The ever-popular Hampi Bazaar

Trip Start Nov 02, 2009
Trip End Mar 02, 2010

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Flag of India  , Karnataka,
Monday, January 11, 2010

Hampi – this is one of the must-see places in India. Anyone travelling to the Karnataka state for sure stays in Hampi for a few days. Most rave about how they enjoyed their time there. Hampi, a World Heritage Site, is the ruined capital of the Telugu people. At its height in the 16th century, it was busy market town of 500,000 inhabitants. Although Vijayanagar, as it was then known, was destroyed in 1565 by the Deccan sultanates, there are many ruins that have been carefully restored. The site spreads over rolling hills and the landscape itself is worth a visit to the area.

Although the sightseeing is good, the bad weather dampens our enthusiasm for the place. On our first day the weather is cloudy and gloomy, such that we do not fancy sightseeing. We decide to stay an additional day, hoping tomorrow will bring better weather. We mill about town instead. Luckily the clouds break up in mid-afternoon after a big downpour and we are able to visit Anegundi, a good introduction to the architecture and history of the area, with its handful of temples

The next day, the weather gives us the same scenario – cloudy to start followed by blue skies after noon. We thus see the rest of the sights, namely the Royal Centre to the south of Hampi, the Vittala temple, reached by a pleasant walk along the river, and finally the Sacred Centre at the heart of Hampi. The most inspiring of these three sites is probably the Royal Centre as it covers such a large area and thus gives a good impression of what the town was once like and how its inhabitants may have lived.

The other downside to staying in Hampi aside from the poor weather is how touristy it is. In some ways it is nice to get away from India for a few days (see my previous entry), but neither of us are fans of the artificial feel that comes with touristy places. Nothing feels genuine, particularly not the food. We find it to be unoriginal, identical in all restaurants, westernised and overpriced. That is not to say that we do not eat well. As there are few tourists when we are there, all the food is cooked from scratch, therefore tastes lovely and fresh. Unfortunately that also means that we have to wait between 40 minutes to an hour for our food to be served. We are simply disappointed that by trying to cater for western tastes, the restaurants have forgotten to keep it simple and authentic.
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