Travel to Hampi, the capital of one of the most glorious empires of India, the Vijayanagara empire, back in the sixteenth century. Hampi is supposedly, Kishkindha, the Vanara kingdom from Ramayana. Today, the temple town is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Hampi was witness to the glory days of the emperors of Vijayanagara, like Krishnadevaraya. It was also home to the witty Tenali Rama, who graced Krishnadevaraya’s court. The town was renowned for its riches as well as the rich culture, and played an important role in the history of Southern India for over two centuries. The place fell into despair after the fall of the Vijayanagara empire at the hands of Deccan sultanates in 1565. Today, Hampi is largely made up of the ruins from that glorious past. In terms of architecture, it is hard to top the splendor of rock-cut architecture of Hampi.
You will hear multiple stories from our expert and the local guide at Hampi on the glory of Vijayanagara empire and what makes Hampi special. The stories will go beyond the rise and fall of the mighty Vijayanagara empire and cover Hampi’s connection to Ramayana as the Kishkindha of the Vanaras. The architecture, heritage and stories that you will see, hear and experience are bound to leave you spellbound imagining the glorious past of Hampi.
We leave Bengaluru early morning and take the highway going north. We will make a stop or two on the way for breakfast, restrooms, some coffee/tea and reach Hospet in time for lunch. Hospet is the closest town/city to Hampi and will serve as the base for our trip. When we reach Hospet, we will first check-in to our hotel, freshen up, have lunch and then start the tour of Hampi.
Immediately after lunch, we will make the short trip from Hospet to Hampi and meet our local guide for Hampi. As we hear the many stories of Hampi from our expert and guide, we will visit the amazing sights that Hampi offers. We will see, among others, the magnificent statue of Ugra Narasimha, the Badavi Linga, the Krishna Temple & Bazaar, the two different statues of Lord Ganesha - Kadlekalu Ganesha & Sasivekalu Ganesha on Hemakuta hill. We will then visit the splendid ‘living’ temple in Hampi, Virupaksha Temple.
We will end our day back on Hemakuta hill with one of Hampi’s famous sunsets along with views of Virupaksha Temple.
After an early breakfast, we leave for Hampi such that we are one of the first to enter the Vijaya Vittala temple complex before the crowds come in. We will need the time and space to enjoy the famous Stone Chariot, the musical pillars and dance halls of Vijaya Vittala. After Vijaya Vittala, we will go see the Kings Balance and then take a walk along the Tungabhadra river banks from Vijaya Vittala to Virupaksha Temple. This walk will give us a feel of the rocky terrain (Kishkindha of Ramayana). During the walk we will see the Purandaradasa Temple, Sugreeva Cave, Narasimha Temple opposite Sugreeva Cave (with stories of Ramayana). Those willing for a little adventure can jump over a few rocks on the bank to see the Kotilingam - 108 Shivalingas carved on a rock. At the end of the walk we will see the monolithic bull, Yeduru Basavanna opposite Virupaksha temple at the other end of Virupaksha Bazaar.
For lunch, we will have local food from the villages around Hampi. There is nothing like local food to connect with the people of the region.
Post lunch, we will see the royal side of Hamp by visiting Zenana Enclosure, Lotus Mahal, Queen's Bath, Hazara Rama Temple, Elephant stables. We will also visit the recently discovered underground Shiva temple, Prasanna Virupaksha Temple.
We will end the day by watching the sun set from possibly the best vantage point for watching sunsets in Hampi, the Malyavantha hill.
Again, we will have an early breakfast. We will check-out of the hotel and head for Hampi. Today we will cover those parts of Hampi which will round off your understanding of Hampi and the lives of people in the times of the Vijayanagar Empire.
We will cover the Mahanavami Dibba, Pushkarani (stepwell) and Aqueduct, Pattabhirama Temple, and the Hampi Museum maintained by Archeological Society of India (ASI). In the eventuality that we couldn’t cover any of the sights slated for the earlier days, we will also cover them today.
We will have lunch in Hampi and leave for Bengaluru such that we reach late in the evening.