One of the most magnificent landscapes we have ever seen on earth is in the center of India. Hampi, A World Heritage Site in the province of Karnatika is spectacular.
Driving up to the ancient ruins surrounded by giant boulders in our rickshaw from Hospet is spellbinding. We have witnessed many ruins in our travels, but for some reason, this place feels special. And it is special. Hampi (pronounced humpy) is one of the few World Heritage Sites that still functions as it has for centuries. People live and work among the ruins. Stores and business are a part of the complex. Guest houses are set right in the bazaar. Palm groves spring up around ruins and children bathe at the bottom of its steps.
Most of Hampi's ruins are free and accessible and tourist can walk and shop in the bazaar easily imagining what it was like half a millennium ago.
When I heard about these ruins among the boulders, I had an idea in my mind that there would be a few large rocks kicking around. But I had no idea that the entire landscape would be littered with giant ginger coloured boulders for as far as the eye can see. Every size and shape imaginable, it is absolutely remarkable.
Formed by volcanic activity and erosion centuries ago, it is as unique of view as you will ever see. The ruins are set within the rocks and have become a part of the landscape.
Walking to the top of Hemakuta Hill for sunset gives you a complete view of the area. Ruins dating back to the 1300‘s are scattered among miles of green palm trees and rocky rolling hills.
You can look down into the bazaar and over towards other ruins in the area. Towering high above the Hampi Bazaar is Virupaksha Temple standing at 50 meters high.
Boulders balance on the slanted sheer rock hill above our heads and the mystery remains on how they have not toppled over. Watching sunset is a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the bizarre below and you can explore more ruins that litter the hill.
Children sell chai and practice their English, monkeys play among the structures and if you are lucky, you may watch the sun go down as a flautist plays a mellow tune.
It is a short walk back to the Bazaar where the energy at once comes alive again. People sell everything from jewelry to flutes, sarongs to banana’s just as they have done for hundreds of years before.
Rickshaw from Hospet (Main train and bus hub) 150 Rs
Good choices for food -Gopi Guest House, Mango Tree, Shanti Italian Bakery
To Cross River – 15 Rs per person Plus 5 Rs per bag. Across the river is a nice laid back atmosphere and a great place to stay, although we enjoyed staying in the Bizarre ourselves.
Decent rooms can be found for 250 Rs
Internet 40 – 50 Rs per hour-Good and fast at Sree Rama Cyber Cafe
Bike Rental – 60 Rs per day