In this short and crisp travel diary, Topasish Bhattacharjee offers a note on historical significance and present day charm of much acclaimed Hampi. Since we celebrated National Tourism Day on 25th January, this essay might be relevant for many
It is said that studying history enables us to develop better understanding of the world in which we live. I always had that curiosity to know about history and in fact in school I used to eagerly wait for our History teacher to enter the class and teach us about our history. I vividly remember how our teacher used to make the subject very interesting.
In our textbook we had a chapter called “Kingdom of Vijayanagara”. The way our teacher used to teach us about the kingdom made me travel backwards. So I decided that someday I will visit the Kingdom and later on it was in my bucket list. It was during the month of August 2018, I decided that I would visit Hampi. Just a 365 Kilometers away from the state capital of Karnataka, Bengaluru, Hampi is well connected from Bengaluru by trains and bus service. The nearest Railway Station and Bus Stand is located in Hospet. I boarded a bus from Bengaluru and it took almost 6 hours for me to reach Hospet. Hospet to Hampi is just 13 kilometers journey, I took an auto-rickshaw and reached Hampi and then I checked in a hotel. There are multiple options to stay in Hampi like Home-stays or small lodges or guest houses near the market area.
Vijayanagara, the kingdom is located in the central region of Karnataka, whose ruins surround present day Hampi. Hampi was the capital of the kingdom in the 14th century. It is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. From historical perspective, Hampi has many things to offer. Each and every pillar or stone has a story to tell. In the earlier days, Hampi was known as Pampa-kshetra, Kishkindha-kshetra or Bhaskara-kshetra. Hampi is like an open museum or I will call it as wonderland. I just explored the place at my own pace and studied its beauty. There are many things to see. Before reaching Hampi I studied about the place in depth and made a note. There are many temples located in Hampi. One of the most prominent temples is Virupaksha temple which is located on the banks of Tungabhadra River. This temple is very auspicious for those people who worship Lord Shiva. The Temple stands tall and has a grand structure over a very big and large area with many other small temples or shrines. The temple is very interesting when it comes to valuing its engineering potential.
Kishkindha-kshetra is the other name of Hampi, it is also said that Vanara Kingdom of Kiskinda during the time of Ramayana was actually here.
Hampi was always a battlefield and many battles were fought in this place. Delhi Sultanate especially Alauddin Khalji invaded southern India and the Hoysala Empire was destroyed. When Wadiyar dynasty aligned with British they defeated Tipu Sultan and the region came under British rulers.
If you are interested in History or Heritage of India, Hampi is the ideal place to visit because I as a traveler and an explorer of different places discovered wonders in this quaint, charming place. My visit to Hampi has been indeed a memorable trip as I could explore so much and bring back a treasure trove of experiences.
Featured photgraph by Jayjit Nag
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Topashish is from Shillong and grew up staying very close to nature that is why he is a nature lover. He is a very passionate about travelling and travels across the year along with his camera.