Hampi is a heritage site in the state of Karnataka with a great historical importance. Though not much of the old city is left in the current era, the ruins are still there which tell us a lot about the history and architecture of the old times.
It was an overnight journey from Hyderabad to Hospet and then a very short bus ride to reach Hampi. Not a hard journey, except when you get the last seat over the tire in a smelly bus ;).
Reached Hampi by early morning. Quite a small town it was. Accommodation was kind of different here unlike other places I have seen. Lot of home stays and guest houses which the local’s run in their homes. I hardly saw a hotel over there. Got into one of the guest houses, freshened up and hit the Tungabhadra river bank for a quick dip.
The bank was like most of the holy river banks in India where people who visited the temples were having a holy dip. Not quite a natural water setting, so I was content with keeping my feet in the water and watching the river. The Hampi temple elephant Lakshmi was having the bath, some fishermen were catching fish in the round thatched boats, people were offering prayers to the river and others were having bath. A nice setting though.
After hearing the stomach growling, realized that it was time to give the tummy some food. Hampi is filled up with small road side hotels which are run by the locals which serve everything from Italian to their local food. Yep, you heard me right! Italian !. Hampi is filled up with foreign tourists and somehow the town has been adjusted to suit the overflowing non-Indian travelers. This was one of the places in India where I guess there were as many foreign tourists as there are Indian. Never saw so many foreigners staying in an Indian town on this scale. We settled for some local food which was amazingly tasty especially this dish caled Ponganalu. Can easily gulp down 2 to 3 plates of food.
Now that the tummy was full it was time to explore the place. Hampi is a small place and it can be seen either on foot, cycles or Moped. We settled for cycles and rented some. We took a tour guide to lead us.
We started with the main Virupaksha Temple followed by Hampi Bazaar, Monolith Bull, Hemakuta Hill temples, Big Shivlinga, Hazara Rama Temple, Royal Enclosures, Queen’s Bath.. Most of the city has been destroyed by the Muslim rulers during the war. Most of the idols in the temples have been cut off so that there would be no prayers offered to such idols. Its quite easy to move around. We just can take a map and go from one place to another as they all placed one after the another.
It was a hot day and cycling in the sun was quite exhausting..phew! At some point had to stop cycling and push our bikes along. Sipping coconuts, eating sugarcane from the fields, cycling among the banana fields, on the dusty muddy roads was quite a experience in itself.
Unfortunately most of our cycles had flat tires by end of the day from cycling on the rocks. After an exhausting day dinner and sitting along side the Tungabadra river in the moonlight was re-freshning.
What a day, never was so exhausted in recent times!! Literally fell on the bed and dozed off. And within a few hours I woke up to people banging on our doors. It was 4 AM..god forbidden villains of my beautiful sleep ;)..it was time for our early morning trek to Matunga hill to see the sun rise…sigh..even sun was sleeping and we dragged ourself’s out of our beds. We started off to climb the hills to get a good view of the sunrise which is quite famous in Hampi. Instead of taking the steps we took the rocky side of the hill and did some climbing. Once we reached the top, rested for sometime and waited for the sun to rise along with some monkeys which came along to join us. It was quite a nice view.
The plan for that day was to see Vittala temple and to go to a Daroji bear sanctuary near Hampi. From the exhaustion of cycling the previous day, we opted to take mopeds this time. The Vittala musical temple which was built in like 15 century AD had a impressive structure. Its quite famous for the stone chariot it holds. One main attraction this temple has are the musical pillars which when tapped gives out musical sounds. We then took a break for lunch and started off to the bear sanctuary which is near by. We had to go through the villages, green fields to reach there. We did not get a chance to see any bears from nearby though. There were 2 bears like a kilometer away looking like a tiny spec of dust and that all the view we got :). But the ride was a nice one, esp when you have a good rider :).
We then returned back to Hampi, said our bye bye to the beautiful town and started back to Hospet from which we took a bus to Hyderabad.