India Explored: Destination Guide: Hampi: Posted By Arunchs

 

   

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Posted on: Saturday , Sep 27, 2008 At 11:56 AM

Destination Guide: Hampi

Winter is approaching, and it is a good time to start planning a trip to Hampi. It would be all the more ideal to get there for Hampi Festival, usually held in the first week of November. For exact dates of the festival, keep watching this space. 


sunrise



Overview. Hampi, in its glory days was the capital of Vijayanagar empire, one of the most powerful rulers that South India's history has seen. Text books speak about richness to an extent that people sold gold and diamonds on the streets. What remains today are the ruins of those days, spread over a vast area. The setup of Hampi itself is amazing, with its boulder strewn landscapes and a river flowing amidst them.

Orientation. Hampi is a large area. If you have a short time, say a weekend or less, it is best to do your monument hopping with your own transport. You can hire auto-rickshaws near the main Bazar. For those who have plenty of time, the ideal way to move around Hampi is by hiring bicycles.

Sightseeing and Activities

Sunrise and Sunset. Sunrise from Matanga Parvata is a magnificent scenery that you would not want to miss. The Rough Guide for South India calls the sunrise 'arguably one of the most beautiful sunrises in the world'. Lonely Planet doesn't fall short in praises either. Make sure you wake up early enough to complete the 30-miute climb to the peak before sunrise. For sunset, head to Hemakuta Parvata near the bus stand.


sunset


Vithala Temple. Vithala Temple is the most prominent temple in Hampi, with its famed stone chariot, musical pillars and its UNESCO World Heritage Monument status. The beautifully carved pillars are said to give out melodious tones on striking them; but delicate that they are, you are not allowed to touch them.


stone chariot


Viroopaksha Temple. Nearly all temples in Hampi were desecrated during invasion from Muslim Rulers from the north, and today, there is no worshipping in these temples. Viroopaksha Temple is an exception. With its tall gopura, it is visible from far away anywhere in Hampi.


viroopaksha temple


Queen's Bath Complex. This is a large area full of ancient monuments. Visit the queen's bath, Hajara Rama Temple, Lotus Mahal and Underground Shiva Temple in this area.


King's Court Area. Another large complex, not very far from Queen's Bath has has the ancient Vijayanagar City within a ruined fort. Look for King's Court, a large tank, Mahanavami Dibba where festivals were held, and complex channels that fed water to the palace.


Around Krishna Temple. Not far from the main bus stand is an ancient Krishna Temple. And a little further down are statues of Laxminarasimha and BadaviLinga, both large monolithic statues.


lakshminarasimha


Daroji Bear Sanctuary. 10Km from Hampi, this is a small forest which offers protection to bears and is an excellent place to sight some black bears.


Food and Accommodation


Being a backpacker destination, finding local cuisine in Hampi is not always easy. What you can find more often is Israeli, Italian and Continental food. Mango Tree Restaurant behind Viroopaksha Temple is an good place to eat and while away your time. A lot of basic guesthouses are available near the main Bazaar. Only organized place is the KSTDC Mayura Hotel at Kamalapur Village just outside Hampi. Hotel Malligi is your best bet if you are looking for some good accommodation.


How to Reach. Hospet is the nearest train station. Nearest airport is far away at Bangalore, from where you can take a bus, train or a taxi to Hampi.

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