Hampi, to me, was all about archaeological ruins, historical temples & rock mountains, till I researched and explored the other face of it. Hampi, which became the capital of the Vijayanagar Empire in the 14th century, has always been a very inviting holiday and photography destination for me. The history of Hampi, the ruins that speaks volumes about the rich culture and its heritage, has always mesmerized me since my childhood. Hampi is not only famous for all this; it is also famous for its wildlife. I will be talking about Hampi wildlife in this part of my blog.

hampi wildlife

Photograph: Sheshadri Vasan

 

Hampi and its surroundings provide a very conducive habitat for these sloth bears, which are also known as Jambavantha as per the Ramayana in Hindu mythology.

It is believed that Kishkinda, the mythical kingdom of the monkey king Sugriva was located on the banks of the River Thungabhadra in Hampi. In the war against Ravana, the monkey king Sugriva, was Rama’s ally. When Rama’s army crossed Hampi en route to Lanka, they met Jambavantha, a bear who joined the army. And the Sloth bears of Hampi make me believe more in this mythical story.

Daroji Bear sanctuary near Hampi is the best place to see these sloth bears in their natural habitat. One needs to have patience and of course some luck to sight them. During my recent trip to Hampi, I ensured sloth bears topped the agenda and I went to the bear sanctuary by late noon on a winter day. After patiently waiting for almost an hour or so, I saw something that resembled a black ball of fur, descending a hillock. After a few minutes, when the ball started coming down closer to me, I was overwhelmed to realize that it’s the Sloth bear, the animal which I had longed to see and photograph. He munched on some fruits and apparently on termites as well and stood on a rock to give me a great photo opportunity. My day was made!!!

The next morning, I ventured out in my car by around 7 am to explore the bird life of Hampi. Hampi has a very precious bird life, Francolins, Cuckoo, Bee-eaters, Quails, Sparrows, Laughing-Doves and of course, my favorite, the Indian Eagle-Owl.

hampi wildlife

Photograph: Sheshadri Vasan

 

As I drove, I carefully watched the rock formations to my left and right and to my surprise; I spotted this amazingly beautiful bird called the Indian Eagle-Owl. I was fortunate enough to click some pictures of this beauty and proceeded towards the Ruins, main roads and the temples of Hampi where I found a few other bird species. Hampi this time was a very fulfilling trip and I am sure I will return to this wonderful place to explore more, especially the wildside of it.