The Wild Wild Hampi
Travel Stories

The Wild Wild Hampi

May 21, 2019
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How wild it was — to let it be?

Is everybody in?

Is everybody in?

Is everybody in?

The ceremony is about to begin.

The entertainment for this evening is not new, you’ve seen this entertainment through and through,

you have seen your birth, your life, your death…

you may recall all the rest.

Did you have a good world when you died?

Enough to base a movie on??

— Jim Morrison

12th August 2017 | 07:00 PM | Hampi Island, India

What’s that you have read, listened or seen, come closer to the realism than anything else in this life? I wondered while sitting on the banks of river Tungabhadra on Hampi Island.

The first answer that came to my mind, for the obvious reason was Jim Morrison. But then followed to it, many other options glowed up in the darkness of that dusk. I thought about Game Of Thrones for a while, then of Pink Floyd, and Hans Zimmer. Then I thought about how these things came close to become one of the answers I was looking for, how can these things even mean realism to me?

13th August 2017 | 03:30 PM | Somewhere in Hampi

It was a sunny afternoon in August. We were sitting on the top of a hill staring at the huge boulders spread across the horizons of Hampi. The river Tungabhadra was cutting her way through the landscape made of coconut trees, paddy fields, boulders and ruins of one of the greatest cities in our world. Mighty empires had risen and fallen for centuries in the Hampi. The sculptures, the drawing, the walls; they had seen it all and they told the stories. Stories which took me to the days of yore. The sheer grandeur of ruins made me wonder as to how days would have been back then.

I found my answer in these stories of the Hampi. I found that the closest I had ever been brought to realism was through the experience of the wild. The experience of anything other than the wild Hampi couldn’t be better to feel the realism of human life.

Out here on the perimeter, there are no stars. Out here we is stoned. Immaculate.

— Jim Morrison

Hampi was not a famous place for Indian travelers until Western travelers started pouring in for ruins and wilderness Hampi had to offer. It all started when UNESCO declared it as a world heritage site. Hampi’s ruins are spread over 4,100+ hectares and it has been described by UNESCO as an “austere, grandiose site” of more than 1,600+ surviving remains of the last great Hindu kingdom in South Asia.

Hampi had more stories to experience than what that’s remaining in Hampi which our eyes could see. Every wall of the fallen palaces spread across the Hampi stood up against winds and rains for the centuries of our history. What that is a myth for us now, may have been a reality of life in those days. But the only reality that struck on the grounds of the Hampi and minds of the travelers was the wilderness it possessed. The world’s greatest city of that time now stands in ruins. Ruins that include forts, Riverside features, royal and sacred complexes, temples, shrines, pillared halls, mandapas, memorial structures, and water structures. How mighty empires erased over time, how the foreign empires invaded the land of gods, kings, and myths, sums up the only thing mankind found its existence was not beyond being wild.

Human life continued its journey through a world without rules, a world that stood upon a fragile morality, where chaos crept into unfathomed human minds with every generation that passed. By the time humans had a glimpse of civilized society, we saw dictators, we saw religion defining new ways for immorality. When we said our culture grew up through the time till now and then I wondered the relevance for the great part of it when I saw ruins of a mighty empire that had been falling apart over the centuries.

In this barren splendor of the ruins, the realism felt as beautiful as this wild-wild Hampi.

How wild it was — to let it be?

How to reach Hampi and what to see, check the most comprehensive and most updated Wikitravel link :

Personal Recommendations :

  • Best season to travel: Monsoon and Winter. Avoid summer as the place is full of rocks, imagine being surrounded by hot rocks in an Indian summer.
  • The best place to stay: Stay on Hampi Island — Virupapur Gaddi, which is across the Tungabhadra river of Hampi. You can get a ferry costing rs.10–20 per person to cross the river. They help in crossing bikes too. There is very less budget stay options on Hampi island, you have to choose from one the huts and homestays which costs around Rs 1500–2500 per night but they have a good nightlife and decent cafes with a variety of food. I prefer the German Bakery just near the entrance to Hampi Island. Laughing Buddha cafe has got a nice view of the river but not so great food menu. Beer is available on demand, you should know how to ask for a beer. Personal note — Don’t score in Hampi, better carry your own stuff.
  • Get in — Hampi is located in the northwest region of the Karnataka. Remember to look out for Hospet, the closest city to Hampi which is accessible by road and rail. KSRTC has quite good numbers of buses running till Hospet in every category from Bangalore. There are a good number of buses running from Hubli, Mumbai, Pune, and Hyderabad. There is also a good number of trains reaching Hospet. The nearest airport is Bellary and Hubli with a few flights connecting from Mumbai and Bangalore.
  • Get around — For me, Hampi has three parts, an area full of ruins of temples and religious structures, another one full of ruins of palaces, market, and ruins from Vijayanagara empire. The part is across the river on Hampi Island side, which has Hampi Island, Anjani Hill — the birthplace of Lord Hanuman, and Sanapur lake. You can get around on bikes, car or auto rickshaws. You can rent out bikes on Hampi island at cheaper prices. Remember to cross the river before 7 PM as the ferry service is just for daytime. There is a bear sanctuary in the same area if you find more time for yourself.
  • Not to miss — Sunrise at Matanga Hilltop, Sunset at Anjani Hilltop, the full moon on Tungabhadra river. You may choose to see Badami, Pattadakkal, Aihole as a 2 day add on an excursion.
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