Previously known as the imperial city of Vijayanagara; Hampi – “The City of Victory” derives this name from being the capital of South India’s largest, wealthiest, and most powerful kingdoms. Now declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also coined as the “World’s Largest Open Air Museum”, the Hampi ruins of over 20 elaborate temples, palaces and medieval city structures bear testimony to a flourishing empire from an era of dynasties.
The Unventured Hampi and Badami Cycling Tour, trails this boulder-strewn topography flanked by the Tungabhadra River and leading to Vatapi (Badami) via the quaint countryside, cotton, paddy and corn fields. Enroute you may even get a chance to share a “majjige” and “Rotti” a generous farmer may offer us.
Join us in exploring the quaint countryside of North Karnataka and re-discover stories in stone on a bicycle. Over the 5 day Hampi and Badami Tour we will also have mixed activities like hiking up some of the hillocks in Hampi to soak in the beautiful sunsets and sunrise sequences. The tour itself is not intensive on cycling but is designed for the traveller, the historian and the culture buff. Part of the Unventured experience is the local connect:
- Our expert guides (Trained and Certified by the Tourism Dept) who walk you through the ruins are locals and that brings in their stories and myths of the place and its history into perspective.
- We’ve also planned for a lunch in a local, yet clean and hygienic hotel enroute to Badami where you’ll savour flavours that the local people in the region have as their daily meal. This is the Unventured way!
- Our trail goes through the countryside and that opens you up to the real rustic North Karnataka and its warm hearted people. Don’t be surprised if you get invited by an old lady to share a meal or savour some “majjige”(chaas), its their way of greeting a guest.
Here are your top 10 reasons why you should join a cycling tour to Hampi and Badami experiences with Unventured
- Landscape: Don’t miss looking around at those precariously perched boulders that form caves and many untold mythical stories of monkey lords fight grand wars and laying out these very stones as a pathway to rescue Sita.
- Mythology: Listen close and listen hard, you will hear whispers of the Gods themselves. The flight of Hanuman up off the Anjanadri hill. Goddesses in disguise to save mankind, the battle of the two rival monkey lords at Kishkinda and many more such stories that float about in every nook and corner.
- History: where do we begin with this…each and every stone is riddled with stories of the Gupta empire, of the Vijayanagara Dynasty, of the Moguls and even the Great Alexander who was humbled by this grandiose and exhilarating cosmopolitan empire deep within India.
- Stories: For every riddled stone in history carries within it a story. A story of love, deceit, of revenge and vanquish. The destruction, the hatred. Listen close to these stories, caress a stone with your palm for many centuries ago these very stones brushed against the beauty and poignancy of Kings and Queens, against the swords of valorous warriors. Nothing more humbling than to know that every empire will fall and raise to the skies like a phoenix .
- Ruins:Yes, there is the fall of the empire, the destruction but ask yourself this “what if?” As Robert Sewell once wrote. “Never perhaps in the history of the world has such havoc been wrought, and wrought so suddenly, on so splendid a city.” Tilt your head and squint your eye just so, you may just see the glory days of Vijayanagara. The king’s private swimming pool, a courtesan street of dainty women, the immaculate complexes, the glorious elephant stables. This Indian Rome may just come alive.
- Coracle ride:Ride across the Tungabhadra River. Your horizon is a view of scattered granite rocks that glisten under the warm light of the setting sun. Let your shadow trail with you, Smile at a fellow traveler sharing your coracle for he too has known and is humbled by the magnificence of an empire that once had the Mongols, Portugal’s, Arabs and Russians trading their ware just off the river bed in bazaars and those still waters may have just sailed them all.
- Cafes: If history, mythology and geographical wonders have left you contemplative then hop on over to the “Hippy” Hampi. Sip on some beer or an espresso and share your experience with a fellow traveller, a local might just fill you in on a recent excavation that unfolded a pot full of Gold. All true.
- Bicycle Ride: It may seem convenient to drive past these ruins, easy even. But when you cycle past pedaling and marking your track through history you not only trace your steps with the great kings and their chariots but you soak in the grandiose mystique and magic in the air. You will have someone stop you on your tracks to fill you in on a legend, a greeting with a warm smile knowing you are trailing through history, a nod from a fellow wanderlust soul. Don’t miss stopping by the corn and millet fields for a quick lesson or perhaps an invitation to share some “Majjige” with the family. Such is the beauty in slowing down and what better way than on two wheels.
- Museums: Don’t forget to stop on over at the Photography Museum in Hampi that has documented the excavations, findings and “then and now” pictures. The many collection of sculptures en-route and even more so in Badami. The Goddess of fertility boldly baring that almost dares you to not look away. The Jain Yakshi and Jina figurines (Mythical Beings) sit in the archeological museum marking a history that bares its etchings to a few 100 years and more.
- Keep calm, sit back and breathe: The smell of spice, the rustle of fabrics, the clink of coins and the creaking of scales, the muffled grunts of the elephants, the fragrance of the food, the press of humanity. You will find it was all hidden just beneath Hampi’s surface, ready to leap from the rocks like the legend goes where the Telugu Prince Harihara Raya chose to build his kingdom in Hampi after he watched a tiny rabbit chase his dogs to submission.