Hampi - A Marvel in Stone
The best kind of trips are the ones we don't plan on and even though this particular trip was planned, we never expected it to be to Hampi. Me and my friend, Vinod Ranganathan were so excited to go to the famous Puri Jaganath temple, but cyclone fani lead us to choose a quick contingency plan. Thus, we started our journey to Hampi in hopes that it will satisfy our thirst to witness the architectural marvels of our nation.
Like every great other great city of ancient India, Hampi is also situated on the banks of one of the most breathtaking rivers of south India, the tungabhadra. The pampa river of ramayana, named after Lord Shiva’s wife and Lord Brahma’s daughter along with the rocky terrains created naturally by the river flow creates the perfect mythical, religious and geographical uniqueness to create such a majestic dynasty on Hampi.
We had 5 days to explore around Hampi and all its beauty. We were blessed with beautiful June clouds that brought out an exquisitely characteristic sky during the coveted golden hours of sunrise and sunset that is every photographer’s dream.
Our first stop was at Virupaksha temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This superstructure on the banks of river Tungabhadra is a 7th century pilgrim site that was started as a small shrine to the lord and developed later into the astonishing temple it is now. That makes it one of india’s oldest temples that are still an active pilgrim spot and earns its place in the world heritage sites of UNESCO. Its awe inspiring excellence can only be described as a timeless beauty and standing proof to our ancestor’s prowess.
Next stop, the ever so famous ruins of Hampi, the Vijaya Vittala temple. Once a temple of vast grandeur dedicated to Lord Vishnu, they are now left in ruins due to attack by the Mughals. The sheer brilliance of the structure would miss to impress very few people even its ruined state and leaves us wondering how it might have been once upon a time, when it stood in all its glory. We have all seen the stone chariot of Hampi numerous times in movies and photos but seeing it in reality took my breath away.
We planned to explore as much as possible of the other wonderful sites of Hampi in the last two days left of our trip. Hazara rama temple and the Pushkarini stepwells were suggested to us by the “oh, so friendly” auto annas of the town. The Hazara rama temple literally means “temple of thousand Ramas” and it lived up to its name with a thousand sculptures of lord rama that tells the story of Ramayana.
Travelling is when one can really push and test their boundaries and still have fun. I was so overwhelmed with everything going on in Hampi with such a short timespan to take it all in and ended up managing both the travel video and photography simultaneously for the first time. Shuffling between the two was challenging, to pay attention to the settings between video and photography modes. Yet, in retrospect, a true challenge and an exhilarating experience is what travelling is all about.