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Hampi visit



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Located 15 kms from Hospet and 350 kms from Bangalore the world heritage site of Hampi is a village in northern Karnataka.

The approach to Vijayanagara shows little sign of habitation, small towns and fields small rock formations do not actually speak of the lost splendor of the once prosperous Vijayanagara empire and the city of Hampi within it. As one approaches Hami we find the city in ruins - pillars, crumbled halls and naked foundations make it hard to imagine what it had been earlier. Further driving downhill we reach the Tungabhadra valley where the Virupaksha Temple nestles cozily. As we drive through we find it hard to match the place with the grandeur we have learnt about the place in the reign of Krishnadevaraya, who made Vijayanagar the greatest empire of South India. Incidentally, the Virupaksha Temple is the only un-destroyed structure in the whole of Hampi, a stark reminder of the six months of plunder and vandalism that followed the fall of the empire in 1565.

The ruins of Hampi lie in 26 sq. kms and it takes half a day to walk around with a guide who gives you the illusion of every ruin what it was a few centuries ago. Half of the city was dug out in the last 20 decades and still the archeology survey is actively working out new sites hence new additions to the older ones might call you back to thsi lest trodden place in Karnataka. The first stop is the Virupaksha Temple, the 120-foot tower of which is still the tallest in whole of Karnataka. The temple, parts of which are older than Vijayanagar, has some excellent specimens of roof paintings. The 6.7-m monolith of Laxminarasimha is one of the more photographed icons of Indian history. Restoration attempts have brought back some of its mutilated grandeur, but legend has it that the original image with Laxmi sitting on the lap of the Narasimha, was, and maybe still is, unparalleled in Indian art.

Similar are the monolith Mustard Ganesha and the even bigger Kadalekallu Ganesha, that can dwarf even the biggest idols of the Elephant God one has set eyes on. The latter for instance was carved out of a single granite stone into its present 4.5-m, though badly mutilated, existence. The royal residential areas, the three great bazaars one of which used to trade exclusively in precious stones and the fort all stand tall even in their vandalised forms. The Lotus Mahal, in the water-cooled confines of which the queens used to spend sultry summers days, and the equally regal Queens Bath, both in early Islamic style, were thankfully saved from the axe of the plundering hordes.

The Vijaya Vittalla Temple, the grandest of the metropolis' structures, was however not that lucky. This temple was an ode in stone to the great victories of Krishna Devaraya and his illustrious predecessors. The stone chariot, for instance, marks his conquest of Orissa a small-scale attempt to recreate the ones at Konark. But the real wonder lies within the Hall of Musical Pillars. Even with half its roof on the temple floor, each pillar emanates a different note or sound of a musical instrument. The carvings on the temple walls are also unique because of its eye for detail and craftsmanship. However, great stone foundations are all that remain of the palaces and darbars where Tenali Rama honed his craft, their sandalwood structures long reduced to ashes. It is said that when the city burnt, the whole region was filled with the scent of sandalwood, and that too for 45 days. A round of Hampi, however short, takes you back into an age when the city and its inhabitants had no counterparts in the realms of power and wealth. But to put the experience to words is no easy task.






 

 
Karnataka
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Ideal time to Visit - October - March
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June to October is a season of incessant rains. Bengaluru is plesant throughout the year, most cultural events and shows take place in winter season. In September you can watch the Kali Podu in Coorg. Summer lasts from  April to June, Monsoon from June to September and Winter from December to January.

The end of monsoons is the best time to view waterfalls in Karnataka. Beaches lie Malpe, Karwar, Marwanthe can be best enjoyed from August to March.
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