Hampi is an ancient town in Karnataka with a population of a few thousands. The focal point of your visit here is the ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire, once a flourishing kingdom dating 1 CE. It has been pronounced as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Spread over 11 km, the ruins can take up to 2 to 3 days to explore by yourself. But if one is pressed for time, here is an option to do with…
Note that this itinerary is just one way of exploring Hampi. If you have a better and comfortable way of doing this trip, go ahead. The idea here is to encourage you to visit this heritage marvel and you are free to do it your own way.
Day 1 in Hampi
Arrive in Hospet, the nearest big town. We chose to drive down from Mumbai (740 km) and arrived late in the evening. Book yourselves in a lodge right away. Take some rest as you have an early morning the next day.
Day 2 in Hampi
Set out to explore the ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire. The site opens for visitors at 8 am. The main attractions include the Virupaksha Temple, Hampi Bazaar, Stepped Tank, Lotus Mahal, Queens Summer Palace, Stone Doors, Elephants’ Stable and the underground Shivalinga.
The Hemakuta temples have an 18 feet high Ganesha made from a single stone. Even the 21 feet Lakshmi Narasimha is carved from a single stone. The Vittala Temple is popular for its Stone Chariot and Musical Pillars. Sit by the shore of the Tungabhadra river or take a dip in its waters, either ways you feel refreshed.
The Matanga hill is known for the panoramic view of Hampi as well as its sunrises and sunsets. Avoid climbing the hill during noons, as the heat is unbearable.
You can also take the coracle ride to Anegundi village across the river from the Vittala temple complex. The village is known to be the birth place of Lord Hanuman.
Day 3 in Hampi
Wake up early morning and after breakfast leave for your journey onward.
Other things to see
Apart from the ruins of the Vijayanagara empire there isn’t much from a tourist standpoint in Hampi – Hospet. You can still check out the Bear Sanctuary in Hospet.
In the evening around 7 pm, there is a Musical Fountain show near the Tungabhadra dam. The site is just about an okay filler. We were a bit disappointed and found it gimmicky. However, if you are a group of friends out to have a good time, you could sit in the gardens and watch the fountains dance to Kannada and Hindi songs.
How to reach Hampi
You can opt for a train or bus journey to Hampi in which case your nearest stop will be Hospet (13 km away). Government buses run from Hospet to Hampi every half an hour.
How did we get there:
We chose to drive down to Hampi with our vehicle. This took us 12 hours from Mumbai and we arrived late in the evening. We generally prefer to drive during the day and sleep the night off rather than drive all night and feel tired the next morning in which case you sometimes compromise on sightseeing.
If you contemplate on driving down with your vehicle, note that the roads are not in great shape. Also make sure your car has good ground clearance. We drove with a Maruti Suzuki Esteem and our silencer gave way.
Traveling within the Heritage Complex
While exploring the ruins it is recommended to hire a bicycle, moped or a rickshaw. If you are pressed for time also hire a guide. We decided to hire a guide as we had only 1 day in Hampi-Hospet. It was a good decision, as the guide gives you many little details which a map or book would not provide. Take for example the news that the Karnataka court has asked the 4000 odd villagers around the ruins to vacate the place for excavation and since it is a protected site. The government has allocated a place 4 km away from the ruins.
Food and local language in Hampi
No non-vegetarian food is available within the boundaries of Hampi. Hospet is your bet for non-vegetarian meals.
The locals may understand English and Hindi, but don’t expect them to converse fluently. Kannada still remains their dominant language.
An underground Shivalinga
Accommodation in Hampi-Hospet
Hospet, since better developed has good hotel amenities compared to Hampi. There are many options like Mega Inn, Pai Residency and Hotel Shanbaug International. If you want to stay in Hampi, there are a few basic lodges like Mayura Bhuvaneshwari which is a centrally located Government guest house.
We chose Pai Residency in Hospet for a reasonable deal on a Family room with a/c.
Getaway from Hampi
We decided to combine this trip with Goa. So, after our stay in Hampi we drove onward (Obviously not without getting our silencer repaired while in Hospet).
This itinerary is if you drive drown with your own vehicle. But remember, there are many other ways to reach Hampi like via a bus or train.
A lot of travelers combine Hampi with Bangalore or Goa. For example, they board a night bus from Goa, arrive Hospet in the morning. Take a government bus or auto rickshaw to Hampi, explore the ruins until evening, come back to Hospet and board the bus back to their original destination. This way you can cut down on an extra night in Hampi-Hospet. However, the journey may get tedious and gives little or no time to rest.
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