Once the capital of the “City of Victory”, ruins of the city-Hampi are strikingly and eerily beautiful. Surrounded by stark rocky ridges, the city lies on the banks of river Tungabhadra. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hampi’s 33km area is scattered with ruins and exacavations. The vast spaces are silent but the ruins are eloquent.
As the capital of the Vijayanagara Kingdom, it was the seat of an empire that covered most of the peninsular India.In all 23 kings from four dynasties ruled here for over 2000 years. Krishnadeva Raya and Achuyta Raya, were its most famous monarchs. The Vijayanagara empire was outdone in a war in 1565. Hampi was ransacked and destroyed completely.
TIP: If you don’t have a feel for History, you may get bored-no pubs, no non-veg restaurants, no shopping!!
Things to do and see-
There are hundreds of ruins; the important ones are grouped into Sacred centre and Royal centre. It may be worthwhile to take the guided tour run by Karnataka Tourism (KSTDC). Be prepared for some amount of walking even if you hire a car or take the guided tour.
Sacred centre – The sacred centre of hampi on the riverside comprises of ancient temples such as Virupaksha Temple as well as some dedicated to Vittala and Raghunatha. Virupaksha temple is dedicate to goddess Pampa,the local mother goddess.The Virupaksha Temple Is a lovely place with musical pillars and halls.Narsimha monolith, carved out of single rock ,is a mesmerizing experience.
The Royal centre – it has zenanas and baths, also the Hazara Rama temple meant for royal worship.Mahanavami dibba , an impressive and massive platform has been speculated to have been a Throne Room or Audience room of some kind used for Royal Ceremonies.Also don’t miss out the Kamla mahal and the grand elephants stable,which are remarkably in good profile.Watch out for bouldering-hampi is a hotspot. The main hangout is Goan corner. Visit the website canpirra.com for more details on bouldering in Hampi.
When to go : Dec-Feb is best. June-aug, monsoon can be beautiful.
Getting there: Air- nearest airport Hubli (162 km/41 1/2hrs) connected to Bengaluru, Mumbai and Hyderabad and to Delhi via these cities. Rail-nearest railhead Hospet (13km) connected to Bengaluru.