Scorching heat of the sun, dusty and humid environment, with boulders the size of mini mountains strewn all over. Doesn’t sound much like a tourist destination does it? But this ordeal becomes worth it when the ruins of the one of the most flourishing cities of ancient India reveal itself to you in its ruggedly breathtaking beauty.
Hampi was the capital of the Vijyanagar Empire from 1336 to 1565; the city was ruled by four dynasties – Sangama, Saluva, Tuluva and Aravidu dynasty. More than 500 monuments build by different rulers of the dynasties still stand as a witness to the ancient city’s rich culture and prosperity.
Located in present day Karnataka, the easiest way to access Hampi is from Hospet, the nearest town. Auto rickshaws are plentiful hence accessibility and transport is not a problem.
But a caveat, if you are looking for a comfortable, laid back trip, this is probably the last place you should be. If you want the real feel of these splendid ruins, gear up your hiking boots, because lots of climbing and walking and hiking are essential.
Temples are dime a dozen in the city, especially in the religious and ceremonial block. The Shivling and the Ugra Narasimha are worth a visit, the architecture is amazing. The Krishna Temple is also beautiful, simple but stately. Used as a ceremonial bath, the Pushkarini tank with its calm almost greenish waters is a must visit site. Time will stop when the calm waters touch your feet, all your problems and worries will disappear and only peace will prevail.
Moving through the narrow dusty roads flanked by ancient hamlets, houses, tanks, gates, dormitories you are bound to get a sense of otherworldliness. You can almost imagine sounds of hooves, the rustle bustle of the everyday lives of the natives of the 15th century, hear the chiming of the temple bells. You will almost expect to bump into some native or walk into a busy street or a local bazaar from long ago. You will feel as if the city is alive, awake, waiting. It is a feeling that cannot be expressed; it can only be felt and experienced. This feeling is so real that when you initially get back into the civilization, the modern structures look temporary, out of place. As if the ruins are the only permanent thing in this world. They were there long before us and will always be there long after we are gone, instilling the same sense of grandeur and awe in civilizations to come.
Unfortunately for me, my camera malfunctioned shortly after the trip, hence I lost most of the photos I had taken. However, this gives me just another excuse to go back and get lost in time once again.