Hampi: Stories Set in Stone

A tapestry of stories in stone, Hampi is a forgotten treasure trove of architecture, art and culture. In the southern state of Karnataka, Hampi is a dream come true for story, history, adventure lovers, and even for people who love to walk. It has a lot to offer. Recognised as a UNESCO heritage site, Hampi has increasingly emerged as a top tourist destination. 

Interestingly, the region around Hampi is considered to be the birthplace of Hanuman. A very popular folklore associated with the Hampi is the existence of Kishkinda, the monkey kingdom in Ramayana. Anjaneya Hill which is located across the river Tungabhadra is believed to be the birthplace of Vayu’s son.

According to folklore, Rama and Lakshmana reach Hampi looking for Sita. On hearing their story Hanuman brings them to Sugreeva, the monkey king. He then takes them to a cave and shows them a set of jewels. Rama recognizes them instantly. They belong to his wife, Sita. Sugreeva explains to them that Sita had dropped them at the site when Ravana had abducted Sita on his flying chariot.

Heritage Walk in Hampi, a temple town in northern Karnataka, India

What is significant are the locations narrated in this familiar epic. Hampi has many more iconic representations of Hanuman than any other god. These various poses are set in stone and make important sites for pilgrims from all over. For instance, Rishimukh Hills is believed to be the site where Hanuman meets Rama and Lakshmana, is a hermitage; and the cave where Sugreeva supposedly hid the fallen jewels is on the way to Vittala temple which can be accessed via the ruins along the riverside.

Further, Matunga Hill, named after the sage Matunga, is the highest spot in Hampi. The hilltop temple dedicated to Rama serves as an important pilgrimage and tourist destination. A hill made of ash (which is believed to be the pyre of Vali) can also be found atop this hill.

The temples in Hampi are generously carved with mythical themes and for a true wanderer, they contain stories combining the mythical and the religious. Put on your best walking shoes and soak in the magic of this forgotten empire.

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