The temple ruins of Hampi Karnataka in India are listed since 1986 as UNESCO World Heritage. When I traveled south India there was no way I could visit all the temple complexes. It seemed that south and central India has more temples then cities, well, I know I am exaggerating but there are really a lot of them. It takes a lifetime to see them all.
I was on way north as I want to go to Pakistan and then back into China when I traveled to Hampi.
It is located 350km north of Bangalore, 4 days cycling. Hampi was only 12 km from here but I went to Kamalapura, a few km away from the Hampi ruins but with the archaeological museum nearby.
Hampi is an old complex but it is still very much in use. The first historical settlements in Hampi date back to the first century. In the centuries after
The location of Hampi was chosen because of its location: on one site the Tungabhadra river and the other sides are easy to defend hills.
I spend a couple of days in Hampi simply because there was so much to see.
At the time I was wondering what the place would have looked like in the time of the Vijayanagara Empire, when Hampi was the capital.
Later I realized I only had to look at the modern temples to imagine how these temples were painted in bright colours, as all Indian temples today are.
There are several interesting temples, some are still active. The Virupaksha Temple complex: Also known as the Pampapathi temple is a Shiva temple
I was a little surprised when I arrived at the Hampi ruins, there were not the heaps of tourists I had expected for such a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Still, it was good for me, I had all the time in the world to wander around and let my imagination go back to the days when this was a center for art, culture and welfare. The remains are still impressive.
Getting there and stay
Hampi is quite easy to reach from Hosapete (formerly known as Hospet) but I wouldn't want to stay there. There's nothing much that makes you want to spend more then an eventual necessary night.
Hosapete has a railway station with lines connecting to Bangalore (400km), Hyderabad (Secunderabad)(460km) and Goa (310km). Nearest airport is 75 km away in Bellary. Either way, it is a long way to other main travel destinations.
You can stay in both Hosapete (Hospet) (15 km south west) and Gangawathi (15 km north east) from Hampi but if you don't mind a little more rough accommodation, Kamalapura is a better option. However, should you want to stay in Hosapete, check this:
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Caves 10 and 16 are the most spectacular in the Ellora Caves, a man made structure in the rocks.
The Ajanta Caves, 80 km north of the Ellora caves are another must visit. Here you find some of the finish art Indian Buddhism has ever produced.