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Last Updated : Nov 17, 2015 09:24 PM IST | Source:

Hampi: The land of historic treasure

This is how I would describe the Ghost Town of Hampi. For a traveler like me, entering this town is as good as being a kid in a candy store where he is lost in an excitement of actually wondering where to go next and what to choose.

Imagine yourself in a town - where irrespective of the road you take or the turn you make, you end up in front of a historic treasure – waiting and beckoning you to enter and discover more.

This is how I would describe the Ghost Town of Hampi. For a traveler like me, entering this town is as good as being a kid in a candy store where he is lost in an excitement of actually wondering where to go next and what to choose.

Located in Karnataka, this UNESCO World Heritage site attracts visitors not just from India but from world over. An erstwhile capital of the Vijayanagara Kingdom, Hampi offers its visitors some really unique ancient monuments with lovely architecture and a fair amount of science added to it. Amongst the numerous attractions here in Hampi, here are a pick of 5, which are absolutely a “must-do”.

1) Virupaksha Temple

The center point of Hampi, it is unlikely that you will miss this majestic looking temple. The one thing that struck me about this temple is that itseemed to change colors during the different time of the day. The main gopuram or temple top has some really classical carvings of deities on it.

The temple pillars are magnificently carved and very welcoming. One unusual feature of this temple is a small room which has an inverted shadow of the main gopuram falling on its walls. This phenomenon occurs through a small pin-sized hole in the room. Whether by design or accident, this sure is a fascinating occurrence.

2) Vittala Temple

A temple that not just awes you with its beautiful carvings but amazes you with its acoustics. As you step into this lovely temple premise, the first thing that catches your eye , is the gorgeous Stone Chariot.

Dedicated to Lord Garuda, this chariot has some really artistic carvings. They say that the wheels of the chariot used to turn earlier but owing to the wear and tear, have now been fixed.

Once you are over this splendid piece of work, you will notice that the remaining temple shrines have equally remarkable workmanship. Each pillar in the main temple has a different sculpture – mostly those of musical instruments and sounds.

And that is not all. Each of these pillars when tapped makes the same sound as depicted by the musical instrument that has been carved on it. It is said that the temple was used for musical and dance performances and these very musical pillars were used as instruments to provide music to the dancers.

3) Hawa Mahal

Lotus temple or the Hawa Mahal is a beautiful and symmetrical monument within the premises of the Queen’s Palace. It has two floors – the ground and the first.

The upper one is out of bounds but you walk around the ground floor to spot some aqueducts that were used to take water up and spray it around for the palace was cooled down. You can even spot an ancient well near the Mahal – which was possibly the source of the water for the aqueducts.


Within the same premises - the Zenana Enclosure, you can also, explore the watch towers, the elephant’s stables and Royal Treasury.

4) Royal Enclosures

This begins with the majestic King’s pavilion, from where the King was rumored to sit and watch the Holi and Dusshera celebrations. The pavilion still stands tall and offers some interesting views.

In the same enclosure, you will find a very artistic and precisely cut Step well. Surrounding the same, are ruins of some ancient canal systems that were used to transport water. Another intriguing part is an underground chamber that is between the stepwell and the pavilion – kind of a secret meeting room for the King.

Within the same premises, you can even visit the gigantic swimming pool, get a glimpse of the massive dinner plates that were used by the soldiers and note the huge gigantic doors that stood at the entrance of this enclosure.

5) Queen's Bath

Open to the sky, this Royal bathing enclosure is a complete “ancient Spa” with its small circular corridors, ancient tables, small jharokas and its own aqueduct system. As you walk around the bath, you will be able to spot the water inlets and outlets. It is said that the bath was generally filled with perfumed water and fragrant flowers while the small circular corridors were used as changing rooms and for royal Spa treatments. Amazing, right?

While these are definite “Must Dos” of Hampi, there are plenty of other interesting heritage sites - like the Underground Shiva Temple that is partially submerged in water and one needs to wade through to reach the inner sanctums or the Hazara Ram Temple that has some amazing artistic work.

It is not just the sight-seeing that will amaze you but the food here too. Don’t be surprised to see Israeli and Arabic food on the menu of the local restaurants in Hampi. With the large influx of visitors from this part of the world, it seems like a natural extension to the Indian food. And trust me, it is as good as it looks.

So, while you plan your next holiday to the Historic Hampi, here are some quick travel tips that should help you get there:

1) Bangalore is the nearest airport to Hampi. It is around 340 kms and one can reach Hampi either by road or rail.

2) Hospet , 12 kms from Hampi is the best place for accommodation.  It is also, the nearest railway station to Hampi

3) There are plenty of restaurants near the Hampi Bazaar

4) One can explore Hampi on foot or with cycles. Cycles are easily available on rent at the Hampi Bazaar. Cars are allowed on the main roads, but to see a monument, you will have to walk.

5) Hiring an authorized guide is recommended as there is a lot of history and detailing that needs to be explained.

6) Best time to visit is between September to February. You can also, wait for the Hampi festival that happens in 1st or 2nd week of January.

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First Published on Nov 17, 2015 07:49 pm
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