FotoFolio: Group of Monuments, Hampi, Karnataka

As part of my South India on a Run (aka final holiday in India), I explored and basked in the history and charm of Hampi in Karnataka, South India, the former seat of the Vijayanagara Empire.

Towering Virupaksha Temple - Hampi
Towering Virupaksha Temple (as seen) from the gates of Achyutarya Temple)

Hampi is getting more and more popular to tourists these days, especially attracting the foreign “hippie crowd” who are the mainstays of less-known and more secluded beaches of Goa and Gokarna.

Across the River - Hampi
Across the River

So much so that the “island” across the river from the main Hampi Bazaar area is locally known as the “Hippie Island”.

Bunder in the House - Hampi
Bunder (Monkey) in the House at the Virupaksha Temple

Apart from the monuments and old temples, Hampi also has a lot of Lord Hanuman’s relatives—monkeys! You would see them in almost every temple, running and jumping around. And yes, they are cute and all but what would amuse you more, actually for almost all monkeys I’ve seen not just in Hampi but everywhere in India, is their ability to eat all the processed and packed foods as if they were born to have it!

Stone Chariot - Hampi
The Stone Chariot at Vittala Temple is one of the most visited and photographed

Another amazing thing about Hampi is the fact that a lot of its monuments (at least the ones I saw) are still pretty much intact. Some has been reconstructed (it’s distracting when I saw the workers do this by the way) and luckily were made as if it was the real thing.

Pillars of Kalyana Mandapa - Hampi
The pillars of the Kalyana Mandapa (Wedding Hall) at Vittala Temple Complex

I only managed to see the temples in Hampi and not the palaces as I was really taking my time with each and I wasn’t much in the mood to overexert myself to go around. I t was hot when I went (February) and I guess I was tired from my Aurangabad trip just the previous weekend!

Achyutaraya Temple - Hampi
Achyutarya Temple from the top (you have to climb from the gate and then go down)

Also, I think, while Hampi is totally doable in a day, you would need more than that to imbibe all the history and culture it could offer. I mean, if you would like really want to see and feel Hampi, you just gotta take your time and stay longer!

All in all, Hampi is a great place to see if you want to do some Indiana Jones or Lara Croft-like activities. Trekking, stone-climbing, river crossings and maybe even treasure hunting.

Virupaksha Temple - Hampi
Virupaksha Temple from the Hill just before sunset

Another good thing you can do is devote a little of your time (and money) to help the cause of the Hampi Children Trust. Ran by a CouchSurfer (who hosted me despite him being in Kerala), Hampi Children Trust aims to educate 40 local children in different standards (grades). You can also buy second-hand donated books for sale too! I think it’s a good way of traveling and also giving back to Hampi!

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