The romance in the ruins of Hampi; Neeta Lal; DNA

India – Group of Monuments at Hampi

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, also known as ‘Virupaksha’, and the consort of the local goddess Pampa, the sprawling shrine nestles at the foot of the Hemakuta Hill.

Hampi mesmerized me completely. A surreal landscape defined by rocks, gigantic boulders, craggy hills, exquisite temples and the Tungabhadra River flowing through it all like mercurial silver, the UNESCO World Heritage Site in central Karnataka seems like Nature’s beauty on steroids.

And even though most of Hampi’s shrines and fortifications are crumbling edifices today—desecrated by Muslim invaders in the battle of Talikotain in 1565—there’s romance in its ruins. Each and every landmark here is a photo op, especially its most iconic shrine— the Virupaksha Temple. Intriguingly, the temple is fully intact even today and has been used for worship since its inception in the 7th century AD.

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