The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hampi is a city located in east-central Karnataka. It became the center of the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire capital in the 14th century. According to chronicles left by Persian and European travelers, the state of Hampi was a prosperous, wealthy and grand city near the Tungabhadra River, with numerous temples. By 1500 CE, Hampi-Vijayanagara was the world’s second-largest medieval-era city after Beijing in present-day China, and probably India’s richest at that time. The Vijayanagara Empire was defeated by a coalition of Muslim sultanates; its capital was conquered, pillaged and destroyed by the sultanate armies in 1565, after which Hampi remained in ruins.
I visited Hampi while I was visiting the state of Karnataka. I was out on a family trip and Hampi was our third stop on the itinerary. The site of Hampi will transport you back to the time of dinosaurs. It will give you the vibes of Jurassic Park in real life. As if a dinosaur will come strolling out at any moment. All the delusions aside, Hampi is the best place for an archaeological junkie. Filled with ruins and historic structures all around, one can get lost in time. It will be as if you have been transported back to the times of Raja-Maharajas.
We did the following things while we were in Hampi:
- We took this water taxi ride to this other part of the river and reached Anegudi. This place is like a quieter part of the city. The tour started with a ride in a vessel made out of bamboo and floated across the reservoir. The place is famous for its hippie activities and is thus popular with westerners.
We stayed in a cottage that faced a paddy field. The place is not meant for luxury but for peace. It’s a refreshing break from the hum of the city.
2. We visited a lot of temples during our visit. Hampi is a city famous for its temples. The structures are awe-inspiring. The intricacies of the design that adorn the temples are breathtaking. We visited the Virupakshi temple. It is the oldest shrine in Hampi. The sanctum is a “Muktalinga” and the temple houses idols of Shiva and Parvati.
The unique feature of this temple was an elephant named Lakshmi. She is a part of the temple community and she blesses people with her trunk.
3. From the Virupakshi temple, we headed to the Krishna Temple and the Underground Shiva Temple. This temple for some reason had been built under the ground and remains flooded thus. The interior parts of the temple are off-limits. The Krishna Temple boasts of a beautiful Krishna Market, a place filled with beautiful ruins.
4. Next, we visited the Royal Enclosure. This is an area generally populated with the courtly and military structures. Royal Centre was the citadel of the Vijayanagara capital. Currently, many winding dirt paths connect various enclosures and other structures in this location. After going through the structure, we took rest under the shades of the Lotus Mahal. We relaxed under the shade as we sipped on coconut water.
5. One of the very unique characteristics of Hampi is that visitors can hire their own bicycles. If bicycles are not an option for you then you can hire a moped. The charges are minimal and they are fun. It is easier to roam around Hampi this way. You get to choose your own destination and your own timings. And the best of moments come out while you are traveling the local way.
6. At our last stop, we visited the local market. A family trip entails bringing back home souvenirs for relatives. So, we hit the market in the last day. The place was vibrant with color and life. We were spoilt for choices. The whole place had a hippie vibe and we had a good time there.
Hampi has a lot of hidden treasures hidden in it. It is a place to be relished and enjoyed with time in hand. If you want to relive the past and get lost in time, you should really visit Hampi.