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Hampi, the city of ruins! Some say, Hampi is a magical land with all its ruins from the bygone era.
Indeed, Hampi is wonderful. Who doesn't love to explore Hampi and be amazed at the stories that happened in the past! Due to similar reasons, I set out to explore Hampi.
Close to one month stay in Hampi was a great experience for me. But the cherry on the cake was my stay at Heritage Resort Hampi during the last couple of days! You may ask why. Here is why I think my stay at this resort was an enriching experience.
Any of those usual resorts will have facilities like flat screen TV, hair dryer, personal safe, coffee-tea making facilities and a bit more advanced recreation facilities like a swimming pool and a spa. Yes, Heritage resort Hampi also had all those amenities. But what impressed me the most were something else.
It was some of the new knowledge that I acquired from this place made my stay very special. Here I am sharing the top 5 things I learned from Heritage resort Hampi during my two nights stay in the property
If you have ever been to Hampi, there is a high chance that you might have seen the Banjara ladies, those ones who wear colourful traditional dress, red and yellow being predominant and with intricate stitching patterns with pieces of mirrors, shells and coins making an integral part of the embellishment.
This way of creating colourful clothes with pieces of mirrors and other things stitched into it called Lepo embroidery or more popularly known as Lambani embroidery. So it is very evident that Lambani embroidery has a significant part in Banjara identity.
The Lepo embroidery practiced by the Banjara tribe people at Sandur in Bellary district is even more special. It is specifically called as Sandur Lambani embroidery. In 2008, this Sandur Lambani embroidery got Geographic Indication (GI) tag.
After checking in at the resort, as soon as I entered my room, what caught my attention was the colorful bed runner and two small pillows. It was definitely different from what you get to see on other hotels and resorts. After a while when I got a chance to meet the General Manager Mr. Prasanna, out of curiosity I asked him about the runner. Then the story of Lambani embroidery was revealed to me!
As part of their company's vision and policy, they have made it a point to help the local economy and all things that are part of the local heritage. This resort buy products like Pillow covers and bed runners directly from Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, a non profit organization. By doing so Heritage resort Hampi is directly helping almost 500 artisans who work there. This I believe is a great initiative from them!
Can you even believe that you can train an inexperienced local person from a nearby small village who has never worked in any hospitality industry before, who has no opportunity to practice spoken English ever; into a full time, courteous staff who has to interact with western guests?!
Heritage Resort Hampi has done it, not with just one person, but with 80% of their staffs. The 20% who are already having industry expertise and English skills trained the rest of 80% and that too just with 99 words!! Certain level of innovation is needed when it comes to training a completely inexperienced person and to bring them to a professional level during on the job training!
When I first heard about this my reaction was, it was a big risk they were taking by employing an inexperienced person with in-house- on the job training at a Luxury resort where guests have higher expectation on the services provided to them! But during my stay I NEVER felt that any of these staffs were lacking any sort of professionalism. All of them were genuinely warm and helpful and communicated perfectly.
I think another advantage of employing and training local people, apart from helping the local community, is high retention rate. I'm sure this is the main reason why Heritage resort Hampi has a great team of loyal employees. Also the better performers get special training and a chance to visit and get more experience at their other resorts. So in short Heritage Hampi is creating a group of pleasant workforce who is ready to give the best guest service with a smile on their face.
Like any other hotel or resort, there are paintings and sculptures. But they were not procured from an artist with many business contact or from someone who sells at a fancy price! The operations team at Heritage resort Hampi had identified the local talents and bought all of the art and artifact from such artists or artisans.
As part of their Corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, this resort has helped one of the talented student from North India to pursue his higher studies. The management agreed to buy his paintings and with that money this artist could go for his higher studies in art! (You can find those paintings in the spa.)
More over helping the local artists in many ways, this resort has also encourages and tries to preserve the local traditional art forms. Almost everyday this resort organizes a local art form performance for the guest. By providing a platform for the performers of traditional art forms, Heritage Hampi not only provides a financial help for the these artist but also a reason to continue these traditional art forms, many of which are almost at the threat of extinction. Due to such initiatives, even the younger generation is coming up to carry forward the heritage.
I was lucky enough to see Dollu Kunitha, a major popular drum dance of Karnataka. Even the young kids were part of the performance which means that the art form is passed onto younger generation and it will be safe with them as long as there are such encouragements.
Helping the local community doesn't stop with helping just the artists and performers. It extends to the local farmers. Kitchen at Heritage Resort Hampi runs with locally grown and procured vegetables and other produces. By removing the middlemen and directly procuring from the farmers, they are giving the full benefits directly to the farmers and thus creates a win-win situation. Also they run experiential tours which revolves around local village life which again positively reinforce the local economy.
The total area of Heritage Resort Hampi is a vast 9 acres! Out of this area, almost 4 acres are dedicated to an expansive organic farm! This is a welcome change among all those hotels and resorts which tries to maximize their room revenue from every inch of available land they posses! Probably this resort is also trying to maximize revenue from every inch of land but by being close to nature and by being Eco-friendly.
They produce more vegetables than that they can consume, from their organic garden. So in short, this resort is almost self sustainable! No wonder one of their main focus is sustainability! All the excess vegetables that they generate gets a makeover and they create value added products such as pickles, jellies, juices and so on. In that way they target revenue from the land by providing a better atmosphere which is closer to nature for the guests who come to stay.
Since they believe in being Eco-friendly, they do not use any pesticides in their farms. But they have to get rid of the insects and flies from spoiling their fruits and vegetables. They strictly do not use any chemicals or pesticides but they do efficiently and effectively keep the insects away from the fruits and vegetables, and they do it by following a organic farming method.
They grow Marigold! Yes, the flowering plant that gives bright yellow-orange flowers. Marigold is their first line of defense against the insects! Marigold is one of those plants that naturally repel insects! They either repel the insects and aphids or attract those flies towards the flower and keeping them away from the fruits and vegetables and acts as a protection plant. Such a smart idea!
Carbon footprint is defined as the total emissions caused by an individual, event, organisation, or product. Here in the case of Heritage resort Hampi, this indicator is negative which means they have more trees which produce more oxygen than the carbon dioxide produced by all of the activities happening within the resort! This shows how environmental conscious this group is!
I know it is not possible for a common man to measure the carbon footprint to verify it. But then the almost 50% of total area being organic farm, makes a firm statement to prove this claim! Also the drop in temperature one feels when they enter the resort premises from a hot Hampi afternoon supports this claim.
The environment conservation endeavors don't stop at keeping 4 acres of organic farm. They believe in the fundamental conservation principles of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle.
One of the ways in which they are trying to reduce the use of plastic is by providing drinking water for the guests in reusable glass bottles. They are also trying to reuse the already existing plastic bottles for other uses such as creating boundary walls.
People with a broader vision like Mr. Sunirmol Ghosh, the Director of Indo-Asia Hotels to which Heritage Resort Hampi belongs, can only create a wonderful space like Heritage resort Hampi which is a luxury resort that has special focuses on being sustainable, being eco friendly and being a helping hand to the local economy!
Let's hear what Mr. Sunirmol Ghosh, the director talks about Heritage Resort Hampi, " We want to give the feeling of space to the people living in the cities today, in cramped up space with almost no relationship to the nature. Here in Heritage resort Hampi we provide you space that is closer to nature. We are an environmental friendly-sustainable resort. We are proud to have an effectively negative carbon footprints". I believe we need such leadership in all industries!
Hampi is one of the most historically important places in India and personally I believe the ruins of Hampi need to be explored by walking and hiking. The best time to do that would be in the morning before the sun is in its full power for obvious reasons.
The best way to start your first day of exploration in Hampi would be by going to Matanga hills to witness a beautiful sunrise! After enjoying the sunrise, you can go visit the Virupaksha temple and Hemakuta group of temples which are very close. If you think you have enough time, you can visit Achyutaraya temple before visiting Virupaksha temple which is on the other side of Matanga hills.
Once you have finished the brief visit to the temples, you can head back to the resort for the complimentary buffet breakfast. It is served from 7.30 to 10 AM. On the way back to the resort, if time permits, you can take quick stops at Kadlekalu Ganesha, Krishna temple, Krishna bazar, Lakshmi Narasimha statue, Queens bath etc. If you feel that you are rushing through these places, you can always come back and explore these places more, later!
After the breakfast, if you want less of a ruin exploration and more of a local experience, you can opt for the Village tour organized by the resort which includes a bullock cart ride through the sugar cane fields and to a village. This tour takes you through an authentic village life. You can read more about the experiences from here.
In the afternoon, it would be a good idea to stay within the resort premises, away from the outside heat, enjoying the swimming pool or the spa. Also the lunch provided by Heritage resort Hampi involves some of the authentic local cuisines, the menu of which keeps on changing everyday.
After the lunch and relaxation, you will be ready and recharged for another round of exploratory trip to Hampi in the evening time. If sunset is in your mind, you can go to Matanga hills, Hemakuta hills, Malyavanta or Anjanadri hills depending upon how far you want to travel. Or else you can just stay at the property and take a guided walk through the Organic farm getting to know the plants, fruits, vegetables and more.
If you want to enjoy a traditional art form, be back at the property by 7pm and witness an authentic demonstration performed by local artists. By then it will be time for an amazing dinner. To make it even more amazing you can opt for a pool side romantic dinner or a forest themed dinner within the property. More on Destination Dining is given here.
Then probably it is time for you to experience the bed runner and pillows with Sandur Lambani embroidery! Time to call it as a day!
Hampi requires at least two to three days for you to experience properly. Second day can be dedicated to explore the rest of important places to visit in Hampi till afternoon. A visit to Daroji bear sanctuary or Tungabadra dam in the later part of the day can be planned.
There are some nearby villages and places of interests to visit. Some of them are two to three hours of drive away. If you have any such plans, do visit Pattadakkal, Aihole or Badami. They are equally interesting like Hampi.
If you feel like you want a relaxed holiday with a touch of luxury super close to the nature, your answer in Hampi is Heritage Resort. Book your room at Heritage Resort Hampi from the link below.
Read more about Heritage Resort Hampi from their website.