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World Heritage Site, Hampi (Image Courtsey:Flicker)
History of Hampi
Hampi also called (Humpi or Hampe ) is both a historic & religious place in India. This was the capital of the Hindu empire, Vijayanagara, who ruled the south India during 14th to 16th century AD. Spread over an area more than 25 square kilometers (10 square miles), Hampi ruins is packed with giant temples, palaces, market streets, aquatic structures , fortifications and an abundance of other ancient monuments.
Geography of Hampi
Hampi is located in Karnataka state, a southwestern province of India. It’s about 350 kilometers (217 miles) north of Bangalore, the state capital. The primary connectivity to Hampi is by road. Rail connection comes second and the air link is a third option. Hospet, a small town located about 12 kilometers (8 miles) from Hampi is the nearest railway station. This is the main gateway to Hampi. Hospet is connected by rail to other important towns like Bangalore, Bijapur, Hubli, Guntakal ( a major rail junction), Hyderabad and Vasco Da Gama (Goa). Train is a preferred mode. Once in Hampi how do we travel across the city - On foot!, that’s if you want to comb all the major ruins. You can hire bicycle or mopeds to cover a wider area, say spots located 5 kilometers(3 miles) apart. A smart combination of bicycle/moped and on foot explorations is the optimum strategy. And if you include an occasional coracle ferry crossing and a couple of hill climbs in the agenda, your route plan is deemed perfect.
Hampi’s climate is generally dry & hot. March to early June is the summer. Monsoon brings some wet weather that typically lasts from late June to early August. The colder period of the year is from November to February. Irrespective of the climate, Hampi is open for visitors all round the year. The popular tourist season is October to February with the New Year holidays as the centre peak. This period is the optimum time of the year with a pleasant weather. However Hampi’s festival calendar is spread throughout the year.
Local Culture of Hampi
Hampi Festival (November): This is the largest festival at Hampi. Generally they are scheduled for 3 days during the first week of November. The celebrations typically packed with shows of music, dance puppet shows fireworks and a pomp procession as the grand finale showcasing the cultural richness of the place. Of late items like rock climbing, water sports and rural sports also has been included in the schedule Hampi village, the epicenter of backpacker tourism, is the budget type accommodation scene. In fact every other house here is a guest house. They rent out rooms within or attached to their homes. This kingdom was located at the edges of the Muslim sultanates of the Deccan area.
Revellers during a festival in Hampi
That brought in an unusual combination of cultures that Hampi could boast of. The evidences of these are loud in Hampi’s architecture.
Religions in Hampi
Apart from the Hindu and Islamic traditions, Jainism was a major religion in Hampi.
Today, far from its erstwhile metropolitan status, Hampi is very much a rural place. Many villages are scattered around this area where agriculture is the prime occupation. Though it owns the much-touted UNESCO World Heritage tag, Hampi at its heart is a humble place. This is a place where a city dweller can savor the raw village life at its best. Hampi is best known for its architecture and sculpture works.