Over the last few years there has been an increased interest among travelers to check out the magnificent ruins of Hampi, that has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tourists from the country and abroad have been making a beeline for this scenic place located near Hospet town in Karnataka. Vast stretches of boulder-strewn hills make the backdrop of Hampi quite unique and their rusty hues are offset by jade-green palm groves, banana plantations and paddy fields. Dotted around the hills and valleys are over 500 monuments.
The name Hampi is evolved from Pampa, the ancient name of the river Tungabhadra. Also Pampa is the daughter of Brahma, the Creator God. She was a devoted worshiper of Shiva, the God of Destruction. Impressed by her dedication Shiva offered her a boon and she opted to marry him! The place thus came to be known as Pampakshetra (land of Pampa) and Shiva as Pampapathi (consort of Pampa).
If you are left wondering how on earth does the place have giant-sized boulders, then you need to know that geologist believe unlike most of the mountain ranges, the boulder heaps of Hampi were not formed as a result of volcanisms or of any uplift in the earth’s crust. The boulders were once part of gigantic granite monoliths (massive mountain of rock). Tens of millions (some even put it as a few billions) of years of erosion thanks to the natural forces (sun, storm, wind etc) made the surface of the monoliths crack, split and eventually metamorphed in to its present forms.
The Archaeological Museum of Hampi is the centre attraction that brings together collections of sculptures and assorted antiques under one roof. Another tourist attraction is Anegundi, the supposed site of Kishkindha from the Ramayana. It is dotted with shrines small and big, dedicated to the legendary vanars Bali, Sugriva, and Hanuman. Many also visit the Monkey Temple on Anjanadri Hill in Anegundi since it is closely linked to the Ramayana.
Vittala Temple is an ancient monument located on the southern bank of the Tungabhadra River and one of the most famous structures in Hampi. The main mandapa contains 56 musical pillars, also known as Saregama pillars, which emanate musical notes when the pillars are tapped.
The biggest tourist concentration happens at the Hampi Bazaar, a village crammed with budget lodges, shops and restaurants, and towered over by the majestic Virupaksha Temple. Tranquil Virupapur Gaddi across the river has become a new popular hangout.
Before the sun gets a little too harsh, pack your bags and head to Hampi. You surely won’t be disappointed.