- Destination: Hampi
- Time to Visit: Any time. But summer could be really hot.
- Suggestion: While taking accommodation, don’t cross the river.
- Note: Foods are costly and need to buy drinking water even in hotels
- How To Reach:
- By Air – The nearest airport is at Hubli, 143km away from Hampi. Kingfisher Airlines used to fly from Mumbai and Bangalore.
- By Train – The nearest railway station is Hospet Junction, 13 Km away from Hampi. Overnight trains run several times a week from Bangalore Hyderabad and Goa. One can take Hampi Express from Bangalore City Junction at 22:00 which will reach Hospet next day at 07:50.
- By Bus – KSRTC operates daily bus to Hospet from Bangalore. From Hospet you can go to Hampi on a local bus for Rs.25. Book your tickets in advance if you want a coach or an air-con service, because the number of travelers is large (given that the place is very famous with foreigners) and the frequency of buses is less.
About: Hampi was the capital of Vijayanagar, a 14th century empire. The ruins of this imperial capital are spread out over an area of 26km. Before the fall of Vijayanagar, diamonds were sold on the streets, but the main street selling diamonds and other precious stones was surprisingly called Pan Supaari Street (translated in English, it means betel-leaf betel-nut street). A visitor can still see the exact location of Pan Supaari Street in Hampi, which has been marked with a board by the Archaeological Survey of India. Hampi is well worth the visit. The area is simply stunning and you will be in awe of the millions of boulders surrounding the area. Within this arid landscape lies a little oasis with lush palm, banana, and mango trees nestled near the river. Hampi is a great place to spend a few days wandering around and discovering the rich, vibrant history while also having a bit of ‘your’ time. Hampi hosts Hampi Utsav every year during first week of November. It is a visual delight as all the monuments/ruins are lit at night and it is a cultural extravaganza of dance and music. 2010 marked 500 years since the Vijayanagar king Sri Krishnadevaraya ascended to the throne. Our Journey Starts: Me and my friend Niloy planned to go to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Hampi. We booked our tickets in KSRTC Volvo (Airavat) well in advance. The bus started at 9.15 PM from Majestic. While waiting for the bus to depart, I decided to smoke. For smoking, I have to pay a fine of Rs. 200 there. What a start to the journey. So refrain from smoking at least in Majestic. After a comfortable nice journey, we reached Hospet the next day morning at 6AM. We freshened up in bus terminus washroom and took another bus to Hampi. The fare was Rs. 25. If you are taking an auto from Hospet, don’t forget to bargain. It took exactly 45 minutes to reach Hampi from Hospet. You can clearly make out once it reaches Hampi by seeing temples all around. Some are ruins, some are in good shape. After reaching Hampi, we started look for hotels. Few brokers tried to barge in. But without paying any heed to them, we started to look for accommodation of our own. There are plenty of accommodations, and all are equally good. Don’t expect duper deluxe hotel there. There is a river in the town. One can take accommodation on both sides of the river. Most of the guest houses are on other side of the river (area called Virupapur Gadde). To access them, you need to cross river by Motor boat (Rs. 10 for locals, Rs. 15 for tourists, boat runs until 18:00. If you cannot get on the boat, you have to pay auto Rs. 500-600 to take you other side via Hospet-Hugili- Hanumanhalli, which is a 40km tour. During moderate/high rains, the gates of Tungbhadra dam are opened which increases the water level and water flow in the river. In that case, you might get stranded on the other side of the river (Virupapur Gadde area). Alcohol is allowed on the other side of the river and not on the side of the temples. So think before you decide. My suggestion would be while taking accommodation, don’t cross the river. We managed a hotel in a very cheap rate of Rs. 400 per day as it was an off-season then. After finishing breakfast, we moved out of the hotel and our journey in archaeological site begins. The first temple you will find to visit is Viruprakasha Temple. It is quite a big one. There is an
elephant inside. The elephant give blessing with his trunk on paying Rs.10. There is a travel desk inside the temple run by Govt. Get a travel map from them if you don’t have one as it is very useful while going different places in Hampi. After seeing the temple, come out and take the long straight road. On both side of the street, you will be able to the ruins of Paan-Supari bazaar. Once this bazaar ends, there is monolithic bull in front of the hill. You can trek to the hill-top. While trekking, you will find ancient markings on the stone which depicts war and other stories of that time. Then come down from the hill and take a right just after a curio shop. There is a nice temple on
the Tungabhadra River. There are lots of boulders too. You can do bouldering and move ahead, you will find may small temple ruins, small caves and stone engraved with images of gods and goddesses. You can also take Coracle ride there. On the same day, after visiting these places, come to the river near Virupaksha temple and enjoy sunset.Take rest and don’t forget to have food in Mango Tree (A renowned restaurant with a brilliant ambience). Wake up next day early in the morning if you wish to see sun rise. Climb the right mountain from
the monolithic bull (mentioned earlier). At top, climbing may be difficult. Take precaution. Once you reach the top, a magnificent view of sun rise along with temple ruins between the hills can be observed. From the top, a great view of ruins of Achutaraya temple can be seen. Once it is done, come back, have breakfast and hire a car or a bike to travel other places of Hampi. Bike is the most easy and cheap way of convenience. Bike here means basic Moped which will charge you Rs.250 for entire day. Fuel extra. 2 litres of petrol is enough to excavate Hampi. We took a Moped the next day. Gear and break alignment are completely opposite in compare to other bikes, I first started the bike and my friend Niloy sat on it. On starting, I couldn’t keep
balance and we both fell from the bike. Luckily no one got hurt except minor scratches. I thought it’s a problem with me. However, I have seen other people are struggling too in the beginning. After driving for sometime, you will get used to it. Visit Zenena Enclosure and Royal Enclosure with bike/car. These two enclosures are like two sectors, in which you will find many temple and temple ruins. These two enclosures are very closely situated. The distance of these enclosures from Hampi is around 5KM.On visiting these enclosures; you will cover almost entire Hampi. You can get to see King’s Balance, Two stoned Gateway, Underground Shiva Temple, Band Tower, Hazara Rama Temple, Elephant Stables, and many more. One the way back see Krishna temple. Don’t miss out on seeing Vittala Temple. There is a huge stone chariot inside which used to run long time back. At night, the temple ruins are lighted with halogens from outside. It gives a beautiful view. Only the temple ruin is standing among all darkness. To be honest, I got tired at the end of the day after seeing so many temples. But to be honest again, all the temples have fine sculpture which I can’t stop myself from admiring.
Come back and take bus at night from Hampi to reach Hospet. You can have dinner in Hospet or in Hampi. From Hospet, you can get bus to Bangalore and Mysore. Keep your tickets booked in advance. I got fever while coming back. After coming back to Hospet, bought few medicines for fever, soared throat and running nose. Took all the medicines together and lied down in AC sleeper coach. However, on boarding the bus, the conductor announced the AC is not working and they will refund the AC charges. We got worried, how to travel an entire night in a closed shell. But, they kept the blower on. Actually, we didn’t have to suffer for that. Later at night, I used blanket to sleep though there was no fever at that time. In the end, journey was comfortable. We had a nice time in Hampi. I thanked my friend Niloy for planning such a beautiful trip, as planning to come Hampi was completely his idea, I just joined. It is quite a unique place. I have been to so many places, but nothing like this. All temple ruins…so close to history…All the time we read in books about these,. Now here I got a chance to actually see it through my own eyes. Never miss an opportunity if you ever get an opportunity to visit Hampi…And at least stay for a night to cover entire Hampi. Hampi will never betray your expectations…