Hampi – a short overview

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The rocky landscapes of Hampi


Hampi is a place to slow down. It radiates a serenity and beauty with its temples and the very peculiar stone landscape. I spend my days in peace. Mostly I am active for half of the day – looking at temples, going to the lake and hiking through the beautiful landscape along the river. The second half of the day I spent chatting and reading, in one of the cozy hang-out areasthat invite you to enjoy some time. After a week I have still not enough and so I’m staying almost two weeks. The main reason is that I’m fighting with my stomach after one week, and two days have been very quiet.

But now to Hampi

The ruins of the former Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar are spread over 26 km2. The city has fallen only 500 years ago, after the Kingdom was in clinch with local Muslim sultanates. The sites look much older, and as a European, I first think  there were ancient ruins. The individual temples are not so exciting, as I’ve been also confirmed by an lecturer of Indian Studies, I meet at the guesthouse.


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Krishna Tempel in Hampi


Impressively, however, is the hilly landscape, which is surrounded by rocks and boulders and has picturesque atmosphere. Many stay here hanging out  for weeks and exploring the temples and the surrounding countryside, roaming around the widely scattered sites or climb one of the many rocks.
Even if the site is not so old, the region is full of legends. This is the place of the Kishkinda Kingdom – the legendary kingdom of monkeys, which plays an important role in Ramayama. Hanuman the monkey god helps the hero Rama to free his kidnapped wife from Sri Lanka.
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Hanuman temple, where the monkey God Hanuman was born


To reach Hampi, you must take a train or bus ride of at least six hours, the nearest airports are in Goa and Bangalore. And therefore, there are still mainly independent travelers who come here. Around Hampi there are many small private guest houses. In the small village of Hampi Bazaar, tight nested houses, many of them with a rooftop restaurant. On the other side of the river the hippie scene has established itself. Here is more space, more green and almost all houses have nice outdoor areas inviting you to stay – many with views oover the rice fields or the river. Who wants to live in a better hotel, must switcch to the 15km distant Hospet and transfer every day.

How longthis idyll remains is currently questionable. In August, a row of houses that were built in front of  the historic bazaar, werer demolished by the local authorities almost without warning. Many fear that the whole place will be destroyed. It was first inhabited about 40 years ago with the emergence of tourism and has again spread all over. A Swiss told me he was the first time 35 years ago  there has not been a single guesthouse.

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Behind the demolished houses the pillars of the bazaar come to light, much to the chagrin of the UNESCO people have settled also here

How Hampi will evolve is currently more than open. I can hardly imagine that all accommodations will be demolished in the core zone of the world cultural heritage. Until then, the backpackers will continue to flock into Hampi in search of a few quiet days in the hustle of India. “We live as if there were no tomorrow,” an aging hippie said to me.
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  1. Bishnu Khadka says:

    actually, the mission- Travel Slow, made me happy and also got some feeling how to get involved in it. the explanations of the trip people and mainly the deep study of all that need some time and energy anyway.
    it is very interesting to go through it.
    I greet and salute you for your sharing on travel.

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