While thousands of tourists may have already explored the popular tourists destinations of Taj Mahal, Red fort, Hawa Mahal and backwaters of Kerela, a lot still remains to be explored in our beautiful country. Such is the length and breadth of this incredible land that you can choose to travel to an unseen place, for every single of the 16 LONG weekends in 2018 – pocket and boss supporting ofcourse!
So we chose to venture into Hampi for the long weekend gone by and as we strayed deep into this UNESCO world heritage site, it turned quickly into a photography trail. Expansive 14th century ruins from the Vijayanagara empire dot 16 square Km of this part farm-part rocky land. Our friendly local guide believes that the massive Stonehenge styled boulders erupted during volcanic activity while the entire region was still submerged in the sea.
If you look at this picture, you would be inclined to believe him considering the smooth slippery surface of the boulders which could be 30×30 ft.
This site is also believed to be the place where Lord Ram met Hanuman, Sugriv and the monkey army in search for the kidnapped Sita maa. It has a close resemblance to the places described in the Ramayana.
PLACES TO EXPLORE
Hampi is an internationally known world class bouldering destination that attracts climbers from all over the world. The main bouldering areas are around the Hampi Bazaar, amongst the ruins making it a vantage climbing experience. The view from top is almost uninterrupted.
Discover the Sound of Music at Vijaya Vittala Temple
While the temple structure itself is a good enough reason to make your first stop here, what will really inspire you are the musical columns housed in one of the supporting buildings behind the main sanctum. Each column here is capable of making notes from a different musical instrument ranging from sitar to flute and drums. Make sure you spend a few minutes studying the length and width of the strips on each column to understand the science behind. These columns we drummed with sticks to generate music during the temple functions.
Have the Elephant bless you with his trunk at the Virupaksha Temple
The Virupaksha Temple is the most illustrious temple of the region. What makes it more interesting is to have an elephant bless you with his truck. If you offer the holy elephant a banana he will eat it and lower his trunk gently over your head to bless you. Incase you are offering money, he will hand it over to the priest sitting near him. Remebere reading that an elephant never really forgets, here you can see that live. The giant animal makes sure to bless the right person after accepting the offerings.
Ramayana depiction at the Hazara Rama Temple
The temple literally means a thousand Rams. The walls of this temple carry the story of Ramayana in the form of rectangular tablets carved on stone. You have to progress from one side of the temple in a sequential manner to see the epic come alive.
The Royal Enclosures
This is a well preserved and vast royal ruin where you will get to see an ancient water duct which was smartly use to supply water to the entire town, an underground secret chamber used during war times as a hiding place, bits of the diwaan-e-khas and Diwaan-e-aam. The complex water fountain here was re-assembled as per the order of the reigning king back then and the tiles are so well marked that it is possible to reassemble the entire stricter at a new location even today!
There are many other attractions like the Lotus house, bathing chambers, .. which you can consider exloring. For me, that’s something I look forward to for my next time.
Getting to Hampi
Once you reach Bangalore, you can take an overnight train to Hampi. The heritage site is about 40 minutes’ drive from the train station. Alternately you can fly to Hubli and rent a car.
You can flip though more Humpi pictures here