Hampi is a World Heritage Site and the past does indeed come alive in this amazing city of ruins. Spread across 29 sq km along the Tungabhadra River, this ancient Hindi city is the largest open air museum in the world. Founded in 1336, the magnificent Vijayanagar Empire fell to invaders 200 years later. What is left of the royal city are ruins that still carry the kind of mystery and magnificence that you just have to go and feel for yourself!
The best way to get to Hampi is NOT the way I got there with a bunch of others by road. After a gruelling 8 hour drive with many stops due to bad road conditions – although there’s always the benefit of seeing monkeys and goats and shepherds along the way – well, we were simply bushed. The best way I was told by locals is to take the train to Hospet, 12 km from Hampi and hire a local driver. Wouldn’t even dream of driving as a westerner since the hamlets and villages have no road signs; the Karnatakians in this state outside of the big cities also seldom speak English. Unless you speak Hindi, a local driver is a must to get around inside the Hampi site although scooters are on hire for those wishing to go on an adventure on own two wheels.
Let the pictures tell the tale of mystery & beauty and how incredibly adept the locals of the time must have been in carving and chiseling away at granite, yes granite is the stone these many architectureal treasures were carved out of close to 700 years ago.
- Vijaya Vittala Temple