There are places which emanate a characteristic vibe as their name pops up. Hampi, for me, is one of them. Hampi has been that unchecked item on my ever-expanding ‘places to visit in this part of the country’ list. But finally, it is ticked off that list.
Hampi- traditionally known as Pampa-kshetra, where Pampa was the old name of Tungabhadra river, around which Hampi is located.
A 2-day weekend road-trip, the ‘city of ruins; was visited. And even though, the rain did play spoilsport in keeping us inside our car or chilling around our cottage, the trip will be remembered.
We started off early in the morning, 7 of us, from Bangalore. The view on the road is supremely amazing! Like, one can sit by the window (which I make sure of) and take it all in. This, right here, is the best part of a road trip. Not to sound too cliched, but the best part of any trip is the journey towards that place.
You see, what I’m talking about. The untouched beauty. The blues and the greens. And the road in-between breezing past it. And this isn’t all. You have the sunflower fields to do your own photoshoots. Full Filmy!
Looks like those cheap photoshops where they add you in between flowers, eh? Well…!
When you’re on the road and the weather appears to be in a good mood, the scenery just keeps extending itself from one page to the other, forming a scrapbook on its own. Everything looks just not-ordinary. The purpose of traveling gets answers in return.
Chitradurga falls in route to Hampi and we took a very small diversion to the fort. Thankfully, it wasn’t raining and since it was really early morning (around 8 AM), not much of a crowd was present. We weren’t looking to spend time at the fort to ensure we reach Hampi at the earliest. Hence, instead of scaling up the top of the fort, we were content with stopping at one of the many peaks.
The majestic fort is a sight!
‘Chitra Durga’ means ‘Picture Fort’. The fort is pretty well maintained and even though we selectively strolled around the fort without a guide, it was quite amazing. It is a series of several small hills, each overlooking the place. The view is a bliss. It was cloudy and that made it all an extra bit of drama for the eyes to behold.
The fort was built over several years by the Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas and Hoysalas as well as the Nayakas of Chitradurga, feudal lords in the Vijayanagar Empire. There are 18 temples in the vicinity of the fort.
We continued on our journey towards Hampi with more photo-worthy moments for the hungry camera.
The route, as you enter Hampi, welcomes you with big boulders spread like arches like those ancient Greek kingdoms you see in period movies. In a way, this introduces you to Hampi.
We stayed on the other side at a cottage which overlooked paddy fields, a small stream, pebbles spread around. I so wish, we had more time to just chill here at the cottage itself. What more does one crave for? A book with a view? You have it here!
This is the dining area for the restaurant. Lots of board games to play while you enjoy the view along with decent food.
We did venture out on the first day in-between the start-stop rain and came across a small stream, trekked a little to just watch the sunset. This is what Hampi is mostly about, finding spots like these and absorbing the view.
The night was more about getting some good sleep to make sure we explore the ruins, for which Hampi is famous for, the next day. However, we started off pretty late and with the rain pouring down, we had to hurry and squeeze in as much as we could.
However, in the morning we took a little stroll around the backyard of Mowgli Cottage. You can see the Virupakshi temple from across the stream. This area is great for a late-night campfire. But, of course, we missed that.
Here’s a list of places we covered on our second day. First up was, the Queen’s Bath which is outside the royal enclosure (which we visited next). The Queen’s Bath was created for the royal women but in most probability served as the private royal meeting place.
Next to the Queen’s Batch, is the Royal Enclosure housing the Lotus Mahal, stepped tanks, Royal Elephant chamber and a number of other relics from the Vijayanagara empire.
The architectural style resembles a mixture of Vijayanagara and Mughal influence. The enclosure serves as a historical open museum depicting the era gone by with the ruins it houses. The adjoining gardens along the buildings, with trees around, serves as a viewing pod for tourists to sit and enjoy. It was raining and we were on the clock and hence roamed around to cover most of it.
This Royal Elephant chamber is one structure that seemed better preserved to this date among the ruins in Hampi. The dome-like structure for elephants displays an Indo-Islamic architecture style and was built during the Vijayanagara Empire.
Next up were the Virupaksha Temple and the nearby ruins housing other temples, with boulders spread around the hills. The Virupaksha Temple and the adjoining areas are one of the main tourist attractions of Hampi. There was some renovation work underway at the temple and it started to rain when we reached there.
The only restaurant, other than our Mowgli Cottage, we went to was the most-talked-about Mango Tree restaurant. The ambiance is quite hippie and the food has variety, although pretty hyped. But with very few restaurants around this area, this was the default choice.
We saw ‘Lemon mint nana’ on the menu and ordered it, after having had a really good one during the Gokarna Trip. However, it wasn’t the same. Apart from this, their special Pizza, Pasta, and a few other things were ordered. Food was good but nothing unique to write about. Although, I would suggest to still visit this place.
It was time to head back to Bangalore. It had already started raining and after a few GPS-hassles, we were finally back on track.
Hampi was a great experience. There are so many things to do around and if you have even the slightest interest in architecture and history, you’ll get to see so many stories unfold in front of you. It gave me the feeling of ‘wish-there-was-more-time’ while returning. And that is what every place should make you feel. Don’t you think? Inviting and welcoming!
Have you visited Hampi? Share your experiences or travelogues in the comments, below!