We took the KSTRC bus from Bangalore to Hospet, a small town around 15km from Hampi. We reached Hospet at 6.00AM in the morning and headed straight to Hampi in an auto. We had booked our stay with Padma guest house, just opposite the Hampi bus stand. After a quick nap and an English breakfast, we started our journey to explore the city.
Our first visit was to the Virupaksha temple, located just outside the Hampi Bazaar. We hired a local guide to show us around the temple. He briefed us about the glorious past of Hampi, of the diamond and the pearl markets and also about the temple. Historically speaking, this temple has an uninterrupted history from about the 7th century. The temple contains the shrines of Lord Shiva, Pampa and Bhuvaneswari. We were also bestowed with the blessing of Lakshmi, the sacred elephant in the temple!
We then took a guided Auto tour to explore the sprawling ruins site spread over an area of 24km. We first visited the Kadlekaalu Ganesha and the Saasive Kaalu Ganesha situated on the top of the Hemkuta hills. The locals are not allowed to worship these idols because the Moguls had destroyed these idols.
We then visited the Krishna temple, Pushkarani and the temple of lord Narasimha. Also adjacent to the Narasimha temple, is temple of lord Shiva which is believed to be always submerged in the water. The source of this water still remains to be a mystery. With sun pouring his heat on our head, we braked for a round of coconut water.
The next place for exploration on our agenda was the Elephant stable, Lotus Mahal and Ranga temple. The Hindu-Islamic architecture of this place was a sight to watch. Before visiting this place, the auto driver showed us two identical rocks named after two sisters “Sita and Gita” who were cursed for disturbing a sage. Quite hilarious!!!
After a round of photographs around this Hindu-Islamic architecture, we visited the Mahanavami Dibba (place from where the Maharaja/king used to see the dance performances during the Navaratra time) and Hazara RamaTemple. This temple has pictorial carvings of Ramayana.
Our final destination was the Vithala temple which also houses the famous 7 main musical pillars & 7 smaller pillars surrounding each of these main pillars. These 7 pillars represent a musical instrument and when struck, emanate the 7 notes from the representative instrument, varying in sound quality based on whether it represents a wind, string or percussion instrument. Unfortunately, these pillars are no more for public use.
After an exhausting yet enjoyable exploration jaunt, we headed for a late lunch to the famous Mango Tree restaurant, based on the banks of Tungabhadra River. Evening we decided to chill out in the guest house itself.
Sunday morning, we wanted to cross the river and visit the other side called Anegundi. To our disappointment, the river was overfull and we were not allowed to cross it. We then decided to re- explore Hampi on our own on a bicycle.
We first cycled to the south of Hampi bazaar, to take a small coracle ride to explore the “hidden” things in the small islet just across the river.
We then cycled to 2km west of Hampi bazaar through the banana plantation to view small waterfalls. With just 4km of pedaling, our adventure with cycle came to an end and we headed for lunch followed by an afternoon nap for couple of hours.
By the time we freshened up, it was time to bid adieu to this mysterious town. We rented an auto and left at 6.30PM, to visit the Tungabhadra dam in Hospet. We finally boarded our bus back to Bangalore in the midnight.
In the hindsight, even though considered as city of ruins, Hampi vividly speaks about its past glory and regal majesty. That’s the charm of Hampi………. I would definitely want to visit it again.