The drive to Hampi from our hotel Hyatt Place was nearly an hour. We chose a weekday to visit Hampi, weekends are more crowded.
As you get off the NH and drive through the winding SH into Hampi, a smile begins to form; a thrill of excitement and mystery overwhelms you (maybe it’s just me !?) It’s like you are going to see some lost treasure that you have read and heard so much about; and now it’s the moment of truth !! We are finally here in Hampi 💃!!
All along the roads, there are signs pointing to precious monuments. Where do you stop and start the exploration 😅? Will one day suffice to cover all the sites🤔? So many questions…❓
Hampi is actually the name of a village in the newly carved out Vijayanagara district of Karnataka.
Hampi and it’s surrounding area encompassed the old famed city of Vijayanagar; now all that remains of this once magnificent city are the ruins. Vijayanagar which translates to “City of Victory” was the capital of the mightiest empire of South India – the Vijayanagar Empire which derived its name from it’s magnificent capital.
The ruins themselves are striking to behold; but I did not want to visit Hampi merely to photograph the ruins and temples. I wanted to know the stories associated with these impressive monuments. It’s the stories that bring to life these stones which were once palaces, shrines and stables; it’s the narratives that add colour to the otherwise brown and grey landscape. The inscriptions on the monuments usually carry a date or name; but then how do you tell the story? The story of this forgotten empire has been pieced together from the narratives of travellers from diverse countries to these lands. It’s advisable to read a bit about the place, just to have a broad picture of what to expect and then probably let the guides enthrall you with their interpretations and twists in the tale.
The magnificence of Vijaynagar has been reconstructed from the records of several travellers to these lands across the centuries – Conti & Frederici from Italy, Abdur Razzaq from Persia, Barbosa, Paes & Nuniz from Portugal and so on.
Here are a few books on Hampi that I enjoyed:
 A Forgotten Empire (Vjayanagar) by Robert Sewell – He reconstructs the historic events that led to the formation, reign and ruin of the mighty Vijayanagar empire from the chronicles of Fernao Nuniz and Domingo Paes. It’s a fabulous account, reads like some historic fiction.
 Hampi Vijayanagara by John M Fritz & George Michell – This book is all about what to look out for in Hampi. It describes all the monuments in detail and even the stories, legends and myths behind them.
 Raya by Srinivas Reddy – This is the story of the greatest king to ascend the Lion Throne of Vijayanagara – Krishnadevaraya. It’s a beautiful account of the king, his faithful minister whom he called Appaji, the king’s love, his battles, victories, riches and finally the ruin.
The moment you step out of your vehicle, you are approached by people selling guides, maps, fridge magents and even postcards on Hampi. We ended up buying another small guide to Hampi plus some fridge magnets !
 Hampi World Heritage Area by Dr C S Vasudevan – It’s a guide, small and handy to take with you on the tour.
Two days are needed to cover all the monuments here; attempting to rush through them in one day is too ambitious. We tried and failed !! The monuments are spread around an area of 25 sq kilometre and each location has it’s own guide.
So where do we start? In the next post🤗 !
Till next post, take care !!