Hampi is a village in Karnataka & known for its temples and ruins. It’s a UNESCO’s world heritage site. Ruins are spread on both sides of Tungabhadra River. Most of the ruins are in bazaar side of the river and another side has comparatively lesser places to visit. Another side of the river is more popular among foreign or Indian travel, who just want to relax in peace in the middle of paddy fields. It is comparatively cheaper also.
To reach Hampi, take a train or a bus from Bangalore or Hyderabad or if coming from Mumbai or Goa then only buses are available, these are some of the popular routes.
Once I had decided to travel to Hampi, I asked my friend with whom I had traveled many times in past. She instantly agreed and we fine tuned my plan :-). We booked a flight from Delhi to Hyderabad. In Hyderabad, we had an almost full day so we roamed around during the day & had hydrabadi biryani. Finally boarded the train for overnight journey to Hospet. The train reached Hospet on time, it was early morning. We took auto-rickshaw from the railway station for Hampi, which is approx 14 km. He agreed to take us for 200 Rs after a little negotiation and we reached Hampi after half an hour. Before our auto-rickshaw guy announced that we reached Hampi, we had our first sight of some monuments/ruins on the sides of the road. There were many tourists already exploring and it was just 8 in morning.
Hampi is very small in size and lanes are narrow but our auto guy negotiated these lanes skillfully to reach our guesthouse, which we had booked online. The guy who owns the place had welcomed us and didn’t ask to show him the hotel voucher. They were still cleaning our room as we reached early, so we decided to have our breakfast because we were hungry.
After check-in and freshen up, we decided to explore the main attractions. We were staying in bazaar area, so decided to explore it later by foot. We had a list of places we wanted to see but our guesthouse guy also gave us a map of Hampi’s tourist attractions. We booked an auto to explore the places, which were a bit far. Auto is most convenient and economical, though Cycles are very popular in Hampi and we had come across many people riding & exploring on these but it was quite hot during the day. Moreover, we were there only for 3 days, so didn’t want to get lost and waste time.
Loaded with water, map & camera, we started and our first stop was Narasimha Vigraha then we proceeded to Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple, Shivlinga, Vithala Temple Complex, King’s balance, Dasara Dibba, Achyutaraya Temple, Queen’s bath, Lotus Temple, Elephant stable, Hazara Rama Temple, Archeological gallery, Zanana enclosure, underground shiva temple and group of monuments. I am not giving a history of these places but we easily covered all these places. Check this Photo blog of Hampi Monuments – Places to Visit
During the sightseeing we stopped in a farm kind of place. There was a restaurant in the middle of trees. The food was basic but nice and the place was very quite as it was in middle of nowhere. There are not many options for lunch, when on the move.
On the way back to Hampi town we had seen sister’s rock. We reached our guesthouse much before sunset, we saw many places and were quite happy but we were very tired due to heat & to some extent from walking in dry hot weather.
It was hot in sun but once we came inside the room then it was pleasant even in the fan. After relaxing for a while, I decided to take a walk. Tungabhadra river was only 5 minutes walking distance from our guesthouse. I sat on the banks of it watching people playing & bathing in the river.
When the sun started setting, I moved towards Manmatha tank next to the temple and watched/captured the sun setting behind the temples.
Hampi is small but eating is not an issue, there are many places though all restaurants in bazaar area close to temple serve only vegetarian food. Nonvegetarian food is available across the river. Our hotel guy recommended a place called Mango tree, which also rated high on different travel sites. So, we decided to give it a try as because was only 3-4 minutes walking distance from our hotel. This place was decorated with basic things but in an interesting manner, they have a comfortable sitting arrangement with a mattress on the floor and regular tables. When we reached places was almost full and buzzing but we got a comfortable place to have our meal.
After dinner, we walked around in lanes for some time just to get the feel of the town. While we were walking we have seen a place, where some benches and tables were placed but otherwise no activity. On our inquiry, we came to know that this is a place for breakfast and run by women. So, we decided to give it a try next morning and called for the day.
Next day we decided to explore the Hampi across the river but before starting our day we decided to have breakfast at the place we found last night. Upon reaching we found 4 women, who were preparing fresh south Indian breakfast items like Idli, Dosa, Puddu and were serving those with chutney & potato curry. It was very economical, tasty and fresh. We finished it with 2 cups of south Indian coffee.
As I mentioned earlier, we were close to the river, so we walked for 8-10 minutes and reached the ferry point. They have two way to cross the river i.e. by Coracle or by shared boat running with the engine. We bought the tickets from the makeshift counter and crossed the river.
From river bank, we had to climb a bit to reach the main area/bazaar. The scene on this side of the river was somewhat different, there were lush green paddy fields with coconut trees. There was a row of shops and restaurants across the paddy fields. We found a bakery and decided to sample a couple of things from a there. The quality we found at par with any good city bakery.
After roaming around for some time, we took an auto to explore places like Agegudi, the old palace, Pampa Sarovar and some other temples of which I forgot the name 😛 We went to all these places and there were no tourists in any place except for a foreign couple at Pampa Sarovar. Again we hired an auto-rickshaw for half day trip. We came back to the market area after sightseeing and decided to have lunch. In Hampi, you can easily get international food from any part of the world because the number of foreign tourist visit here is more in comparison to Indians. Well, Indian food was also available. I ordered vegetarian pizza and simply loved what I got. It was baked in wood fired oven and base as well toppings were just perfect. After relaxing there for some time, we decided to cross the river and return.
After returning we relaxed for some time and then proceeded to sunset point, which was on a small hill next to Virupaksha temple. When we reached it was quite and there was no other soul in sight. Some monkeys were running around and jumping on ruins. But as sunset time approached, a place filled with people and sunset behind the hills was beautiful.
After dinner, we called for the day because next morning we decided to go for sunrise.
The day before at sunset point, we met a photography group and they advised us to go to old Hampi bazaar area for sunrise because according to them it becomes quite hazy at Matunga hill. My friend was also not keen to climb Matunga so we followed the advice and went to old Hampi bazaar. The sun came up behind the hills, it was hazy in this part also 🙁
After watching the sunrise and strolling around we came back to our guest house. We again went to aunt’s breakfast stall because we liked her food.
After stuffing ourselves finally we went to the Virupaksha temple, though we had crossed it few times in last two days but going inside for the first time. It’s not very well maintained and some places/walls were dirty. Monkeys were jumping around. There was nothing spectacular to write about it.
As the sun was getting up and heat was increasing my friend decided to go back to the guesthouse. But I decided to visit sunset hill, where I had seen few temples day before but could not explore much due to time constraint. I walked around for some 3 hours and reached back our guest for lunch time.
I and my friend thought of trying some other place for lunch but after checking few places, we again went back to our old joint Mango tree. We ordered falafel and noodles, they served those also on banana leaves 😛
Our bus was in evening from Hospet and we still have some time. So we decided to do some souvenir shopping in bazaar area then we gain went to the river and sat there for an hour in shade watching people & river. After relaxing there for some time we came back to our hotel to pack and leave.
We took an auto from Hampi to Hospet and reached the place from where we have to take our sleeper bus for Mumbai.
Hampi is not even a town, it’s more like a village with lots of guest houses / small hotels and many restaurants. People are very open minded and don’t feel you are in a small place. Food is good and you get all varieties from Indian, continental, south Indian or Italian or Israeli.
There are so many monuments/ruins and after a while, you start forgetting names. Ever another place has some old ruins, you travel few hundred meters and you will come across something. The main attractions are Virupaksha temple & surroundings and Vithala temple complex, other then this area near Archeological museum has many major attractions. I have not written in detail about monuments because that’s available easily on google. What I wrote about is my experience only. When in Hampi be prepared to walk and enjoy.