We, the children of Andhra Pradesh grew up listening to its stories like how a hare chased a dog and how precious stones were sold by weight in this kingdom. Whatever it is, the Vijayanagar empire always fascinated me. By the time i planned the trip to Hampi, i had already read about the kingdom, its kings and how this glorious empire came to an end.
Hampi, as it is seen today is situated in the North Western Part of Karnataka near the town of Hospet. The best part of the village is it has still not been affected by the rising tourist population.
Hampi is a place which is hot all through the year and best avoided during the summer. I visited the place in December and still faced very humid conditions and my skin got tanned. There are good places to stay and some are Air Conditioned for the benefit of foreigners. The cost of the accommodation varies with seasons, the least in Summer where there will be few people visiting the place.
Hampi is an area covering 33 square kilometres and the temples and ruins are located in 3 other villages adjoining Hampi. The best mode of transport is a bicycle through which one can navigate to any part of the village. Motor bikes can be rented but there are some places where one cannot reach by bikes and then a bicycle comes in handy.
The whole of Hampi is physically divided into two areas, the Sacred Enclosure and the Royal Enclosure. The area covered under the Sacred Enclosure is full of temples and the Royal Enclosure is the place where you can find the ruins of the palaces and the government buildings. Excavations are held even today giving to the world, new ruins and temples. The ASI needs to be appreciated for a wonderful job.
Before embarking on this journey, it is must that we know something about the Vijayanagar Empire and about the circumstances in which the glorious kingdom came to an end. I will start with a brief history of the empire.
To be continued……