Monuments of Hampi


Shweta Ganesh Kumar takes a trip to South India and discovers the talking monuments of Hampi

There are few amongst us who haven't heard of Hanuman, the monkey god from Ramayan. Many have longed for his fantastical powers of immense strength and his ability to jump across seas. Now, while his powers might be beyond your reach, visiting his hometown of Kishkinda is not. All you have to do is head to Hampi in Karnataka, which has been identified as the monkey kingdom mentioned in Ramayan.

Historically speaking, Hampi, with its famed ruins, is actually the seat of the 15th Century Vijaynagar Empire, capital of the famous King Krishnadevaraya. Bordered by the Tungabhadra River in the north, Hampi was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2002. As you drive down to the mostly stone ruins scattered across 26kms, the sight of the boulders perched precariously one on top of the other is simply stunning.

The first stop is the Virupaksha Temple, the only remaining active place of worship here, known for its 120ft-tall tower. Next are the monolithic structures of the Mustard Ganesh and the Ugra Narasimha, both of which faced the swords of invaders who destroyed the city. No trip to the ruins is complete without a visit to the Hazari Rama Temple, the Lotus Mahal and the king's elephant stables. The splendor of the Vittala Complex with the stone chariot and the Sangeet Mandap are also mind-boggling.

As you bid farewell to this ancient city, you will be awed by the skill of those ancient builders who have left behind monuments that have many stories to tell.