Giant boulders perch over kilometres of undulating terrain and ruins and temples scatter the landscape in a stunning open museum of history, architecture and religion juxtaposed with palm groves, banana plantations and paddy fields. The World Heritage Site of Hampi, situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River in the eastern part of central Karnataka leaves travellers spellbound.
Otherworldly Hampi is located on the Deccan plateau, one of the oldest and most stable geographical formations in the world, dating back 2.5 billion years ago. Once the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, Hampi is considered to be the largest open monument and the “lost city of Asia’.
Among the artefacts you’d want to peruse include a queen’s bath, the Lotus Palace, a royal stable and a temple said to have been where the wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati took place.
The ruins are located in two sections: the Sacred Centre and the Royal Centre. Explore places like the Vittala Temple, Royal Enclosure, Kadalekalu Ganesha, Lotus Mahal and the Elephant Stables. The Riverside Ruins are also worth a gander, with several shrines, some partially submerged, dedicated to Lord Vishnu and other Hindu deities.
For your fill of chai, budget accommodation, artefacts, shops and restaurants, head to Hampi Bazaar, a bustling village crammed with backpackers, touts and travellers.
Listed second in The New York Times’ 52 Places to Go in 2019 list, Hampi truly rocks. Visit during the famous Hampi Festival of dance, music and cultural extravaganza scheduled for three days in the first week of November.