Hampi : Jewel in a Jungle
At Hampi, forlorn ruins lie ensconced within an emerald forest. The unreal sight seems to have been magically lifted from some fairytale.The ruins are scattered over a spellbinding landscape. The undulating terrain is decorated with giant boulders that seem to be lging to the landscape quite precariously. There dull shades contrast with the jade and emerald hues of the banana plantations, paddy fields and palm groves while the blue skies shine overhead with snowy clouds. The scenic Tungabhadra River flows around the area. Enchantment exudes from this picture perfect area.In Hampi, you can let yourself go and get lost in the fascinating ruins. The other option is to just stand, stare and wonder about the magical place created by nature. Hampi is an echo to the magnificent past of India and has been given a world heritage status by UNESCO. Currently a small and quaint village, Hampi was once the glorious capital of the Vijaynagar Empire. The magnificent empire once stretched from the west coast to the east coast of India. Hampi, however, does not offer only a splendid history; it is an important religious site.
How to Get There
By Air :
The closest airport to Hampi is at Bellary,60 km. Belgaum airport (190 km) is also another alternative for those wanting to fly to Hampi.
By Rail :
The nearest railhead from Hampi is Hospet that is at a distance of 13 km.
By Road :
Hampi is well connected by bus services from all major cities and towns. There are Regular bus services from Hospet (30 minutes) to Hampi.
The amazing Virupaksha Temple is one of the oldest structures in the city. The main gateway tower or gopuram is nearly 50m tall. The structure looks incredible. Located near to the Tungabhadra River, the Virupaksha Temple offers a scenic sight with all the intricate carvings that adorn the walls. You will have no problems in whiling away the time just by enjoying its beauty. The shrine is dedicated to Lord Virupaksha, an avatar of Lord Shiva.
Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary
The unique Sloth Bear Sanctuary is home to the rare Indian Sloth Bear. The lush green habitat is perfect for the bears which roam around the sanctuary without a care in the world. The sanctuary offers a fascinating glimpse of nature. Here the dull hues of the rocky hillocks look great when contrasted with deep emerald shades of the forests. Sloth bears are not the only animals to enjoy the forests here. You can catch a glimpse of incredible creatures such as leopards, wild boars, hyenas, pangolins, porcupines, monitor lizards. 90 different species of birds live here such as partridges and quails.
The central location of the Matanga Hill enables you to get the most spectacular panorama of Hampi. The scenic forests streach away in every direction and the Tungabhadra River is situated located close by adding to the beauty of the sight. The hill also provides the best vantage for taking in the beauty of the sunrise and the sunset. The glorious golden rays of the sun creeping up on the emerald forests is a sight you cannot afford to miss.
Lakshmi Narasimha Temple
The open temple contains the largest sculpture in Hampi and it is a magnificent sight indeed. The god Narasimha, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, is depicted sitting on the slithery coil of Sesha, a giant snake with seven heads. The heads form a hood over the head of Narasimha. The impression is quite stunning especially when you consider the proportions of the statue.This form of Narasimha is often termed as Ugra Narasimha or the terrifying Narasimha. The ferocity of the god has been perfectly captured the sculpture. The idol is fascinatingly detailed. The facial expression is perfect with the angry protruding eyes. Originally, the sculpture also contained an idol of Goddess Lakshmi, the wife of Lord Vishnu. Unfortunately this idol has been destroyed a long time ago. All that remains is her hand which can still be seen resting on the back of Narasimha. The hand is incredibly detailed with the rings and nails captured perfectly.