Remember the vintage pictures in our history books about kingdoms, rulers and stories about the eras long gone? As a child, we all had that one fantasy to time travel back to those times. We still do. Hampi is one such destination which still exists in the old times. Untouched and mysterious, it is a backpacker’s heaven to live that fantasy.
The resplendent site of Hampi consists of mainly the ruins of the capital city of Vijayanagara Empire (14th-16th Century CE), the last great Hindu Kingdom. Legend has it, Hampi used to be one of the richest and largest cities in the world.
The moment you reach Hampi,it seems almost like a movie set for the Flintstones, only more beautiful. Although, there is lot more to Hampi than the historical ruins. Presenting few must-do activities around Hampi.
- Religious Ruin Hopping:
Hire a two wheeler or an auto rickshaw to explore the Vijayanagara ruins which are scattered on both the sides of Tungabhadra River. Virupaksha temple is one of the oldest temples in Hampi and the only one which is still in function. Apart from that,Vittala with its magnificent stone chariot, hall with musical pillars, the Monolithic Bull, the Ganesha statues, the magnificent Narasimha monolithic statue and the giant underground Shiva Linga are the prominent architectural marvels. The HazaraRama temple with it’s meticulously carved exterior wall is not to be missed too.
- Coracle ride:
Unlike usual boats, these are circular shaped boat that can carry 6 to 8 people on a single trip. According to the legends, these coracle boats have been in use since the time of the Vijaynagara rule. If you want some languid laid back swirling across the river, try the coracles.
- Bouldering and Trekking:
Hampi is strewn with picturesque boulders, some of which seem precariously balanced. Bouldering is a must for adventure lovers. Few must-try treks around Hampi includes the Hemakunta hill, Matanga hill, Anjaneya Hill, Malyavanta Hill. Sunrise and sunset hikes provide spectacular and sprawling views of the city.
- Royal Trails:
Although most of the palaces and royal quarters have been destroyed during the siege, some of its most beautiful structures still remain. The Lotus Mahal is an exquisite building with decorated doorways which look like petals, stunning intricate balconies and royal pushkarnis. The Elephant Stable is another well preserved monument and apart from that there’s Queen’s Bath, Stepped Bath, Royal Enclosures, remnants of the city’s fortifications etc.
- Stay in a cottage on the rice fields:
The other side of the Tungabhadra River happens to be a hippie’s paradise. The guest houses have almost the identical style of accommodations with little cottages, swing beds, cozy restaurants with some kickass views of waving rice fields, banana plantations and the river. The restaurants offer some have delicious international cuisines soaked in nonchalant and unruffled ambiance.
- Make time for Sunsets :
Sanapur Lake is a nature lover’s paradise with its idyllic and picturesque views. Take a boat ride in during sunset to indulge yourself in tranquility. Hampi’s best sunsets can be spotted from Matunga Hill. Also, nestled among a well kept garden, the Tungabhadra Dam reservoir is vast and the hill top view of it is incredible during sunset.
- Indulge in village culture:
Add to the hustle of pilgrims from all over India, beautifully adorned village ladies, like-old-times Indian markets, monkeys,you get an exotic vibe of our beautiful old tradition.Go exploring by a two wheeler to the surrounding villages. Bell decked bullock carts, the Hampi bazaar, adorable village folks, idyllic pace of life and charming village scenes will get you to the real India.
Where every stone has a story…. Have you been to Hampi yet?