One of the best ways to enjoy life is to visit great places. Travel helps to widen your perspective on life. You realise the value of every moment and start savouring them so that they can last you a lifetime. However, a lifetime may seem too less particularly when you behold something as magnificent and magical as the Hampi ruins.
Ensconced between the roaring Tungabhadra and several small hills, Hampi in Hospet in Northern Karnataka has always been an alluring escapade for me. Being a student of history, ruins of forts, palaces and cities have always been a personal favourite. I had always wanted to visit one such place and feel the tingle of thrill running through my body. However, Hampi was beyond my wildest imaginations.
A veritable treasure trove of history, Hampi contains within its broken walls around 500 unique monuments which include basement of palaces, remnants of water structures, treasury buildings, beautiful temples, regal platforms and bastions, and even market areas. Every pillar in every pavilion and dais of every temple holds a different story. To savour those and keep hoping for more to come is definitely going to make you wish you had another lifetime to conclude the Hampi tour.
Historically also known as Pampa-Kshetra (the land of Pampa) owing to its geographical proximity to Pampa or the Tungabhadra river, Hampi opens a full discourse on ancient Indian history. The need to preserve the beauty and magnificence of these august structures, has led it to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This has further added to its popularity resulting in huge crowds who throng its gates to savour the glories of India’s rich history.
Everything about Hampi appealed to my naïve senses. The climate, the landscape and the monuments were in one word splendid. However, if you wish to tick your checklist and get done with it, Hampi is not for you. The place is like old wine. Just like you need to swirl the first sip in your mouth till the taste unfurls, similarly Hampi needs to be relished and not rushed. Keep ample time on your hands to admire every pillar in every monument; get blessed by Lakshmi, the adorable elephant waiting at the entrance of the Virupaksha temple one of the oldest structures of the area; trek the 2 km foot trail to visit Hampi’s Royal Centre which houses few of the major sites including the Zenana enclosure; and let the whole feeling of being in India seep into your souls.
Perceived in its various forms, namely, as a pilgrimage, an open museum and as a backpacker’s paradise, Hampi is no doubt cobbled with all things good and Indian.