While the hair pin bends of Ooty taught me wonderful life lessons, the four lane roads leading to Hampi gave me a perspective on how simple things in life, can lead to exhilarating experiences. The unplanned trip begins The trip to Hampi was decided on a whim with a friend of mine. Things fell in place on its own and we found ourselves on the neat and well done, four lane highway road, at six on a Monday morning. The expectations from the trip were absolutely none, and so were the preparations. The sudden whim of visiting Hampi led us to booking a hotel (which belonged to friend). All I put effort into, was getting the car generally checked by a mechanic and fill up the tank. Trips/holidays for me have always been about either a beach location or a hill station. Places like Hampi never even made it to the consideration list. With the first sighting of this UNESCO world heritage site, I realized what I had been missing all these years. What is so special about Hampi? When you set your eyes on these stone mountains and step into a temple complex, a flash of this gigantic history which you are a part of, hits you. Reading about a king and how he built his empire has no comparison to seeing it in person. The mind cannot stop constructing what could have been construed thousands of years ago, when a particular stone was being carved, or a wall structure being placed, or the ideology behind a temple being built. The beauty and the thought process which went behind all the mythological and architectural structures is still very much seen and could be absorbed with the naked eyes. Our tour guides and all the people we spoke to, divided the sight-seeing of Hampi into mythology and architecture, and planned the itineraries as per the same, and rightly so. I would like to add another element which Hampi shows off naturally, ‘mystical.’ And this mystic nature of a place cannot be planned for you. It ascents from the need to seek, i.e., from within. I feel it is important to share some experiences of the mysticism here: – We thoroughly enjoyed the Vijaya Vittala temple for its architectural beauty and grandness. However our hearts were truly filled up, with the one hour we spent a few meters beyond the temple, with Sugreev’s cave behind us and the river flowing in front of us. We sang our hearts out with only birds and mountains to witness. Must visit places in Hampi – We absolutely loved the Hazara Rama temple and its stone carvings, however the mystical element was the time we spent watching the sunset behind the watch tower in temple premises. – We were awestruck by the Akhand Ramayana which has been going on for the past thirteen years in the temple in Malyavanta hill. What mesmerized us was the view of Hampi from the backside of the temple, which brought us chills. – The lake that fell en route to our hotel from the sites, brought a sense of oneness within, when we were lucky to witness two fishermen crossing paths, in the shimmer of the golden light of the setting sun, in the water. – The Coracle ride behind the Virupaksha temple complex is popular among tourists. We found solace when we climbed the small steps just ahead of the coracle ride spot, to the Yantrodharaka temple. The story behind it brought us to a peak of mysticism. Above are some experiences which I could find words for. Every minute in Hampi filled our souls with gratitude and a sense of fulfillment. With every moment of thankfulness and zero expectation, everything that we saw was beyond what we could have possibly imagined. For that, my beloved Hampi, I will be ever grateful. They say, “Hampi is dotted with numerous ruined temple complexes.” I wouldn’t say that Hampi is a place of decaying structures, I would say it is place of rising. Rising within; through the surge of energy it gives you, through the warmth and welcoming smiles of the people who live there, through the wonderful thought of the Emperor who conceptualized the idea to build a township like this, through the liberation, safety, comfort and love I felt in the bosom of Hampi.