The ancient city of Vijayanagara (aka Hampi) was among the largest cities in the world in its heyday. We know this from the accounts of international travellers and traders who were drawn to its riches then, and the legacy of architecture and art that we admire today.
The weekend that we visited brought out hordes of holidayers, adding a streak of colour to the poetry in stone.
The Vitthala temple is the main draw at Hampi, with its iconic stone chariot. That, seemingly, everyone wants to turn their backs on, and get photographed with.
I attempted a balancing act for my camera on the backpack with a long exposure, as they wouldn’t let me use the tripod. The result was interesting, a nice memory of the crowds that were present that day!
The rest of the temple is admirable too, a lovely open courtyard, an old gnarled tree that has probably seen its share of history, and if you zoom in on the micro aspects of the structure, the carving on stone is mind-boggling.
Not being entirely satisfied with spending an afternoon at the temple compound, I made a quick stop the next morning, for a view sans crowds.
I love little details; this one is my pick for the most charming at the Vitthala temple.
Baba is certainly the more ‘religious’ one of us, but rather than check off every temple in town, we consolidated our effort on visiting the family deity of Narasimha, an open air sculpture.
Our breakfast kept us going for most of the day, and we spent no time stopping for food, but did enjoy the fried snacks that Mom had packed us, with some tender coconut water by the side of the road.
Essential info: The ruins of Hampi are a UNESCO Heritage site. To get to the Vitthala temple, you need to park about a km away, then walk to the entrance of the temple. There is a shuttle service starting at 8 am that ferries people from the parking lot to the gate, if you don’t feel like exerting yourself. The other sites are accessible by car.
Non-essential info: If I’d travelled on my own, I might have considered cycling or renting a scooter. With the sun behind a cloud most of the time, the weather was pleasant, cool, ‘wintry’.