A walk into the era of times forgotten brings you face to face with some great archaeological legacies where beauty and grandeur are lost in the passage of yore.
Experience the charisma of Hampi, explore the two astonishing series of temples carved out of living rock over the course of 14 centuries at Ajanta and Ellora and visit Mamallapuram referred as the Open-air museum, to understand the rich heritage of India.
An extremely significant place in terms of history and architecture, Hampi is charismatic even in its ruined state. Located on the banks of River Tungabhadra, it is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. Vast stretches of boulder-strewn hills make the backdrop of Hampi unique.
Did you know?
Under a unique initiative, the Karnataka State Government has proposed a tie-up between the iconic ruins of Hampi in India and Machu Picchu in Peru in South America. As per the proposed plan, these two historic sites may soon become sister heritage sites.
Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire from 1343 to 1565. Once a centre of flourishing art, literature and trade, it was ruined by Mughal forces. It has more than 500 monuments showcasing elaborate architecture. Stunning temples, palace basements, ancient market places, royal platforms and pavilions, aquatic structures, and several other structures make Hampi one of the most interesting places to explore.
Things to do at Hampi:
- The rocks and boulders of Hampi are a great place for rock climbing.
- The ruined town has a rocky terrain and several large and small rocky hills are ideal for trekking.
- Watch the splendour of Hampi at night for a mesmerising experience.
Must do: Enjoy a coracle ride across the swirling waters of the River Tungabhadra. A coracle is a circular shaped country boat that can carry about 6 to 8 people on a single trip across the river. These boats have been in use in Hampi since the time of the Vijayanagara Empire.
Connect: Trujet has direct flight to Bengaluru from Hyderabad and convenient connections from other cities. Hampi is 343 km from Bengaluru.
Mamallapuram is an ancient historic town famous for its stone carvings. Apart from magnificent architecture, the vast casuarinas trees, the silvery sandy beach and its classical handmade crafts add weight to its grandeur.
Mamallapuram was a sea-port during the time of Periplus (1st century AD) and Ptolemy (AD 140) and many Indian colonists sailed to South-East Asia through this port town. But it was during the period of Narasimhavarman-I Mamalla, when most of the architectural activity took place. Most of the monuments like rock-cut rathas, sculptured scenes on open rocks like Arjuna’s penance, the caves of Govardhanadhari and Mahishasuramardini, the Jala-Sayana Perumal temple (the sleeping Mahavishnu or Chakrin at the rear part of the Shore temple complex) are attributed to this period only.
- Of the nine monolithic temples found in Mamllapuram, the most important are Five Rathas known after the Pandava brothers. These monuments are carved out a single rock.
- Mamallapuram was included in the World Heritage Monuments list of 1984 by UNESCO.
- Krishna’s Butterball is a curious tourist attraction in Mamallapuram. The rock’s awkward position makes it quite popular.
Do not Miss: India Sea Shell Museum at Mamallapuram has a huge collection of 40,000 specimens of rare and unique Seashells, Fossils, Shark Teeth, Whale fins among others and houses an aquarium of colorful Ocean Fishes, attractive Boutique and a Sea Food Restaurant too.
Connect: Trujet has direct flight to Chennai from Hyderabad and convenient connections from other cities. Mamllapuram is 60 km from Chennai.
About 107 km from the city of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, are the rock-out caves of Ajanta nestled in a panoramic gorge, in the form of a gigantic horseshoe. Considered as the finest example of Buddhist architecture, these historical manmade caves comprise of beautiful paintings on the walls and ceilings that depict the life of the Buddha. These 29 caves were built around the 2nd century BCE. The creative use of colour and freedom of expression used in depicting human and animal forms makes the cave paintings at Ajanta one of the high watermarks of artistic creativity.
- The caves were discovered by a British Army Officer in 1819 during one of his hunting expeditions.
- Ajanta Caves attained the UNESCO world Heritage Sites in 1983.
- Cave 16 of Ajanta caves showcases magnificent Kailasa Temple, the largest monolithic structure in the world.
Explore the Ajanta Caves in conjunction with the nearby Ellora Caves which are at a distance of 100 km from Ajanta. These caves are rhymed with the Ajanta Caves for the architectural similarity and location. Depicting Lord Buddha in various poses, Hindu Gods and figures of the Jain saints, these 34 caves present an amalgamation of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
Trujet has daily direct flights to Aurangabad from Hyderabad and convenient connections from other capital cities of Southern India.
Written by Neelam Singh