The Vijayanagara kingdom, and KrishnaDevaRaya had captured my imagination when I came across them in history and literature text books. Later on, managed to read a little more rigourous history book on Vijayanagara by Sewell. This put Hampi / Hospet on our list of destinations to visit, for a long time. Finally managed to head there.
We decided to do this as a road-trip, though the train option was rather tempting too. The Sloth Bear Resort had some attractive discounts, and also seemed like a good place to go relax, so we made reservations there.
The best part about visiting Hampi is that it is a heady mix of history, wildlife and birding. Was looking forward to this. The only minor concern was the weather; it was the beginning of summer, and it was already blazing hot – the day we reached the resort, it was around 43 degrees centigrade.
Started off rather leisurely from Bangalore, around 9am, took the NH4 and stopped at Chitradurga for lunch, and then took the NH13 all the way to Hospet.
Reached the resort by evening 5pm. The resort is in Kamalapura, which is a few kilometers from Hampi. We relaxed at the resort, and managed to do some night-sky watching. The moon-less sky and lack of ambient light helped. We spotted a couple of “shooting-stars”, and thanks to the “SkyView” app figured out that we were staring at the Orion, Betelgeuse, Alphard, Rigel, Jupiter celestial objects.
The second day was a guided whistle-tour of various sites within Hampi; the massive-boulders strewn landscape, and the temples and sculptures that merge into this landscape are really breath taking.
We managed to see quite a few sites; mainly the ones easily accessible by car, rather than by foot. The blazing heat didn’t help with the site-seeing; the half-day tour was over by 2pm, and headed back to the resort for lunch and some respite from the heat.
Indu decided to visit the Daroji Sloth bear sanctuary, to spot some sloth bears, later in the afternoon. It turned out to be a fruitful trip for her; where she managed to spot the bears, as well as quite a few birds.
Headed out early in the morning for a bird-watching trip – this is organized by the resort.
We decided to go see a few more nearby sites like Pattabhirama temple, and another nearby Shiva temple.
Later that afternoon, I headed to the Daroji Sloth bear sanctuary, and as luck would have it, it actually started drizzling a bit, and into a rather forceful rain session by the time I entered the sanctuary. Made the afternoon trip, and the bear spotting event an enjoyable and pleasant one.
The rest of the evening we just lazed around in the resort.
Headed to Hampi for another round of site-seeing; this time around to the Octagonal bath, and the Royal enclosure.
The detail of the work, of whatever ruins are remaining in the Royal enclosure, is breath-taking. Liked the stepped tank the most.
Visited the ASI museum in Kamalapura – the artifacts are interesting, but the exhibit does not do justice to the artifacts. Needs a much better curator.
Later that evening, we decided to head to the Virupaksha temple for another visit. The temple premises were rather empty, and we spent some time at the temple looking at the various sculptures and gopuras.
We headed back to Bangalore. The route we decided to take was from Kamalapura – Toranagalu – Bellary bypass – Chalakere – Hiriyur – Bangalore. The Toranagalu section of 20 km or so is horrible; the roads are non-existent. The rest of the route is rather devoid of traffic, and a rather comfortable drive. There are a lot of road-humps, predictably most of the time, before a small town or village. It was a rather hot day, by the time we reached Tumkur, where we stopped for lunch at the Kamat Upachar. Reached home by 4pm. The entire road trip was around 850+ km.
Managed to visit atleast a dozen sites within Hampi and Kamalapura. More details on the sites we visited are here.
We ended up seeing 30 different kinds of bird. Details of the birds and wildlife that we saw are here.
Most of the photos are borrowed from Wikipedia.