A Backpacker’s paradise - Hampi 🌻
Updated: May 4, 2021
That's the first word that comes to your mind looking at the magnificent ruins of Hampi. The heat becomes a secondary problem while you have beautiful undulating terrain, heaps of giant rock boulders, palm groves and green fields that stretch miles ahead. I'm not that big when it comes to the history of each temple, but being touristy led me to actually learn a little about all the places I visited. It's a UNESCO world heritage site, and it's very much possible to be explored completely in just 2 days! So Hampi can be divided into two halves roughly, one half that contains all the archeological temples and sites and the other half which consists of the newer temples and also known as the "Hippie" side of Hampi. Lets start with my favourite side of Hampi first- The one with the Archeological ruins!
The entrance of the temple.
The most famous structure that you see on all 50 indian rupee notes, can be found at the Vittala Temple. The stone chariot is the temple's most iconic structure that represents Vishnu's vehicle. The main temple as well was quite large and would easily take up-to two hours to explore in detail. The temples that you see once you enter the main gate aren't all, there are many more temples around it that you'll have to walk around and find as it is scattered over a vast area.
The cliche touristy photo!
The next place we visited was the Queens bath. It looks simple on the outside but was quite intricate from the inside. It was a rather calm area and much cooler compared to the outside heat. It showcased indo-Islamic architecture. Luckily we were the only ones there and I got to click a few nice photos!
Pretty complexes, all to myself!
This has to be one of my favorite places from the trip. This place was extremely photogenic with it's perfectly angled architecture of stepped wells. The Pushkaranis in Hampi are the sacred water tanks that are attached to the temples. Most temples had one, in different depths and architectures.
Cannot get over this place, its a photographer's "love at first sight"
HAZARA RAMA TEMPLE
One of the most unique temples out of the lot. Dedicated to the hindu deity Rama, the Hazara Rama Temple translates to a thousand Ramas. It has the entire Ramayana carved on the walls of this temple and it is the most elaborate thing I've ever seen.
Peaceful area with greenery all around. Seems almost like an oasis in the land of vast hot grounds with rocks and boulders. The Lotus Mahal and Elephant stables are found here. The temple has a unique lotus look alike structure and is also known as Kamal Mahal or Chitragani Mahal. You aren't allowed to enter it, so all you can do is admire it from the outsides. The elephant stables on the other hand can be entered and explored. The structures are so massive and to have believed that elephants were once kept inside them is astounding!
LAKSHMI NARASIMHA STATUE
The Lakshmi Narasimha Statue is the largest monolith statue all around HAMPI. It is located around the Hemakuta group of temples, on the Hemakuta hill. The temple is dedicated to Lord Narasimha and goddess Lakshmi.
Coming to the Hippie Island side of Hampi, we hired the same auto guy who agreed to take us to the other side of Hampi for 900 indian rupees.
ANJANEYA TEMPLE - HANUMAN TEMPLE
The locals told me that it was on this hill that Hanuman was born. It's a few kilometers from hippie island. You need to climb the Anjaneya Hill to visit this temple. The temple is located on the banks of the Tungabhadra river and can be seen flowing from the temple. You could even go down near the river through small passage ways.
Views of the Tungabhadra river
If you're looking for old historical temples on this side of Hampi you're going to be disappointed. The newer temples are usually located here where you can do darshan and puja, as was this temple. At this point we were a little disappointed as the main goal for coming to Hampi was looking more at the historical side of it. So we asked the auto guy to take us back to the main Hampi city where we could explore more temples, and the ones that we missed out.
Locals around the Durga temple, who were keen to take a selfie!
SRI KRISHNA TEMPLE
Back to the historical architecture side, and all happy to begin exploring again- we visited the Sri Krishna temple which was dedicated to Lord Balakrishna. It is listed as part of the World Heritage Monuments by UNESCO. This temple is known for its exquisite and elaborate carvings adorned with pillared walls and numerous shrines.
SASIVEKALU GANESHA TEMPLE
Hindu mythology says that Ganesha was known for his love for food. Since he consumed too much food his stomach was on the verge of bursting due to which they tied a snake around his stomach to prevent it from bursting open. This is visible in the statue at this temple.
This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is a holy place for worship. The temple also has an elephant from which you can seek blessings. Surrounding the temple are the markets and local shopping area from where you could buy mementos.
It is right opposite to the Virupaksha temple, inbetween the bazaar area. It consists of a huge rock carved into the shape of a bull, again another engineering marvel!
Last but not the least to end the trip, having lunch from the most famous Mango Tree hotel is a must in Hampi! Great vibe and ambience along with the nicest food you can find around here. From local cuisines to pizzas you get them all. I’m going to write a more detailed blog on this in my Eat section!
Hampi easily takes up the top spot among my 'historical places of South India' list without a doubt. Every inch of this place is filled with valuable history, that you would be inclined to know more about. I for one, learnt a lot from my trip. I guess this is what happens when you start falling in love with a place, it drives you to learn more about its culture, heritage and the people.
I hope Hampi is on your bucketlist, and you end up crossing it soon!