" I can't believe, at such years earlier , they had the capacity to do this. Build such a thing of art , carved out of rocks and stones " I told my co travelers observing the fine finish of the iconic stone chariot in Vittala temple. This chariot is the prime jewel of the crown among all the exquisite rock and stone cut art and architecture one finds in the vicinity of Hampi. Years ago , this region was the capital of a Hindu stronghold , The vijaynagara empire, and Hampi today was a part of that big city.
In its prime days of power , vijayanagar had a population of 5 million people and was one of the biggest cities in the known world then. The golden days had spread over from 11th - 16th century A.D , after which , with time , as inevitable to every story or city , it went into ruins. Today those ruins talk of their past and pride through the multiple walls , bathing places , palaces , gardens , markets , military bases and temples that are spread through out the regions of Hampi.
There are more than hundreds of those architectures, proving how big and mighty the city was once , but among them all, we chose a certain few which had captivated our interest. Here are the ones we visited.
Virupaksha temple , situated in main bazaar, is still in use and is popular among local people comming from all around the state and country to worship lord Shiva. We also had a friendly encounter with the temple holy elephant which was fun.
Prasanna Temple , also known as underground Shiva temple, is quiet an interesting place to be considering it half hidden underground.
Vittala Temple , the most famous of them all , with its stone chariots , musical pillars and mandapas all being carved out of stone is undoubtedly, strucks the chord of amazement in you.
The sense of pride for one's own history is sure to come when you see such grandeur and feat achieved in such age when technology did not have so much advancement. The heritage ruins of Rome or Athens, can easily be given a competition if one beholds this marvels at Hampi surely. I still find it so hard to understand how those amazing things were built.
We spent the whole second day of Hampi going around , learning and observing our own history. A good dinner and an exciting discussion session made us sleep late , which in turned had an impact on late start of our day. Though the scorching sun and heat troubled us , but we were marvelled by the wonders we saw and carried on exploring as much of history as possible. Hence, it would be advisable to start early morning to go around the temples and ruins for a better weather.
To go around this historical sites one can rent out bicycles or auto rickshaws, also hire a guide if you have too much interest to know the ins and outs of this amazing places. I would recommend to take one in Vittala temple at least , which is a treasure house of , history , culture , architecture and technology of that age.
After a whole day of such exploration of the past , our tired bodies craving for good food ended up in the must-to-eat Mango tree restaurant. We had been heavily recommended of it. But the truth is , the older mango tree which boasted good food by the side of tungabhadra river is no more due to ASI interference. And though the ambiance is good , the food was not too great to celebrate about. Hampi hosts a lot of good cafes to eat out , we found our personal favorite in The Laughing Buddha. It has a cool and chilled ambiance by the river , and has delicious foods.
My favorite experience from the day would definitely be the coracle ride. Coracle is a round boat made by the natives of south india to use as domestic transportation purpose across water bodies. The fun part is navigating it , as it is round and to circulate it inside the water. Gave us the feeling of merry - go - round as a kid, and I would ask everybody to do this wherever they find the opportunity.
After the dinner , one can walk across the dirt road under the starry skies , gazing or trying to figure out constellations, all of which are clearly visible due to such less pollution thankfully. Or you can just sit with friends and chat or talk about things in a mood full of joy and happiness. Or you can go off to sleep , if you plan to see the rising sun !!
Waking up at 6 in the morning I started for the sun rise, and two of my pals tagged along. Climbing the nearest boulder hill we settled for a respective favorite place to anticipate the sun rise and thus we saw. Even though the sunset viewing more beautiful , but somehow , sunrises gives hopes and brings love more to the soul. We just sat in silence , enjoying the peace and calmness and the sun rise of course. Reflections inside and outside the minds were inevitable , feelings , observing , noticing and actions everything was due. While comming down , we found some more peace and we sat sometimes more , adoring the calm paddy fields of green being touched and dancing in the breeze. The tall temple standing across the river and paddy fields towered the view , and the holy chants from the temple brought some spirituality. It whispered I guess in my ears that Life is nothing but this moments that we live , all and everything else is just a illusion to survive. Love and Happiness is all around and everything is our choice.
After such a good self time, the day could not had been anything less than great.
Note from the Author,
" Travel made me rich and free. Magic and miracles are true , once you wander on the roads to places different and divine. I have collected so many thoughts and stories while being a Tour & Trek guide for last seven years. Sharing with you all, those memories and stories , and wishing you all , that someday you guys travel far and wide too. I am not a great writer , so ignore my grammar and spellings, read it with feelings, and you might just be affected with the wanderlust to hit the road"