Hampi Travel Blog› entry 30 of 37 › view all entries
In the morning, Ajit takes us from Hospet to Hampi, an ancient little town set in a landscape that seems copied from â€˜The Flintstonesâ€™. The entire surroundings are made of miles and miles of boulder heaps. They form hills, valleys and riverbeds and they are an amazing scenery.
Even though the stunning landscape would be reason enough to visit Hampi, the main sights are formed by the ruins of the 15th century city of Vijayanagar, which was located near the village of Hampi. Vijayanagar was the former capital of the wealthy and powerful Vijayanagar Empire. This empire was established in 1336 and rose to prominence by defeating several Islamic invasions by the end of the 13th century.
Ajit drops us off at the bus stand near the Hampi Bazaar, and even though we are being ambushed by dozens of touts, we make it to the Bazaar in one piece. The main sight here is the Virupaksha Temple, but Rens and I have seen enough temples for now. Left from the entrance of the temple we climb Hemakuta Hill, which is scattered with early ruins. From here we have a gorgeous view of the boulder scattered landscape and the nearby Virupaksha Temple. Monotone chanting comes from the temple grounds, which makes the visit to Hemakuta Hill quite magical.
We return to the Hampi Bazaar, where we hire a rickshaw driver to take us to the various sites in and around Hampi for the rest of the day.
The first sight the driver takes us to is a beautiful Ganesha Monument. We walk around here for a couple of minutes, then we move on to the next stop, the Achyuta Raya Temple. Itâ€™s beautiful and obviously ancient, but to be honest, all the temples are starting to look alike.
Luckily, we soon find out that the other sights weâ€™re visiting (we let Wolverine decide on whatâ€™s most interesting) are a lot different from what weâ€™ve seen before.
We have lunch at the relaxing Mango Tree, and then move on to the Islamic Quarter. These are mostly left over foundations, it is believed that this was the residential area of the Muslim officers in the Vijayanagara court and army.
We then drive to the Royal Centre. In the 15th century, this area formed the citadel of the Vijajanagara capital. It was generally populated with structures for the court and military. We spend most time at the Zenana Enclosure, where there are a watchtower, a beautiful pavilion called the Lotus Mahal and amazing Elephant Stables to be seen.
In the banana plantation behind the Elephant Stables we find two small temples, one that seems to be a Jain Temple and another one that has a sculpture of a monkey god from the Hindu legend of Ramayana.
Our driver also takes us to the Hazara Rama Temple, which has extraordinary carvings. After that we visit the Queenâ€™s Bath, which is almost boring to look at from the outside, but absolutely stunning on the inside. Last stop of the day is the Vittala Temple, which has a magnificent Stone Chariot.
Weâ€™re exhausted when we return to the bus stop, where Ajit awaits us, but it was all well worth it. Hampi is undoubtedly one of the most special places Southern India has to offer.