Not every day is an opportunity to break free from the clutches of everyday, anxious and ordinary life in the city and relax in an exotic place far away. The prospect of a quiet separation from the monotony of our urban existence was felt. The combination of holidays in Dassar and weekends gave us the opportunity to spend a long-awaited holiday among the ruins of Hampi 12-15 century – a world-famous holiday destination, located 355 km from Bangalore.
We were a team of five hardcore adventurers, vacationers and heritage lovers. Our team consisted of Kishor Patvardhan, Shiva Kumar, Sri Krishna, Mahesh V and I. Fully lit, we embarked on our stay with a targeted hike among the rocks and cliffs of Hampi, the headquarters of the Vijayanagar Empire for 13-15 centuries.
Hampi is a World Heritage Site
Hampi is a world-famous tourist heritage site and one of the 16 UNESCO-recognized World Heritage Sites in the country. Once a cultural boom involving sculptors, musicians, artists and artisans who worked together to turn the high vision of the Vijayanagar princes into lasting monuments, Hampi is now an underdeveloped village that does not even have a proper resin road. The ruins spread over an area of 26 square meters. Km and cause the pomp and glory of the ancient Hindu kings. Rich palaces, temples and massive fortifications are built with such ingenuity that they blend naturally with the surrounding rock formations and look as if they have just grown out of them.
Located on the shores of the graceful Tungabhadra, among massive boulders and rocky hills, Hampi was the capital of the ancient Vijayanagar Empire, which controlled the Dean for more than 200 years from 1336 to 1565 AD. E., and reached its zenith during the reign of Krishnadevarai the most famous emperor. After the death of Krishnadevarai in 1529 AD. E. Neighboring Muslim Bahamian rulers united and attacked Hampi. The invading armies roamed the city, destroying its beautiful temples and monuments, leaving the once great city in ruins.
The current Hampi is divided into four separate sectors – Venkatapura in the northeast, Hampi in the northwest, Kadyrampura in the south and Kamalapura in the southeast. On the opposite bank of the river is Anegondi, the old capital of the Vijayanagar Empire, which houses a massive fort and other monuments. Several imposing monuments are in various stages of destruction and are under the auspices of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) – a central government body mandated to protect and maintain all of the country’s historic sites. Although ASI has begun restoration and protection of the site, the effort seems insufficient. Seriously understaffed, it is unable to prevent insensitive tourists from tearing down and destroying monuments that are already collapsing under the pressure of the elements.
So far, ASI has discovered and restored about 121 major monuments in Hampi and installed explanatory signs and information boards in front of each. Easy-to-read digitally printed maps have also been placed in strategic locations among the ruins to help tourists find their way to their chosen monuments. Trained ASI guides can acquaint visitors with the monuments (tour guide fee: Rs 150-500 per day). For those who prefer to wander the ruins on their own, you can rent vehicles: bicycles (100-200 rupees per day) and motorcycles (300-500 rupees per day, excluding fuel). Auto-rickshaws run by self-proclaimed local guides are also available.
Day 1 – travel to Hampi
The journey of 355 km from Bangalore to Hampi, located in the area of Belara in the state of Karnataka, began on October 12 at 20.15. The first 25 km from the garden city was a tortuous bustle through the streets clogged with traffic. The next stage, a section of about 200 km on NH-4 (National Highway-4) to the famous fort town of Chitradurga, was fast and smooth on the new toll highway (10 rubles per car ride), built under the project “Golden Quadrangle”. The remaining 120-kilometer stretch on the bumpy National Highway-13, which connects Hampi via Hospet to Chitradurga, was a bumpy and slow ride, we finally got to Hampi around 4am.
Day 2 – tour of the temples in the main market area of Hampi
Arriving at the unearthly hour (4 am), we decided to pitch a tent and set up camp among the mountains on the manicured lawns of Mathi Hampi Vidyaranya – the religious institution that runs the Virupaksha Temple for our well-deserved siesta. The local administration collects entrance fees from all vehicles entering Hampi (30 rubles by car, 45 rubles by bus and 5 rubles by two wheels).
After a short nap and a refreshing swim in Tungabhadra we set off to explore Hampi and its heritage sites. The first stop was the Virupaksha Temple in the main market area, the largest operating temple complex in Hampi. Massive mahadvara(main entrance) leads into a wide open courtyard of a beautiful stone temple, which is supported by intricately carved pillars and friezes. Perhaps the most striking feature of this 15th-century temple is the small dark cabin behind the sanctuary sanctuary, where the shadow of the imposing is inverted. раджаагопурам (entrance dome) is depicted on the wall opposite – evidence that the pinhole camera technique and the properties of refraction and dispersion of light were perfected and practiced in India long before they became known in the western world. The tallest building in the ancient city, раджаагопурам Virupaksha temple is well visible all the way to Kamalapuram, about 5 km.
Marveling at the Virupaksha temple, we climbed the nearby Ratnakuta hill, littered with several small abandoned temples. Adjacent to Ratnakuta is the hill of Hemakuta, scattered with temples and large dolmens. Among the buildings at the top of Hemakuta Hill is the notable Sassivekal (mustard seed) of Ganesha, a monolithic image of the elephant god 12 feet high, fixed in an open pillar pavilion. Consecrated in 1506, the statue depicts the four-armed ruler Ganesha sitting in ardha oiled yogic. Another monolithic idol, the 18-foot Cadalecalu (Bengali gram) of Ganesha, anchored on the hill of Hemakut, is set in a magnificent dolmen supported by attractively carved pillars and friezes depicting the gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon.
When the sun was mercilessly beating, we took a break for lunch and rested in the cool shade of the ruins. Refreshed, we walked the uneven path to the sprawling temple of Achutara about 500 meters from the main bazaar. The temple has some of the most decorative carvings found in the ruins, and was built by Salakaradzi Tsirumaladeva, the chief officer of King Achutarai, the predecessor of Kryshandevarai. Towering gopuram at the entrance leads to the carved halls of the temple and the sanctuary. An important shrine inside is dedicated to the Fire, the God of Fire.
We ended the day by visiting the top of Matang Hill. Climbing a steep flight of 600 steps, intertwined and making their way between massive boulders and through caves, was worth the effort. The view from the top, to the sunset, which floods the ruins of Hampi with crimson light, opened up an amazing view.
Day 3 – a tour of the royal enclosure and other monoliths
Going deeper into the ruins of Hampi, we took a magnificent monolithic statue of Lakshmi Narasimha 26 feet tall (the embodiment of the half-lion-half-man Vishnu) perched on top of the giant coils of the seven-headed serpent god Odysseus. Consecrated in 1528 by order of Krishnadevarai, the sculpture originally depicted the charming wife of Lakshmi, who was sitting on Narasimha’s lap. It is believed that the monolith was mutilated, and the idol Lakshmi was broken into pieces by raid troops. In the immediate vicinity is the idol of Lord Shiva, known as Badavaling. A 12-meter lingam, carved from shiny black granite, rises from a shallow pool of clear water.
Our next stop was to the most famous temple of Wimpala Hampi – 5 km by road or 3 km on rough terrain through rocky hills or by road. We chose the latter – a solution that gave an unforgettable experience. On the way there were monuments far from the tourist cycle – Purandara-Mantapa on the banks of the river Tungabhadra; and the Balance of the King, where the princes of Vijayanagar are believed to have weighed gold and silver ornaments received as a tribute from the subordinate kingdoms.
The Temple of Vittal is perhaps the best example of the architecture of Vijayanagar. Originally built by King Devaraya (1421-1440), it was further decorated during the reign of Krishnadevarai (1509-1529). The temple is impressive rajagopura, a sabha mantapa (meeting room), narasimha mantapa, hookah mantapa (wedding hall), utsava mantapa (functional hall) and several small ones devi shrines in the aisles. Pillars carved from single granite blocks with carved friezes produce musical notes with soft pressure, prompting mantapa to baptize the Hall of Musical Pillars.
And yet, perhaps the most spectacular building in Hampi is the marvelous Stone Chariot installed in the Temple of Vithal. This life-size and 22-foot-tall wheelchair is a testament to the skill of Vijayanagar-era stone carvers. The intricately carved monolithic stone wheels of this chariot rotate in axis with the precision and detail of their awe-inspiring sculptures.
A little distance away is the great temple of Khazar-Rama, which was originally built by the kings of Vijayanagar for private worship. The temple, standing in a fenced-in enclosure, radiates an air of elegant serenity when the soft moonlight illuminates its magnificent friezes, even when its rock sculptures shine in the rays of the morning sun. Relief sculptures on walls and temples depict scenes from the epic Ramayana.
The next stop was the Royal Corps, which contained the Lotus Mahal, the elephant stables, the Zenan enclosure, the Makhanov Dybba, and the stepped tank. Zenan’s Fence or the Queen’s Quarter is an eclectic mix of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles, surrounded on all sides by tall watchtowers – most of which are in a state of disrepair. The elegant Lotus Mahal looks suspended like a floating palace on a full moon night. Nearby are elephant stables, a majestic row of 11 domed stalls, with arched connecting doorways. One of the palaces here has been turned into a museum, which presents an impressive collection of royal artifacts.
A huge area known as Mahanavami dibba, with an area of 5,300 square meters. Feet, served as an observation deck for kings, consorts, and royal officers. Approximately 30 feet above ground level it is adorned with intricately carved horses, soldiers, a pair of dignitaries overlooking foreigners and a stage in which girls are seen frolicking in the water. A magical view of Tungabhadra as she silently makes her way through the rocky cliffs. Another monument that is a must visit here is a stepped reservoir about three meters deep, into which water was supplied through a number of stone canals – an example of expert technology developed several centuries ago.
Day 4 – Anegondi and return to Bangalore
On the last day of our tour, we set off early in the morning to Anegonda, a 35km motorway, reluctantly giving up the possibility of crossing the river on caracals, which was handled by local fishermen. The proposed bridge, which is to connect the two villages, was stopped by UNESCO because, according to the rules of the World Heritage Council, there should be no modern construction on the heritage sites. Anegondi formed the northern outpost of the Vijayanagar Empire, and its once mighty fort is now destroyed. The main attractions of this village are the temple of Ranganata, Huchchappayana-Mata, Pampa-Saravara and Nava-Vrundavana.
The sprawling temple of Ranganata is located in the center of Anegondi, from where we visited Pampa Sarawara, a large body of water located among the rocky hills. A short trip to the doodles took us to Nawa Vrundavana, a highly revered temple that housed nine shrines dedicated to the seers of the Madhva (thirds) – Padmanabha, Kavindra, Vageesha, Govinda-vadiar, Vysaraya, Raguvariya, Srinivasa, Rama and Sudhendra – date from the 12th-16th centuries.
Returning from Nava Vrundavana on the doodle, the next stop was the hill of Anjanadra, about 6 km from Anegondi. This rocky formation, topped by the temple of Hanuman, presents an amazing visual appearance when viewed from Hampi. Surprisingly, the entire slide, including the temple, is ruled by impostors ganja smoking, Hindi language the garden he is the same godfather who continuously reads verses from Ramayana. The best feature of Anjanadra – a beautiful view of the surrounding area. Among the rough rocks the mighty Tungabadra flows calmly and gracefully, opening up fantastic views of sunset and sunrise.
On the way back to Bangalore the only stop on the way was to the Tungabhadra dam in Hospet, about 22 km from Hampi. It encloses a water area of more than 400 square meters. Km, making it the largest multi-purpose dam in Karnataka, producing 27 MW of electricity annually, as well as watering several thousand hectares of land in the Belary, Raichur and Chitradurga areas. Recreation centers in the form of fountains, beautiful walks, a children’s play park, an aquarium and a musical fountain are also offered.
A four-day stay in the ancient ruins of Hampi allowed us to realize that in this World Heritage Site there is more than is usually depicted and promoted. Although the ruins occupy only 26 square meters. Km, in the list of monuments identified by ASI, there are more than 121 temples and other monuments that we have visited only a few. Enough reason to reconsider this psychologically elevated place of the ancient empire, which testifies to the architecture and urban planning capabilities that we inherit.
Hampi is located in central Karnataka and is well connected by rail, road and air.
Railway. The nearest railway line is Hospet, from where you need to drive another 15 km on the road.
The road. Regular bus services are provided from Bangalore to Hospet 15 km from Hampi.
Air. Bellary (74 km) – the nearest airport; other convenient airports are Belgaum (190 km) and Bangalore (353 km).
The best time to visit Hampi is from September to February. The summer months can be quite unpleasant when the temperature rises above 380 C.
Hampi offers several hotels with basic amenities apparently Hotel Mayura Vijayanagar, Pampa Lodge, Naga Lodge, among others, cost in the range of 60-150 rupees per night.
There are many hotels in Hospet that offer the best services. Hotel Malligi (Rs 140-700 per night), Priadorshy (RUS 140-500), among others.
Food in Hampi. Many small eateries and cafes line the road in the main market area for every taste and season – South Indian, North Indian, Chinese, Tibetan, Italian – and include ice cream parlors, fresh fruit stalls, etc. This is possible , because every second traveler for Hampi is a foreigner.
Hampi Festival. Every year in November, the State Corporation for the Development of Tourism in Karnataka (KSTDC) organizes a large Hampi Utsava Street to attract visitors to this remote area. This year’s festival is scheduled for November 3-5.
Tips for travelers
The heat. Hampi is a hot space. There is little shelter in its vast territory, except for a few trees and the ruins themselves. Even in winter the afternoon is very hot. A bottle of water, a sun cap or an umbrella are desirable paraphernalia when exploring Hampi.
Cancer. Tungabhadra is treacherous and should be avoided except for good swimmers. As the river flows over rocky and boulder-covered terrain, judging the depth is difficult and underwater, the rocks are slippery.