Hampi – Where history and free spirits coexist!

Hampi


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I always used to get fascinated by Hampi when ever I used to come across the pictures of larger than life boulders, the scattered remnants, the majestic temples, the splendid river and the glorious sunsets. But until I did my research for planning my travel to Hampi – a UNESCO heritage site, little did I know that there’s altogether another world within this small town of heritage and traditions. Now, I was even more floored by this destination which has turned itself upside down in centuries.

Virupaksha Temple, Hampi

Another long weekend and we zoomed our car on Karnataka’s buttery highways to reach Hospet ( the closest city to Hampi with a good number of hotels). We decided to keep our base at Hotel Malligi to explore Hampi for next 3 days. Although being a backpacker’s paradise, Hampi offers a lot of hostels and guesthouses for one to experience Hampi from close.

As we set off to explore Hampi, I spotted a westerner sporting a T-shirt with the quote “Don’t worry, be Hampi”. I suppressed that sly smile on my face and it’s when I knew something not so ordinary is in store. We had entered from the village side of Hampi while there is another way of entering this ancient town from across the river.

Also read – A story of a ghost town – Dhanushkodi

While walking towards Virupaksha temple, we were mobbed by guides and sellers but instead of walking faster to avoid them, I kept oscillating my eyes at them with my mouth wide open at their westernized accent and phenomenal command over English. I wondered if I have gotten really late in visiting this part of my country. I was blown over by what my eyes just saw in this small South Indian town. But then reality stuck hard when I entered the temple and saw decked up (even in that sultry weather) Indian folks taking a tour of the temple.

Virupaksha Temple, hampi

Virupaksha Temple, hampi

Virupaksha Temple, hampi
Elephant Lakshmi at Virupaksha Temple, Hampi

The guide (whose services we finally agreed on) unveiled the significance of Virupaksha temple to us. It is where Hindu god Shiva and Parvati got married. There are so many hidden spots inside the temple which we would have easily missed if our guide wouldn’t have shown us around. The inverted image of the temple’s gopuram, unusual underground temple and many stories around the temple were explained to us by him.

We walked till Hampi Bazaar to find nothing like Bazaar (market). It was a vast piece of land surrounded by boulders and the remains of the bazaar which added wilderness to my thoughts. Imagine a bustling market area of an important town of a kingdom is left barren and aloof from the advancements of the world.

Hampi Bazaar

Hampi Bazaar

Having heard of the famous stone chariot which used to move in yester years, the urge to know more about it got satiated upon stepping inside the other famous temple of Hampi, called Vittala temple. The temple which never got completed still boasts of the most descriptive, elaborate and stunning architecture. Our guide also revealed the stories around the ornate pillars which can play music.

Stone Chariot, Vittala temple, hampi

Musical pillars, Vittala temple, hampi

After soaking so much history and traditional vibe of the village, we retired for the day only to start the next day in other part of Hampi.

A hearty breakfast and we set off to explore the world of free spirits in this ancient town of Hampi. To enter that world, we had to cross Tungabhadra river in a boat which only runs from sunrise to sunset. The aura of this side was strikingly different and before we could get the hang of the place, we were subtly offered a thing. Still trying to gasp the vibe of the area, we walked hurriedly.

Hampi

We hired a motorbike to explore the untouched countryside dotted with swaying lush green rice fields. We kept driving in whichever direction we felt like and halted near a large man-made lake. Some people were adventurous enough to try cliff jumping there even when there were crocodile warning signs.

Hampi

Hampi

 

Hampi

Hampi

Hampi

Hampi

Hampi

We climbed around 500 stairs at Anegundi Hill to the Hanuman temple. It surely looked like a monkey kingdom where monkeys didn’t leave us alone even for a while. The temple has preserved the rocks from Ram setu and are displayed at the temple. People usually stay back to watch the sunset over this hill-top but it was only afternoon, so we decided to chill in one of the quirky cafes overlooking the river.

Hanuman Temple, Anegundi Hill, hampi

Hanuman Temple, Anegundi Hill, hampi

Hanuman Temple, Anegundi Hill, hampi

The vibe of the cafes didn’t belong to the Hampi I had seen the day before. With peppy music, the counter-culture had taken over the free and high spirits who were chilling in their own zone right across the heritage, traditions and history of the town which was once the center of Vijayanagara, capital of one of the famed Hindu empires of South India. That’s the magic I believe of Hampi! We relaxed in one of the cafes for a while before taking the boat to the other side.

We climbed up the hill next to Virupaksha temple just in time to relish the views when sun scattered all its amalgamated shades on a huge grey canvas of sky. The view couldn’t be more magical with coconut trees and temple’s gopuram adding to the charm of this psychedelic landscape.

Hampi

Hampi

Hampi

Hampi

Virupkasha temple, hampi

Virupkasha temple, hampi

Next day we started with a stroll along the river with huge boulders all around till my eyes could stretch. The trail led to a few small temples. The touristy coracle ride among the ruins and sun-baked boulders pulled me too.

Hampi

Hampi

Hampi

Hampi

Hampi

The rest of the day we spent exploring other historical sites like Lotus Mahal, the Queens bath, Ganesha statues and Lakshmi Narsimha statue (carved out of a single boulder) on Hemakuta hill.

On my way back to Bengaluru, I wondered how the old quaint town of Hampi would be! All I saw was the town which was once India’s richest and used to attract foreign traders has now turned into a town of boulders and ruins. Although a town in ruins, yet a happy town with laid back and chill vibes!

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Hampi

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26 Replies to “Hampi – Where history and free spirits coexist!”

  1. its fantastic beautiful place

  2. Great write up with beautiful pictures! Despite having lived in Bangalore for a number of years have somehow missed out on Hampi, it’s high time I make that trip!

  3. I have a similar reaction to photos from Hampi, I usually stare in amazement! This is one location that I would love to visit when in that part of the world. I’m fascinated by the Virupaksha temple decoration and details. It was interesting to read about the significance of the building and the story behind it, thanks.
    “Don’t worry, be Hampi”? Hehehe, it made me laugh too. Nice one! 🙂

  4. Beautiful, isn’t it! Have always wanted to visit Hampi…

  5. The stone chariot is phenomenal. We would most certainly employ a guide and be richer for it. We know so little about the history of the Hindu religion that the significance of the experience would surely be lost on us without a knowledgeable guide. It sounds like they are true professionals and would take the time to explain the history. Hampi looks like an amazing place.

  6. I never heard of Hampi before but as you say there is a lot to discover here. The temples are absolutely stunning and beautiful and I think you did well picking a tour guide who could explain so many hidden things around the temple area. What I liked even better was following your trip down Tungabhadra River. The boulders looks so magical, and the way the temples fit in with the landscape is just wonderful. You captured the beauty of the area very well, thanks for taking me along.
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  7. “Don’t worry, be Hampi!” Love it! This is going on my India bucket list. I would love to explore and see all the temples, from the big Virupaksha temple to the smaller ones hidden between the boulders. BTW: The monkey family is the cutest!

  8. Wow! I can’t believe how beautiful the architecture of Hampi is! Beautfiul photos! How was the motorbike ride? I wish to also see what you had to eat in the cafes! <3 Please share!

  9. Hampi looks beautiful! This is exactly the kind of place I’d like to explore if I ever visit India. I’m just not in to the overcrowded cities. Exploring the ruined temples and hiking around those boulders is right up my alley. Why is the elephant there, though?

  10. Wow! Hampi seems so outstanding and remarkable, Saakshi! It looks like there is lots to discover there. How many days would you recommend staying there?

  11. Badhiya!! Hampi is undoubtedly one of my most favorite places <3

    1. saakshimaheshwari says: Reply

      Meri bhi 🙂 Thanks a ton

  12. Haha I love the “Don’t worry, be Hampi”. I can see why the region has been classified as UNESCO – seems to be so much important heritage. Virupaksha temple is quite the building! Hampi Baazar looks quite Roman actually.

    As adventurous as I claim to be, I think I would pass on the cliff jumping into crocodile infested waters lol!! I would definitely spend time with the monkeys though. Your photos of sunset are stunning 🙂

    1. saakshimaheshwari says: Reply

      Thanks Meg for reading it through.

  13. What a nice place! I think I prefer the other side of the river that you can reach by boat. And I took good note on hiring a local guide to learn about all the secrets that Hampi has to offer. Good that you finally could visit Hampi and got the most out of it 🙂

  14. Hampi sounds unbelievably charming. I am totally with you on hiring local guides. You get so many interesting facts. I would definitely take a hard pass on jumping into the crocodile waters! I can’t believe people actually do that! I think Hampi might need to be added to my upcoming itinerary for India!

  15. That’s amazing! I actually hadn’t heard of Hampi before. However, I can totally see why you’d be so excited to visit if you’ve seen so many photos…and it’s right before your eyes! I would really like to go here – I’ll add it to my bucket list!

  16. I’ve never heard of Hampi before, but you convinced me it is so worth it to go visit. Your photos are amazing and the history of this Unesco site is so fascinating. Thanks a lot!

  17. Wow! Hampi is a place I totally fell in love with. Its just stunning to see how the once prosperous capital is now in ruins! Its a bit eerie infact! Good to know that you didn’t miss the inverted image of the gopuram.

  18. Blair villanueva says: Reply

    I can’t believe every details of this majestic temple. Its so gorgeous and nothing to compare with. You are so lucky to experience it!

  19. When I visit India again, I would love to add Hampi to my never-ending list of places to explore.

  20. I am dreaming about Hampi since my friend told me about this place, after reading your post is even more firmly on my bucket list 🙂

  21. It looks like a very beautiful place to visit. The rock formations, landscapes and intricate details of the structures are very impressive. Your photos are very captivating too. 🙂

  22. Hampi is one place that is JINXED for me! Have been wanting to go since forever and whenever I plan I have to call it off. The place intrigues me so much for its wonderful history, the gorgeous natural beauty, the architecture, the stories and the mythology!! Hopefully one day! Did you visit Badami too? You have some great captures!

  23. This is an amazing piece on Hampi. I so want to visit it and get lost in the history. The sculptures and carvings look so intricate. Loved your pictures and a great writeup too.

  24. It’s always great to visit a place with so much to offer. I always find it interesting whenever I get the chance to traipse my feet in a historical place just like Hampi. I haven’t heard about this place, and I will surely penned this on my bucket list. I would love to amble around the beautiful temples. Thank you so much for sharing!

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