Hampi Chronicles: Where History meets Adventure
I’ve grown up hearing of the great mythological sagas from my parents and grandparents. Literally all of my childhood was me looking forward to meeting my grand mom so she could narrate the tales of Ramayana and Mahabharata and for once I could escape my monotonous reality and take a flight to a world woven with fiction. Recently, when I went on a Hampi trip I was amazed to see that the places that I had heard of growing up in the anecdotes from Ramayana were actually surfacing right in front of my eyes. That’s what Hampi is- it’s a reservoir of age old sagas and ancient sites that are buried in its ruins but are as appealing as ever. If you are a lover of the old world and love to explore dilapidated locations in search of the forgotten era, a Hampi sightseeing tour is all you need. Join me as I recollect my experience of an amazing tour to Hampi and pen it down for you to read.
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People often say that the best time to visit Hampi is during the month of February as it is in this month that the popular Hampi Festival takes place. As much as I love celebrations and festivities, I wanted to make the most of my Hampi tour by escaping the crowd and enjoying a peaceful excursion at this gem of a place, which is why I chose not to travel in the peak-time. However, it is still necessary that you plan your trip during the winter season so that you can explore the place in a pleasant weather rather than facing the heat of the scorching sun.
With these thoughts in mind, I started working on my Hampi itinerary and after a thorough R&D, I finally planned the perfect Hampi tour package for myself. I travelled from Bangalore to Hospet, the nearest bus station to Hampi, in an overnight bus which is one of the most economical and thrilling means to travel and also my personal favourite. On reaching Hospet, I decided to take a local auto to my destination as the distance between Hospet to Hampi is mere 13 kilometres and only takes half an hour to reach the site.
Once I reached the ancient marvel, I was captivated by the stunning site! I have a thing for ruins because of the unique charm that they emit and believe me when I say this, the ruins of Hampi are a work of art, only the artist is nature itself!
The great thing about Hampi sightseeing is that you can hire bicycles, scooties, and bikes for visiting the various tourist attractions to see in Hampi. So, if you like to explore places on your own then Hampi is a great place to visit for a fun and adventurous tour. With my excitement soaring very high, I went ahead to savour the decayed yet divine beauty of Hampi. Here are a few places to visit around Hampi that I had an absolute blast exploring and would suggest all avid travellers to put them in your bucket list right now:
- The boulders of Hampi : This is not a physical place and yet a significant identifier of Hampi. The gorgeous town is filled with huge boulders composed of granite that lay all around the place. According to Hindu mythology, two brothers Bali and Sugreeva once battled with each other and the boulders that each rival army threw at the other is what we see in Hampi till date. I don’t know if the myth can be substantiated but it is always fascinating to visit places with some interesting folklores attached to them.
- The Virupaksha Temple : One of the most famous places to visit in Hampi, the Virupaksha Temple is an enormous Shiva temple on the banks of River Tungabhadra. The pillared halls and many smaller shrines is a sight to behold and the massive structure is definitely hard to miss while exploring Hampi.
- Anjaneya Hill and Temple : If myths are to be believed, the Anjaneya Hill is the birthplace of the monkey God, Hanumana, and therefore an interesting place indeed. The temple is dedicated to Lord Hanumana and the location of the temple on the hilltop is so thrilling that, similar to my experience, you’re sure to fall in love with this place.
- Lakshmi Narsimha Temple : This was, hands down, my most favourite part of the tour. The statue of Narsimha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is the largest statue in the whole of Hampi and it looked so larger than life that just a glance of the massive structure gave me goose-bumps. Whether you are impressed with tourism in Hampi or not, you will definitely be in awe of its architectural splendour.
- Matanga Hills : Every tour has that one special moment that gets etched into your memory. For me, it was watching the sunset from Matanga Hills! Situated right at the heart of Hampi, these hills are perfect to get a panoramic view of the town. No matter what you do, don’t forget to be at the hilltop in the evening to get a mesmerizing view of the setting sun while you get a bird’s eye glance of the entire town!
- Vijaya Vittal Temple : Set on the remains of the ancient city of Vittalapura, the Vijaya Vittal Temple is undoubtedly one of the most magnificent and grand places to visit in Hampi. Home to the extraordinarily stunning stone chariot, the place is a sight for sore eyes.
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Of course, there’s no end to the stunning marvels in Hampi so I would definitely like to offer some honourable mentions that can’t be overlooked and should be in your list of must-visit places. I was charmed by places like the Queen’s Bath, Durga Temple, Courtesan’s Street, Pampa Sarovar, Hazara Rama Temple, Ganesha Temple, Hemakuta Hills, and Krishna Temple, to name a few. Unlike other places that only offer a very few sites as major attractions, Hampi will leave you spoilt for choice and that’s what I absolutely loved about this tour. I got an experience for my money’s worth and I couldn’t have asked for more!
Can’t Skip Food and Shopping, Can We?
After exploring the grand exemplars of the opulence of the bygone era, it was time to lighten my heavy pocket and fill up my belly. No tour is complete without trying the scrumptious local dishes and spending on some souvenirs. Hampi in its ancient glory was an important industrial site that was home to lively and vibrant marketplaces. Of course the grandeur dwindled over the years but the Hampi Bazaar is still something of a fascination. So, off I went to the local market to engage in a fun retail therapy. Exploring this market is another one of the fun things to do in Hampi. Despite being a new addition, the street shops are lined alongside the pavilion that used to be the ancient markets and that makes the shopping experience all the more interesting. From aesthetical antique articles to stunning clothes and jewellery, the street shops were full of captivating components so be ready to unload your pockets and spend a good amount of money here.
After a satisfactory shopping tour, the hunger pangs will kill you! I too had a similar experience so I went ahead to satiate my hunger with some delectable dishes. The mystical vibe of the town reflects in its eateries as well. You will find a lot of hippie-style cafes with a chilled-out vibe that are perfectly in sync with the aura of Hampi. I went to the Laughing Buddha Café and its homely seating area with spread out mattresses completely suited my taste. For people who want to savour the local South Indian flavour, a visit to Mango Tree is a must as the restaurant is the go-to place for that authentic South Indian taste.
Bidding Adieu to Hampi
After the most fun 2 days of my life, it was time to take leave from this marvellous town. Every stunning sight kept coming back to me in flashes and it was so hard to leave a place so gorgeous for my regular city dwelling but it had to be done. So, with a very heavy heart and a bag full of happy memories, I left the town and the memorable Hampi tour came to a gratifying end.
Now that I look back, all I can say is a true explorer would love every single bit of Hampi and to know the reason behind it you will have to visit the place yourself. If you were moved by my experience and the travel bug in you is craving for a tour then plan a trip to Hampi and be witness to a magical world unfolding right in front of you.
January 31, 2020
November 21, 2019