The magical world of Hampi

The magical world of Hampi

Virupaksha Temple. Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Hampi has been steadily gaining an increased number of tourists in the past decade. With New York Times recently putting it second on the list of 52 must-see destinations in the world, the UNESCO world heritage site is sure to attract more visitors.

The town is located on the banks of the Tungabhadra river and is part of the ruins of the Vijayanagara empire.  The place does not only blow your mind with fascinating stories of ancient civilizations but also gives a delightful experience of exciting outdoor activities.

Also read: Hampi voted as top Asian travel destination

Ancient history and architecture:

Hampi exhibits the largest open-air museum which covers an area of 4,100 hectares. What was one of the most flourishing civilisations is now in a state of ruins. That narrates stories of glory, art, culture, history and mythology and is overwhelming for spectators. 

Covering the entire destination requires a few days. Although the place is filled with many monuments, the Virupaksha temple is a good place to start off the journey with. The temple is dedicated to Virupaksha, a form of Lord Shiva. The place exhibits magnificent architecture that one should never miss out on. 

The musical pillars of the Vittala Temple produce melodious sounds when tapped upon. Other prominent landmarks are the Queen's bath, the stone chariot at the Vittala temple, the stepped water tank and the giant Hanuman statue.  The Ugra Narasimha Swamy statue, the largest monolith statue in Hampi, is another attraction.

Mythologies and legends:

Many people consider Hampi as an eye-opener for anyone who loves to learn about the roots of Hinduism.  According to mythology, Lord Shiva did penance thousands of years ago upon the Hemakuta Hill. 

Tales of Lord Shiva burning down Kama (the god of lust), marrying his devotee Pampa and the site playing an important part in the Ramayan are the few legends one would often hear on their visit to Hampi. 

The Anjaneya Hill in Hampi is debated to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman and believed to be true by the locals.

Nature and adventure:

Visiting the place is not just about history and splendid architecture but also about vibrant wildlife and thrilling outdoor adventures. Trekking up the Matanga Hill helps to grab a spectacular view of the sunrise and sunset and also get a glimpse of the town below.

The Daroji Bear Sanctuary is situated about 15 Kms from Hampi is well known for sloth bears. This Sanctuary is habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna and is thus a nature lover’s paradise. The river banks are an ideal spot for bird-watchers to capture a view of diverse species of Aves that visit. 

The best way to unravel more stories about the hidden mysteries and interesting facts of the historical site is by striking a conversation with the locals.