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Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Hitchhiker's journey to the Hampi

Ever since I read about this place called Hampi in my school history books it was an instant entrant in my must visit places. Being a big history buff Hampi got me excited each and every time I read something new about its lustrous historical background. So after two and a half years and with multiple failed attempt to plan a trip to Hampi, I along with my partner in crimes Akash and Sourav finally made a trip out to Hampi in the last week of week of January’17. Call it a curious case of my procrastinating mind I am yet to write about any of my past travelling experience be it the Ooty trip or a trek to Kumar Pravata but with this out I hope to come out with the rest soon.

Hampi is located on the banks over Tungabhadra around 385 km from Bangalore towards north of Karnataka. It was the capital to the glorious Vijaynagara Empire and was accounted as one of the richest city in the world at its peak. Now gone are the Empires and the riches and all that remains are the acres and acres of ruin singing an ode to the beautiful time it had.

 There are multiple ways one can travel to Hampi with Trains and buses both state-owned and private available. Hampi Express run every day from Mysuru via Bangalore to Hubli, be it by train or bus one needs to get down at Hosapete as it is the nearest hub to Hampi and is around 13 km from Hampi. From Hosapete private autos and buses ran by KSTRC are easily available for en-route to Hampi.With the only cars we drove was in the video game Need for speed and unable to book train ticket, We started for Hampi from Bangalore  on 26th January at around 10.30 via a Night Sleeper Bus.

After a big dose of wholesome breakfast we started off our Hampi Exploration.

Day1: Though there were many guides available around but we wanted to stick by ourselves so we bought a copy of map and started off .Though we were by our foot one can opt for bike or cycle which can be easily avail for rent. First of many to come was the majestic Virupaksha Temple dedicated to  Virupaksha, a form of lord Shiva, the temple serves as the very  heart of Hampi. Followed next was the Hemakuta Temples on the HemaKuta hills. The hill provides breathe taking view of the Virupaksha temple and also adores a sunset point. From the Underground Shiva Temple, gigantic area of King’s audience Hall, Lotus Mahal to the grand Queen’s bath we were left  in complete awe each and every time. The last to the many for the day was the Stone Chariot of Vithala Temple. As the day was coming to an end with the final rays of the sun embracing the land, we took our way back along the riverside. The Thungabhadra was serene, calm and took pride in itself. For centuries it witnessed rise and fall of empires with each and every wave has a different story it whispers along.

Day2: It all started with a trek to the top with Matanga hill serving as an ideal point for witnessing the enchanting sunrise. Sunrise in Hampi are magical and to add to it the hymns from the temples all around that can be heard till the very top of the hill make it even better. The second day of the trip unfolded the other side of Hampi which I was completely unaware off. The land on the other side of the Tungabhadra paves its way into the Ramayana Era. From the Monkey temple at Anjana hill, the birthplace of lord hanuman, to the Sugreev,Bali caves and the Chintamani temple every other structure was very relatable all thanks to Doordarshan and Ramanand  Sagar.

Though we missed out on few places like the Bali’s fort  but the second too was very fruitful and with a blissful we concluded our Hampi journey by boarding the bus back home from Hosapete.

Few key notes:
1. Tickets for Hampi express are not available at ease and one need’s to book it minimum 2-3 weeks prior to be on the safer side.
2. At peak times guest house are not easy to find in Hampi. One needs to book it prior or might end up staying a Hosapete or Kamala Nagar.
3. The nearest ATM is at around 5 km from Hampi and all the transaction inside Hampi is with cash, so carry enough cash.
4. It’s hot and I would not advise anyone to visit it during summer. If you do make sure you carry enough sun screen.

Hope you find this helpful, would like to hear your Hampi Experience and if you are the ones that are still chalking out plans to visit it mark my words you would be disappoint, It’s a gem of a place.