One of Karnataka’s most treasured gems, Hampi- a UNESCO world heritage site – boasts of exquisite ancient temples and palace remains belonging to the erstwhile Hindu kingdom of Vijaynagar. A travellers’ delight, Hampi was also listed second on The New York Times’ 2019 annual list of 52 must-see places across the world.
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At Hampi, the legacy of the 16th century Vijayanagar Empire is well-preserved. The stone temples and monoliths belonging to this era continue to attract visitors and devotees from across the globe.
Hampi may seem like a paradise for history lovers, but this quaint and sleepy town has a way of working its magic on you.
Stunningly beautiful, the grandiose and austere site has a lot to offer. Here’s how you can do Hampi right.
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The marvellous monuments and ruins
Located in the Hampi Bazar area, the Virupaksha Temple is the oldest monument of this austere site. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. A few kilometres to the east of Hampi Bazar, you can see the architecture marvel Vittal Temple, which stands witness to the splendour achieved by the artisans of Vijaynagar Empire. It is said that the outer pillar of the temple produced music when tapped.
The other places to see at the Hampi Bazar includes Sule Bazaar, Achutraya Temple, Kodandarama Temple and the monolithic statue of Lord Ganesh.
The other attraction is the royal centre near Kamalapuram. Here you can see the intricately designed Lotus Mahal, a blend of the Indo-Islamic architecture. You will even find the Queen’s Bath and the underground Virupaksha Temple, another two important attractions, here.
Anegondi- the other side of Hampi
Besides the main site of Hampi, you can even visit Anegondi, which is also home to several temples, and is famous among travellers for its hippy-style of living. To reach Anegondi, you can take a taxi boat ride – a joy ride you are sure not to forget.
Safari time: Bird and bear watching!
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Apart from experiencing the architecture marvel of the Vijaynagar Empire, you can even go for bird watching and trek to watch sloth bear lazing around in the sun. The Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary is located only 15 kms from Hampi and is worth a visit while in Hampi. The sanctuary is also famous for its wide variety of butterflies.
Try some Bouldering
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Hampi also has a lot to offer for thrill-seekers and adventure-seekers. You can try some bouldering at this world heritage site, courtesy the big boulders here. Goan Corner is one area near the Hampi Bazar which attracts a lot of visitors for bouldering. Getting your gear is also not a problem as you can rent it for as less as Rs 100.
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Take a bike tour
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You can even enjoy some bike tours in this quaint and sleepy village. Exploring this idyllic place on a bike can be a magical experience. You can rent a bike for a small amount of Rs 50 and some money for security and simply get going.
Explore Pattadakal, Aihole and Badami caves
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At around 40 kms from Hampi, Aihole is home to various 5th and 6th temples belonging to the Chalukya dynasty. The famous among them are a Durga Temple and a Buddhist Temple.
Pattadakal, the ancient capital of Aihole, is also home to three important temples.
At around 20 kms from Pattadakal is situated the cave temples of Badami – four temples dedicated to Nataraja, Lord Vishnu and Lord Mahavira, which are interconnected. At Badami, you can even visit the Agastya Theertha, a serene lake and a famous spot among tourists. If you are a trekking enthusiast, you can even trek up to the Badami Fort, which is famous for its ancient sculptures and carvings.