BALLARI: Hampi has emerged at the second spot in the list of ‘52 places to go in 2019’ published by The New York Times. The UNESCO World Heritage Site figures behind Puerto Rico, which has grabbed the top place for its amazing recovery from Hurricane Maria to rebound as a tourist destination.
The report recommends Hampi as a favoured place, and talks about its archeological monuments, scenic vistas against the Tungabhadra river, and geological rock formations. “At the heights of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 16th century, Hampi thrived as one of the largest and richest cities in the world. Its architectural legacy lives on in the Southwestern State of Karnataka with over 1,000 well-preserved monuments, including Hindu temples, forts and palaces,” the report says. The description also mentions the difficulty in reaching there, while pointing out the recent air connectivity provided to Ballari from Hyderabad and Bengaluru. Tourists can take up rock climbing and river jaunts in basket boats (coracle), the feature says, while suggesting a few places to stay.
Hampi is the only destination not just from India, but entire South Asia, in the list.While the report brought happiness to experts, they also said that more needs to be done. “Let monuments be protected and showcased in a better manner. It is important for tourism,” Professor C S Vasudevan from Department of Ancient History and Archeology, Kannada University, Hampi, said.
Mallika Ghanti, Vice Chancellor, Kannada University, said that history of the Vijayanagara Empire is popular, and still has many hidden things. “If a proper excavation is done, it will bring out many more surprises pertaining to the lost history, best architectures and sculptures,” she said, adding that development of only Hampi is not enough, since villages around it should also see progress. “There should not be any eviction in the name of development of the world heritage site; it should be a package development,” she said.