Hampi, in North Karnataka, around 350kms from Bangalore, presents an awesome cocktail of rivers, hills, heritage and awesome food which is irresistible to a traveller.
I have been to Hampi 3 times. Here I’ll collate the highlights of the place, in case you want to cover the place in 2 or 3 days, interspersed with relaxation, so that your trip does not become too hectic.
A bit about Hampi:
Hampi was the capital of Vijayanagara empire, in around 1400 AD and was considered to be one of the most prosperous cities during that era. Conquered by coalition of Muslim sultanates in around 1500 AD, Hampi was destroyed and is lying in ruin since.
Hampi is declared a world Heritage Site by UNESCO. The ruins are scattered around 2 sides of Tungabhadra River, most of the ruins being on the side of the river, where Virupaksha Temple is.
There are trains till Hospet from all major cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore, etc. From Hospet you can take taxis or autos to Hampi. There are also buses from Bangalore, which can take you directly to Hampi.
Hampi bus cum auto stop is near the Virupaksha Temple, the biggest temple in here. If you are staying in Hampi, for reaching most of these hotels, you will have to cross the Tungabhadra river. There are motor boats to cross the river, available from beside the Virupaksha temple.
All the 3 times I stayed in Shanti Guest House. Liked the place the first time I went so just stuck to it for the next trips as well. It’s just beside paddy fields and the river. Makes an awesome getaway from the city life.
There are several similar places to stay in Hampi. However, if you are looking for a more luxurious place to stay, you should stay in Hospet which is the nearest town to Hampi.
Places to Visit:
1. Virupaksha Temple
This temple is just beside the bus stand. You can give pooja here in case you are the religious type, or just admire it for the architectural marvel it is.
2. Vittala Temple & The Stone Chariot inside the temple
The stone chariot, which also finds it’s place in some of Indian currency notes, is dedicated to Garuda. Other than the stone chariot, most of the temple is in ruins. Though the entirety offers a magnificent view.
3. Anjaneya Hill
Believed by many to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman, this hill is on the other side of Tungabhadra (Virupaksha Temple, Vittal temple, etc. being on one side). There is a Hanuman temple on top of the hill, which can be reached by a easy trek through steps built on the hill.
If you visit this place around late afternoon, then you can treat yourself to a beautiful sunset, as the hilltop offers stunning views of the landscape around Hampi.
4. Zenana Enclosure
This is a walled area where Royal Ladies used to reside. Main structures to see here are Lotus Mahal and Elephant Stables. Around this enclosure are also several temples which are worth a visit.
5. Royal Enclosure
Mostly in ruins, here you can see the stepped tank, similar to what is there in Jaipur Rajasthan.
6. Mango Tree Restuarant
Previously this place was situated beside the Tungabhadra River, below a huge Mango tree. It was a great place to spend hours relaxing and eating the awesome cuisine at offer. Due to a land dispute they had to shift to the market beside Virupaksha temple. But the food is still great I hear.
So do check it out.
7. Hidden Jewels
If you walk straight down the road, keeping Virupaksha Temple behind you, you would reach an interesting area. You have to go from inside a cave like area and there is a big water body which opens up. Nice place to hang around for a while.
The Tungabhadra river itself provides awesome landscapes. You can find weird stonescapes and hidden lakes (for the swimmers) if you explore the Tungabhadra river a bit.
Hampi is a great place to visit for a weekend, or even for a longer period. There are no shortage of places to visit or explore. It is also a photographers paradise! Here are few more snaps from around Hampi