Strolling through history in Hampi – I

Posted: June 9, 2009 in Travelogues
Tags: , ,

HAMPI, May 17-18, 2009
As we reached the gates of Hampi, we were greeted by a sight straight out of the film ‘Sholay’. No Gabbar Singh or Viru here, but picture a small hamlet, if you can, surrounded by hills, rocky interludes and the Ruins, through which ran a solitary road. (See the picture at the beginning of the article). It was quaint, to say the least. But I’m getting ahead…
We left Bijapur at 7.30 am, and in a few minutes reached NH 13, which was just a km away. A right on to NH 13 and we were on our way to Hampi.
When we reached Almatti, we decided to stop for breakfast at an Udipi joint. The place had some pretty decent dosa and we also had filter coffee after ages. The roads were excellent, except near villages where we encountered multiple speed breakers. But, now that we knew what to expect we were careful! We drove on long stretches where ours was the only vehicle for miles. But for the fact that we were on a two-lane highway instead a four-lane NH 4, we didn’t really see much difference in the quality of the road we were driving on.
On the roadside we saw a lot of smaller cars, and even jeeps that looked like crushed pepsi cans. Some were even wrapped around trees. The rest of the journey was pretty uneventful till we reached the imposing Tungabhadra Dam. We drove in and spent about half an hour there before setting off for Hospete, the town where one can also park while visiting Hampi.
As we neared Hampi we came across some Ruins of this once prosperous kingdom. For a former history student, it was an awesome experience. As the road turned left we drove past some imposing structures that towered over us. There was an arch before we entered the village. All around us was history, hundreds of years old and we were stunned by what we saw there. I don’t think we had seen anything so exotic ever in our lives.
As soon as we got a room in one of the half-a-dozen guest houses, we asked for a guide and he materialized in no time. We were all tired after the drive, but I wasn’t going to miss a tour of the kingdom. A caution, don’t look for five-star comforts here. Just be happy with what you have! The day we reached Hampi was buffeted by a ferocious gale at night and it blew the power lines till the next morning. So leave alone AC, we didn’t even have a fan or light. Also, the eating places here are just dhabas. So don’t get too squeamish about the facilities. If you are the type, don’t go!
Our first stop was the Krishna Temple, which had some fascinating sculptures and engravings. Apart from the engravings, what interested us was the cash box cut from solid rock that was outside the temple! Even the lid of the box was solid rock. According to legend, it took an elephant to pull away the lid to open the box! Not surprising at all, that it was still there and hadn’t been carried away, by some adventurous crooks. (More)
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