Who: Rajeev Kohli (Joint Managing Director)
Where: Hampi, Karnataka
When: November 2023
India is huge. By size, by number of people, by its diversity. And this really hits you when you try to travel from one part of the country to another. The vastness can be overwhelming, even for us who live here. But India is also spectacularly engaging and it lives up to its tagline of being incredible.
I recently had the opportunity to visit Hampi in the Southern Indian state of Karnataka. We had the privilege of operating a luxury around the world charter that landed in India to spend 3 nights in this unique destination.
Hampi is a captivating tiny town in the Southern Indian state of Karnataka and is one of India’s most historically significant sites. Hampi offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. As a luxury travel planner, my journey to Hampi was more than just an exploration; it was a deep dive into the rich tapestry of India’s heritage.
Hampi, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a sprawling open-air museum of history and architecture. It was the epicentre of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th century, an era marked by prosperity and remarkable cultural development. Today, the ruins of Hampi stand as a testament to the grandeur of the past. The most iconic amongst them is the Virupaksha Temple, a magnificent structure that looms over the village, drawing visitors from around the globe.
Walking through the ruins, one can witness the remnants of ancient markets, royal pavilions, and majestic temples. The Elephant Stables and the Lotus Mahal are exemplary of Indo-Islamic architecture and provide a glimpse into the lifestyle of the Vijayanagara royalty. The Vittala Temple, with its stone chariot and musical pillars, showcases the ingenuity of ancient Indian engineers and artisans.
Visiting Hampi is not just about historical exploration; it’s an immersive experience. The Hampi Bazaar, once a bustling marketplace, is now a quaint area with shops selling local handicrafts. The Tungabhadra River adds a serene backdrop to the rugged landscape, ideal for coracle rides at sunset, offering a unique way to view the ruins.
For the ultimate luxury stay, I recommend the Evolve Back resort, which is what we used for this group as a buy-out. With its unparalleled service, elegant design, and proximity to the ruins, it offers a perfect blend of comfort and convenience. The resort captures the essence of the Vijayanagara Empire’s opulence, making it an ideal retreat for discerning travelers.
Hampi is more than a destination; it’s a vivid chapter in India’s historical narrative, waiting to be explored and appreciated. As a travel planner, my experience in Hampi has only deepened my love for India’s diverse cultural landscape.