Travel Postcard: 48 hours in historical Hampi, India

Fri Oct 2, 2009 5:46am EDT
 
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By Amulya Nagaraj

HAMPI, India (Reuters Life!) - A visit to Hampi, a historical town tucked away among the hills in Northern Karnataka, is a step back in time.

Situated beside the Tungabhadra river, Hampi was an important part of Vijayanagar, the capital of the southern empire of the same name that was one of the most powerful in 14th century India. Hampi is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Hampi retains much of its old charm and the center has colorful tents lining stone-paved streets. Cell phones and the Internet don't work very well here, either.

Trains run from Bangalore, Hyderabad and Goa, and there are daily flights from Bangalore to the nearest airport at Bellary. There are many guesthouses and mid-range hotels in Hampi, and some travelers stay in the nearby towns of Hospet or Kamalapur.

SATURDAY

8.30 a.m. - Breakfast at any of the rooftop restaurants near the river, which offer stunning views and fresh food and juices. Mango Tree, Laughing Buddha restaurant and The Goan Corner are all recommended for a relaxed experience.

10.30 a.m. - Put on your most comfortable walking shoes, and stock up on snacks and water before heading to the ruins. Start off at the first of the two Ganesha monoliths, "kadilekalu" or "ground nut" Ganesha, just a km away from the city center. At 15 feet, the monolith is among the tallest in Hampi.

Walk up from there to the Hemakuta Hill which offers magnificent views of all the structures in the historical enclosure. Then walk out through the southern gateway at the top, and down to the "sasivekalu" or "mustard" Ganesha.   Continued...