Hampi – A Forgotten Empire.

The train journey….

On a May night when we boarded the train with RAC seats ticket in our pocket, we were so enthusiastic that the discomfort on the way could not ruin our spirit. A long journey though it was, the book in hand made it bearable.

Auto at Hosapete station
On the way

The Mayura Bhuvaneshwari

The hotel, run by Karnataka Govt is the closest available stay to the ruins of Hampi. It offers a basic stay in Hampi.

The drive way to Mayura Bhuvaneshwari
Lawn
Corridor

What it essentially offers is the feel of home. The feel of being to an ancient period, the feel of nature, unbound and pristine, that sets the soul free to accept everything that comes on its way. The mood being set, we savoured a sumptuous meal, well prepared and served with love, and headed for a nap before starting our journey through the Vijayanagar Kingdom.

South Indian dishes

The first view:

In the afternoon with a book in our hand we headed for Hampi. Hiring a moped or scooty is a better option for solo traveller. For us, an auto was the best option for hop on hop off trip, making it easier to take a stop every 100 mtr for clicking photographs. In Hampi, every moment is a best frame to capture. The blue May sky, with patches of cloud, red rocks, green trees instigates to freeze every moment you see.

Metal Road to Hampi

Day 1:

Leaving the main gate the auto passed a petrol station, and took a right turn. The history stood there, bearing the glorious part of it, the Vijayanagar was just in front of me. Every stone seemed to cry out and announce the glory. Every tree seemed to give shelter to the tired travellers. Every turn of the road told the untold story. I felt, as if I belong to the age, when Deva Raya ruled the kingdom…. When Arjun Verma riding a horse traced the fire on the Hemkut parvat. Bidyutmala, came here to marry the king, but loved a common man.

Sisters rock

The history of Vijayanagar spans from the 4th century to 16th century. The Sangam dynasty, Saluva, Tuluva, Kampila and many others have contributed to its glories that made Hampi the most important place in the country during the period. This is not a place to discuss that. Much have been said and written on it.

Ugra Narasimha

I felt proud of the heritage of our country as I traced the way through the Krishna temple. Vijayanagar, a seat of Hindu culture and religion irrespective of the different cult, had been a prominent part of India. This part of the city was built much later. The neat carving work on the rocks and arranged architecture is a feast to the eyes.

Hampi trip during May has some advantages. As a handful of tourists visit the place, the temples, the ruins have less crowd. The photographs can be taken easily. Too many people entering the frame may spoil the shot. The guides are readily available. So are the transports.

The disadvantage is of course the soaring mercury that restricts the mobility. We started our trip early in the morning, and came back by 11 o’clock. Again we started in the afternoon when the sun was bearable. This plan gave us scope to adjust between walk and rest as well as to avoid the harsh sunrays.

Here are some of the photographs taken by me…

Krishna temple
Rick carving at Krishna temple
The sun set
Bazar
Hemkut Parvat: Ganesh Temple
Krishna Temple carving
Typical landscape of Hampi
Virupaksha Temple at a distance :Road through Hampi bazar

Among all the temples, Virupaksha Temple is the only living temple where regular puja is done. The localites visit this place. This is the heart of Hampi, for which, I felt the whole city is still alive.

Inside Virupaksha Temple
Virupaksha Temple
Crowd outside Virupaksha Temple

Next morning we started early. After visiting Virupaksha Temple, we passed through the Hampi Bazar. The place seemed to come alive before us. The traders from every corner of the world seemed to come with their goods and trade here. The Kings sometimes came and sat in one of the mandapas to see the trading. Spices, clothes, gold, diamond were among the goods traded here.

Hampi Bazar, Virupaksha Temple at a distance

To reach Achyutraya Temple we had to cross the hillock. The same road through which the people of Vijayanagar reached those places. After many turns in the hill, suddenly, the entire complex comes in sight.

Across the hill

In a forlorn land, hidden from the modern civilisation, there resides a time, forgotten by the historians. The history book in school standard hardly mentions them. Children do not know even that the kings and Queens and Courtesans lived here. The rocks can’t cry – they are silent. Silent as they are dead… A strange gloom pervades there.

Achyutraya Temple complex

The Palace enclave

The Palace enclave is situated close to Kamalapur. The Kings Palace, Queens Palace, Lotus mahal, Zenana enclave, elephant stable, Hazara Rama temple, Jain temple etc are to be seen in this section.

It is better to divide Hampi into 4 sections and visit accordingly. I had divided our trip in the following groups.

1. Ganesha temple, Krishna temple, Hemkut Parvat. (best for viewing sunset, and Sun rise, Matanga Hill was a bit high for me to climb.)

2.Virupaksha Temple, Hampi bazar, Monolithic Bull, Achyutraya Temple complex.

3. Vitthala Temple complex.

4. The Palace Enclave.

We missed or let go the other side of Tungabhadra due to shortage of time.

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