There are some places that you keep dreaming of visiting some day in your life. Hampi – the erstwhile glorious Vijayanagara empire – has always been that dream destination for me. It all started with the song, ‘Theendai’ from the Tamizh movie, ‘En Swaasa kaatre’ way back in 2000 when I first saw it. It was the pre-Google days when not every info was available at the touch of a mobile. So it took me some time to find out where the song was shot. I wanted to see the temple ruins and that beautiful stepped tank!
In the years that followed, my interest in temples developed beyond visiting them for religious reasons or generally admiring the beauty. I started learning more about the architectural details and the history. Then came the lectures on temple architecture by historian, Dr. Chithra Madhavan. The passion with which she spoke about temples and their history and architecture and the series of lectures on Hampi and Vijayanagara architecture that I attended at Musiri Chamber and Tattvaloka increased my fascination for Hampi. Hampi was that place where the temple architecture that we see today in most of the temples of Tamil Nadu developed. I really very badly wanted to visit that beautiful place filled with marvels in stone from where it all started!
Then there were all those travel blogs, especially that of Arun of travel.paintedstork.com. His photographs of the place and other travelogues continued to make me wish that I could go there.
All these passion for Hampi and travelling suddenly had to take a backseat after I moved to Singapore and I got completely caught up in my crazed routine as a stay-at-home mom.
Post the visit to Cambodia in September this year, my interest in temple architecture was rekindled in full fervour. Now, all that was remaining was Hampi.
When you come to Madras/ India for just a few weeks during school holidays and have to accommodate several to-dos and consider several other factors, you get only a few days to plan for a trip within India. We had just three days to spare and immediately booked the train tickets lest any other programme comes up.
While our initial plan was to visit just Hampi for three days at a leisurely pace just like how we did at Angkor, Cambodia, in the end, our plan completely went in for a toss and we ended up doing Aihole – Pattadakkal – Mahakoota – Badami – Banashankari on day 1, complete relaxation and rejuvenation at Hotel Shivavilas Palace and Sri Kumaraswamy Temple and Chakrateerta at Sandur on day 2 and almost the entire Hampi (!) on day 3!
Barring a few places at Hampi, we did manage to see all that we saw as fully as possible, though not as thoroughly as we might have, had we had a few more extra hours.
Day 1 was also another dream-come-true for me as Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal and Mahakoota have always been second in my list of dream destinations to visit.
To say that I am so happy is an understatement to how I am feeling now after visiting Hampi! It is the fulfillment of little dreams like these that make some moments of your life very special!