Hampi - The temple town of Karnataka

Hampi is an ancient village of Karnataka, seat of various ruined temple complexes dating back to the Vijayanagara empire.

“Looking for the perfect nature/culture getaway in India, a hidden gem still protected from the disaster of Mass Tourism and allowing a green respite from the urban lifestyle? Hampi will overwhelm you.

The erstwhile capital of the 500 year old fascinating Vijaynagara empire, Hampi will bewitch you with its dazzling boulders, astounding ruins of a lost empire and its hidden age old temples. It requires quite a ride to reach this place but it is all worth it: more than 500 monuments constitute the Ruins of Hampi that today form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In fact, by 1500 CE, Hampi-Vijayanagara was the world's second-largest medieval-era city after Beijing, and probably India's richest at that time, attracting traders from Persia and Portugal. It was destroyed in 1565 by sultanate armies and has remained in ruins since. Today, 1600 remains of this grandiose past are spread over 4100 hectares of arid, undulating terrain.

Apparently created by commanders of the falling Hoysala empire, the Vijaynagra civilisation was founded in 1336. The Vijayanagara rulers fostered developments in intellectual pursuits and the arts, maintained a strong military and fought many wars with sultanates to its north and east. They invested in roads, waterworks, agriculture, religious buildings and public infrastructure. The site was multi religious (hindu and jain) and multi ethnic. It followed the stupendous art heritage of the South Indian styles, but also evolved into its specific art, which can be admired in the incredible elephant stables, the Lotus Mahal and its public baths.

A trip to Hampi could easily take you 4 days to really enjoy fully this exceptional scenery. It is really a great place to practice slow travel and offers a few really enjoyable hotel options, which are worth the travel in themselves as well. Try to avoid the market center options if you are not so much about backpacking style of travelers and prefer the boutique options around. This may require planning ahead as those options are easily filled during festivals.

You may take half day to reach and you will want to finish the day with a visit of the temple and a greeting to the sacred elephant, while enjoying the view on the borders and relaxing in your hotel.

On second day, you may enjoy the Sacred Centre around the main travellers’ circuit at Hampi Bazaar, towered over by the Virupaksha Temple and rent a bicycle to visit  the Royal Centre towards the southern village of Kamalapuram, wherein are housed the walled ladies’ quarters called Zenana Enclosure.  Further South you come across the majestic Tungabhadra dam as well as various Hindu temples. You might finish your day enjoying Korean food in one of the small restaurants in the city and enjoy an evening shopping for small piece of arts.

On day 3 Visit the 16th century Vitthala Temple, with its famed ‘musical’ pillars and sculpted Stone Chariot. Finally, on the other side of the river will allow you to enjoy beautiful and lively small and ancestral village temples, hidden on the side of the rivers or with the discovery of temples or pilgrimage sites on islands reachable through round shaped boats used by the locals.

On day 4, try to wake up early so you can travel to the kingdom of baloos. The Indian bears as well as a rich wildlife can be observed in the nearby area of Hampi. You can also decide instead to ascend the Anjaneya Hill, in Anegundi village and visit the Hanuman Temple, as the place is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman. After a nice lunch overlooking the boulders, you will be able to travel back home with a refreshed mind and sparkles in your eyes. ‘ - Mrs. Maud Le Bars

At Le Magnifique Travel, we can design a tailor made trip to this beautiful ancient town of Hampi. You can take more references from our below trip -