Hampi is a heritage site in the state of Karnataka with a great historical importance. A beautiful city which speaks about the grand Vijayanagaram empire and the ruins there still 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.
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. Got into one of the guest houses, freshened up and hit the Tungabhadra river bank for a quick dip.
The water was divine and being a total water gal took me less than a minute to be in the water. A morning swim among the beautiful rocks is a great experience in itself. The water was refreshing and a great way to start the day.
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. What caught our eye was some local food which was amazingly tasty especially this dish called Guntha 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.
After all the cycling returned back to our hotels, freshened up and hit the shacks for some dinner. Hampi has some great places to have some food. The ambience is like a shack which adds to the local flavor.
After a long day 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..it was time for our early morning trek to Matunga hill to see the sun rise…..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.