For travellers who are in quest of historical monuments and are into Ancient Indian history and archeological structures Hampi is the best place for them, it would take you back to the ancient time as the whole place even though in ruins still gives you the feel of being in a kingdom.
The city which was once home to the mighty kings of Vijayanagara Empire is now in complete ruins with only some structures surviving the test of time, most of them being temples with beautiful depictions of different stories from Indian Mythology. Every structure or carvings on the structure in Hampi has some meaning to it. So it’s best to hire a guide while visiting Hampi as there is a huge history as well as stories from Indian mythology which you may or may not have heard of.
Even though it’s one of the famous tourist spots in India reaching Hampi is not as easy as other tourist spots. Hampi is located in Bellary district of Karnataka and to reach there you have to first reach Hospet which is the nearest city if you are coming by train or bus and from there you can take a local bus or auto rickshaw to reach Hampi. Its comparatively easy to reach Hampi from southern cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad or Goa as the frequency is better when it comes to transport options and are much nearby also. If you are looking to reach Hampi in one go and are willing to spend some time in travelling then travelling by car would be better option as you won’t have to get down at Hospet. There are many cab services that provide you car facilities from Bangalore to Hampi, Goa to Hampi, Mumbai to Hampi, Pune to Hampi and many more.
The whole city is worth watching but like every tourist spot Hampi to have some must visit places without which the trip would be incomplete. The top five places to visit would be:
One of the main attractions in Hampi is the Virupaksha Temple which is still intact among the ruins, your trip to Hampi would be meaningless if you don’t visit this temple. It is said to be one of the oldest functioning temples in India as there has been no interruptions in its functioning since its inception which dates back to as old as 7th century AD. Virupaksha is an incarnation of lord shiva and therefore it can be said that the temple is dedicated to lord shiva. It seems so back in the day the kings use to tremendously believe in lord shiva as there are many shiva lingas in the entire complex. The temple that we see now isn’t what it used to look in the olden time, earlier it was just a small shrine which was later converted and fabricated by the kings of Vijaynagar Empire into the beautiful structure that we see today.
Hemakuta Hill Temple
Roughly translated as the hill of gold, it’s a complex with various temples and other monuments, most of which were constructed in pre Vijaynagar which were later modified during the Vijayanagar period. The hill is close to Virupaksha temple and it’s the best spot to watch the sunrise or sunset. And like every other structure in Hampi this one too has a mythological story associated, there is a reason why the hill is called Hemakuta it’s said that the day lord shiva consented to marry Pampa it rained gold on this hilltop because of which it was named Hemakuta.
This temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and there is an interesting story associated with this temple, it is believed that Lord Ganesha use to love eating food, one day he ate so much that his stomach was almost going to burst to stop it from happening he had to tie a snake around his belly, this story is beautifully depicted here in the temple where there is a snake around the belly of the deity of Lord Ganesha.
This place is a photographer’s paradise. Matanga hill is one of the highest points in Hampi and is the best place to watch the sunrise and sunset and also one can get an aerial view of the entire city. Want to relax yourself then just sit here for some time watching the sunrise or the sunset and you would be in for a serene experience.
The most famous Stone chariot which you would find in every Hampi related search on internet is located here in the Vittala temple. Vittala is a form of Lord Vishnu and therefore this temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Like any other temples in Hampi this too has exceptionally beautiful structure and craftsmanship. The temple is situated in a complex and apart from this temple there are many other temples in the complex along with pavilions each depicting different stories in the form of carvings or paintings.
As said earlier the entire city is worth visiting and it’s not only the places that one must visit but there are certain experiences that one shouldn’t miss like walking down the lanes of Hampi Bazaar or waking up to the scenic beauty of paddy fields or enjoying a coracle ride, coracle is basically a round shaped country boat which is now rarely used anywhere so do not miss experiencing the coracle ride when you are in Hampi. The city has its own charm and is unique in its own way so do visit Hampi once in your lifetime, and make sure you visit between October to February to enjoy this beautiful place which is an altogether different world in itself.