A regal retreat in historic Hampi, Karnataka
Hampi—a land of fabulous boulders and equally stunning Vijayanagara ruins set amidst emerald fields—is among the last few grand historical spots in the country that still seems “undiscovered”. While many tourists, especially Indians, do visit Hampi, its vastness ensures that a traveller can feel like she is the only visitor at a particular ‘sightseeing’ spot. Travellers also need many days to explore the many architectural and natural treasures of this ancient land and the luxury Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace is perfectly located just 4km from the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Built like a fort-palace, the Kamalapura Palace is a sweeping structure with vast, almost stark, and luxurious interiors. Its fort like entrance, stone-paved boulevards, arched hallways and the subdued colours are a tribute to the architectural style of the Vijayanagara ruins that lie nearby. So the sparseness is intentional—the mostly monochrome colours of the rooms, the granite floors, the dark wood furniture are all a nod to the region’s built history, with the many water features and the rich and deeply hued curtains and drapes offering visual relief.
The hotel offers 37 rooms across three categories and 9 suites. The Jal Mahal suites, inspired by the Water Palace in the Zenana Enclosure of the Hampi ruins, are massive with separate living, dining and sleeping areas and come with courtyard bathrooms that are fit for royalty. Plus, each suite has a private deck with a ‘mantapa’ overlooking the private pool.
The Zenana, Nilaya and Nivasa suites and rooms in the main building are also luxurious. Only the sizes of the rooms and the location of the personal Jacuzzi in each room varies!
An annexe building that has drawn inspiration from the Lotus Mahal of Hampi houses the spa, reading lounge and one of the two restaurants at the resort.
Of course, it is the 1,600 monuments, temples, palaces, markets and other structures of Hampi, the boulder strewn natural landscape and the beautiful Tungabhadra River that are the stars of a visit here. To make sightseeing easier, the resort has charted out four trails, each covering an important set of monuments and sights. The Raya Trail focuses on the kings of Vijayanagara and the structures built for them; in the Virupaksha Trail, apart from visiting this famous temple guests get to visit other temples and climb a hill to view the fantastic rock strewn landscape; the Vitthalapura Walk is focused on the Vitthalapura Bazaar and the Vijaya Vittala Temple with its musical stone pillars and stone chariot; and the Thungabhadra Trail takes guests away from the core of the ruins to the beautiful river, whose banks are covered with giant boulders, and also to explore ruins of a nearby temple and bazaar.
Price: From Rs 23,000
Read more: https://www.evolveback.com/hampi/
Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace, like its two sister properties in Coorg and Kabini, follows RT practices. These include using recycled and treated sewage water for horticulture, waste segregation and waste recycling, use of electric buggies and electric cycles, use of RO water, use of cloth, newspaper and biodegradable bags and use of solar energy. About 60% of staff is from the nearby villages. The resort has adopted a local school.