by visiting the Vijay Vitthala Temple where the Stone Chariot is located. It felt so great to be at the place of the Stone Chariot which is on the Indian Currency. Later on, I headed towards the Queen’s bath, then to Pushkarani (Stepped Tank), Elephant stable. Well, after finishing these places I was damn hungry. As per I know, the hotel ‘Mango Tree’ near Virupaksha temple serves the best food with a great ambience. So I had a yummy Aloo Paratha there.
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Virupaksha Temple ©Rahul Aursang
Then after finishing my lunch, I visited Virupaksha Temple, Ugra Narasimha, Sasivekalu Ganesha and some more places near to the temple.
By 5pm I started climbing the Matanga hill for a beautiful view of Hampi and for sunset. It was stressful, though it was worth it. Once I climbed the mountain, I spent some time till sunset sitting there! Luckily there was a small boy who served tea. Had a cup of hot tea with such a view. The colours I saw in the sky were just amazing. This was the best part of the day!
And, If anyone felt like knowing themselves better! Well, he should start travelling alone.
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Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple ©Rahul Aursang

Prabhu Piru

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Hi,

I had visited Hampi from 1st September to 4th September. We start our journey which was in a car and reached Hampi in about 7 hours. The roads were good until Chitradurga after that it becomes okayish to rough.
We had previously booked a placed called Clarks Inn Hampi, the rooms were amazing there and I do recommend it to anyone visiting there!!
For the next 2 days we visited all the famous sites there, the old temple the famous half broken down temples. And I do recommend to take the guide along with you to learn about the rich heritage of that place. The guide usually takes about Rs. 200-250 but it’s worth it because he explains everything about the temple and also he explains hiding unique features in the temple !!
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Hampi 50 rupee note ©Prabhu Piru
The food over there was good but expensive so you should keep around Rs. 1000 keep just for food.
The most famous food joint there is called Mango tree and it was okay.
And then there is a place called Hampi Island aka Hippie island you can get hippie clothes and everything you want if you want to look like a hipster! And the best cafe there is called the Laughing Buddha. The view is amazing there
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Vijay Vitthala Temple ©Prabhu Piru

Vinod Khapekar

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My trip to Hampi is still vividly engraved in my memory like the intricately carved temples and other structures that have withstood the test of time. There were six of us attending the Advanced Boot camp with Chris Gomes from Goodshotz during April 6 – 8 and we took the Bangalore – Pune highway and turned towards Hospet at Chitradurga. After travelling through the landscape that is typical of rural Karnataka, I just sat mesmerized as we entered the magical world of Hampi. Tall mountains sprung up on either side and they seem to be made up of loosely arranged boulders and rocks, some of them very precariously placed with the possibility of rolling right into your path any moment. Then there were magnificent structures in granite and stone pillars arranged in neat rows and columns and spectacular temples that reminded us of the glory of the by-gone days – in short, you literally feel transported back into time and space and keep wondering about the amazing skill and craftsmanship of the people who created them 600 – 700 years back. The morning after our arrival, we climbed the Matanga Hill opposite Virupaksha temple to witness what has been one of the best sunrises that I have seen till date. While there are granite steps to help with the ascent, there are portions where it is just the sheer rock face and I could make it thanks to the help and support from rest of the group members. But then, it was worth every drop of perspiration as the view from the top was just too astounding – as the sun slowly made his climb basking the entire place in light golden rays, one could feel the connection with nature and the supreme. Later in the day, we went to Vithala temple and right from the entrance which had the broken off Gopuram, one was left awestruck at the splendid structures that were all around – including the superlative stone chariot that stood in all its grandeur. We spent the evening on the banks of the river next to Virupaksha temple and I saw several carvings of Nandi on the boulders including statues carved out of stone.
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Mesmerizing Sunset at Hampi ©Vinod Khapekar
There was a lone coracle on the river bank and with no one around to offer us a ride we missed that part – but the fantastic sunset compensated for the loss.
One good thing about Hampi is that the place is maintained very neat and clean – I guess the UNESCO Heritage Site tag must be helping in the process. Even the wayside vendor selling soft drinks/snacks gently reminded us to drop the plastic wrappers of biscuits at the designated garbage bins and not throw them on the ground. Like in any other tourist place, there were ‘guides’ and autorickshaw drivers scouting for prospective clients, but the moment we told that we were not interested they left us free. The weather was a bit too hot – a sweltering 39 Deg C, but the splendour of the place keeps you cool. Also a few words on Chris – he is an Amazing mentor and an Extremely creative individual – being on my first landscape photography trip, there were lots of things I could learn from him. The evening post-processing sessions were a gem – not having used Photoshop or any of the other advanced post-processing software till date, it was an eye-opener for me on the amazing possibilities.
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Queen’s Bath ©Vinod Khapekar

Hampi is surrounded by the Tungabhadra river around which a great many folklores are attached and which was the central means of trade for the Persian and European travellers especially the Portuguese. Hampi existed before the Vijayanagara Empire; because there is much evidence of Ashokan epigraphy. This place also held importance in the Hindu Religious Scriptures because of the  Pampaa Devi Tirtha Kshetra. Hampi continues to be an important religious centre, housing many temples, ruins and monuments of the bygone era. The relics tell us a story of the past, of its general way of living and mythology which will leave you mesmerized.

India is a goldmine for such lost and found places. The history attached to each of this place as well as the beautiful landscapes will surely make you fall in love. Go visit Hampi, it will not leave you disappointed.

Happy Sunday 🙂

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