Hampi - A treasure trove
Hampi is known to everyone as a UNESCO heritage site with its extraordinary architecture. Some of the temples and structure go back a millennium, weathering the onslaught of various invasions, treasure hunters and weather.
There is art in every stone and it could take a lifetime, for anyone who is interested in architecture, to see and enjoy those magnificent creations of man.
Along with that Hampi also has a natural side to it, with a rich diversity of flora and fauna. This is not a very highly known aspect of Hampi, and just as in many other places, this is area which I am quite interested in.
The ruins are not home only to those brilliant architectures, some others also call it a home. Like this little wise guy hiding in the wedges.
I visited the place twice - once in 2016 and then again in 2017 - both times thanks to Birdwingers for organizing the trip and initiating me to Hampi, especially to its natural side. We were hosted by a local multifaceted gentleman, who is a naturalist, conservationist and also an avid bird lover.
Watching and photographing the birds started right from during the journey from Hosepet railway station (the nearest railway station) to Hampi. Once we are out of the hustle and bustle of the town, there are quite a lot of birding opportunities all along the way.
Most of the route was through the banks of a canal which is a tributary from the Tungabadra. The place itself provided excellent opportunities for those interested in birds and other natural beauties.
Once we reached our host's place, which is somewhere slightly outside the Hampi heritage town, we were presented with amazing opportunities for birding. Since it was still not mid-day and the birds were still quite active. So we decided to take advantage of this opportunity.
The place adjacent to the Daroji sanctuary proved to be a very good place to see a variety of birds and animals. We just had to sit hidden and watch these beautiful friends walk by us!
The most elegant and colourful pair are here! Mr and Mrs Peafowl!
|The curious Mongoose
We can find some of the very long distance migrants as well. Here are 2 such real long distance fliers!
|A pair of Bar-headed geese - These guys migrate from as far as Mongolia
|Black-winged Godwit - Can fly 11,000 KM non-stop
We also tried to get some species that are not too common in other places, especially the Yellow-throated bulbul, which is endemic to Hampi and the surrounding habitat.
|Red munia or Strawberry finch
This tiny beauty is an endemic bird. Always active and has a sweet song. Considering the habitat, this fellow is a bit hard to find, but the efforts are worth it, for sure.
|The local fellow - Yellow-throated bulbul
We came to know of a place where we can find the Painted Sandgrouse. Though it was already evening and the sunlight was getting low in the rolling hills kind of place, we did manage to find them. These birds are mostly in pairs and we did find them so in this case.
The Daroji sloth bear sanctuary is another must see place. Apart from the Big Baloo, there are quite a few other wildlife there. There are reports of even leopard spotting, but we had not been lucky enough to see one during our visit.
|Honey in the sap of the tree?
|The cautious look
Evening was spent in the farm of our host. The habitat was quite rich with the food needed by some of the birds.
Always thought that Koels were black. But when the evening sun showed different colours!
|Koel - Male
|Ashy crowned sparrow lark - The adult male feeding the chick
|Large grey babbler having a cautious look
|White-breasted water hen going about its business
Even the night fall had something beautiful in store for us. Both the times we were there, we had the chances to witness some spectacular views and skies. And it is not just the humans who enjoy such splendid sunsets, even our closest relatives do!
|Money enjoying the sunset
Why would be not enjoy such a wonderful scene!
|A very colourful sunset and one of the most photographed place in Hampi
When God decides to show us something really spectacular, just enjoy without thinking too much. Not sure what the phenomenon here is, but these 2 were one most spectacular twilight sky we ever witnessed!
|Twilight sky with some deep colours
Hope you enjoyed the natural world of Hampi. Next time when you visit there, make sure you visit this natural side of this amazing place!
|Nature in its full glory!