I’d heard friends and fellow travellers rave about Hampi over the years, so it was top of the list on my most recent trip to India.
Arriving on a bumpy overnight bus from Bangalore, I was greeted with the pinky orange hues of sunrise and a strange landscape of ancient ruins and huge oversized boulders dotted along the horizon. I felt like i’d landed on another planet. Finally I'd made it to Hampi.
And I didn't leave for three weeks.
Three weeks of wandering around bare foot, swimming in local lakes and rivers, visiting ancient temples, learning to ride a scooter, spotting the most vibrantly coloured birds, eating masala dosas and clambering up boulders to sunset point every day where the “Chai boys” would sell sweet hot tea after school and people would come together to play music.
A UNESCO world heritage site and ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Hindu Vijayanagara empire in the 14th century, Hampi attracts not only backpackers but pilgrims from all over India who come to visit Virupaksha Temple, one of the holiest temples in the country.
Hampi is one of those places where everyone seems to linger much longer than anticipated or return time and time again. Stories of unexpected delays aren’t unheard of either… I was even bitten by a dog meaning I couldn’t leave on time!
Perhaps the allure of Hampi lies in its surreal landscape with its golden boulders and bright emerald green rice fields, or perhaps it’s the captivating ruins as far as the eye can see, or maybe it’s the friendly pilgrims you’ll meet, or the mystical tales of Gods and Goddesses. Whatever it is, there’s something really magical about this place and you’ll always be happy in Hampi.