Saturday, August 05, 2006

Romancing rocks and ruins -Hampi

It was a small sleepy town - like any other in India... a noisy auto stand... peddlars on the road... homes with dung washed "porches" and Kolams in rice flour... cows and crows an inherent part of the landscape - natives here seem to realise that locked in this setting is some thing very beautiful - but whether they themself identify with it is an unanswered question. The laidbackness of the town is a boon - the whole place is quiet and peaceful and the town-life in no way hampers the experience of the place.

Yes, this would have been just another town amongst the million in India, except for the fact that it sprouted on top of the erstwhile capital of the Vijayanagar Kingdom - It is surrounded by the most beautiful ruins and lies cradled in a land of rocks - as much as the place is filled with huge boulders and stark rock facades, it is contrasted with lush dark green bananana and coconut trees - you do a double take and wonder if you have beed transported to kerala. Ofcourse, the green of this place owes it to one of India's arterial rivers - the Tungabdara.

Adding to the air of this quaint cosmo town are the small shops selling bags made of mirrors and bells and the westernised version of indian attire for the firangs and dhabbas serving soem of the most exotic cuisines ever - They may not be able to spell it, but neverthless almost every dhaba serves a range of pasta's , porridges, risottos and some very good cheese omlettes - And ofcourse, the 'Mango Tree' restaurant is a must check out - it is seate on the mountain slopes overlooking the valley below - the place is even better at night when they serve dinner by lantern light!

Hmm.. I wasnt going to write much about hampi, and let my photos speak for themselves - but couldnt stop myself! I think this place deserves a very laid back visit - no need to tick off all the ruins on the list - chill out at the ones which are least crowded , maybe get a book to read - enjoy a tea on the banks of the river - take a coracle (suacer like boats) ride and laze in the beauty of the place - try the "different" cuisines. My personal favorite spot was the rock formations bang opposite to the Virupaksha- Steps and a small stage flanked by huge boulders on both sides - you trek up this place, to a point where you get a beautiful view of the achutharaya temple. While a lot of blogs mention the sunrise, I've seen better in my life - but the view from on top of matunga hill is lovely and wonderfully windy and refreshing.

As usual - some other blog info i liked ..
If dreams were made of rocks - karnataka Tuorism
A drive to hampi
All about Hampi

There is also a tourist office in the hampi market which provides u a map of the ruins plus there are tourist guides who speak english.


R. said...

hey Miz N. Thanks for dropping by my blog. You've got a nice blog going (even though I was greeted by a dung washed porch). Nice pictures!!

Sriram said...

hey nice... seems like a good one.. i have only seen photographs and some snapshots in Malgudi Days( or was it not? I m not so sure).. def.. this one added to my list :)

littlecow said...

did you check out the sound off the pillars? it was like watching magic -- strange, unbelievable and yet very real! my favorite view was while entering the town through the town gate (past the view you describe) -- you get to see the mountains, the greenery and the ruins all in one go. and to top it all, there is this feeling of sitting there with the night-watchman of the town, under a burning cloth (whats that lamp called), pondering about what lay beyond the mountains. hampi was one of my fav spots!

Mridula said...

Never been to Hampi and I guess in this life we are too busy ticking off places in the Indian Himalayas :)

Enjoyed your photos from Hampi.