“The world is a book and those who never travel read only a page.”
– Saint Augustine
Yes, you guessed it right! This is a travel blogpost of my recent experience in the ancient city of Hampi!
Hampi is located on the banks of the river Tungabhadra in the eastern part of Central Karnataka. It’s a UNESCO world heritage site that has mesmerised travellers with it’s giant boulders, paddy fields, rustic terrains and hippie culture!
Hampi is a perfect place for pilgrims who want to experience the divinity while it also catering to the backpacker traveler looking to experience history & culture of ancient Vijayanagar Empire while relishing at local joints.
How to travel to Hampi?
If you live in Bangalore, then traveling by road in your car or by bus is your best option. There are several buses that drop you to Hospet or directly to Hampi. You can check all the details here: http://bit.ly/2zPjnWR
We completed the 377kms journey in 8 hours in our private car. Honestly, we could have reached must sooner but the roads were pretty bad due to rains.
The best route to reach Hampi would be: Bangalore – Tumkur – Chitradurga – Hospet – Hampi. Now, if you’re travelling from outside of Karnataka then the nearest railway station is at Hospet from where Hampi city is approximately 12 kms away while the nearest airport would be Hubli from where Hampi is 143 kms away.
Where to stay?
When it comes to stay you have two options, you can either chose to stay in Hospet where there are several hotels & resorts. Or you can plan your stay near river Tungabhadra in Hampi. Here, you only find cheap 3 star guest houses or home stays where you can’t expect great rooms or ambience but what you will get is the feel of local culture with decent food & service. Moreover, from Hospet, the main city is still quite far. Hence, I highly recommend to stay near the banks of Tungabhadra river. (you can scroll to the end to see my recommendations on guest houses)
When we decided to book our stay, most of the home stays were sold out and the only option we had was Kishkind Heritage Resort that’s located a bit far from the main market and also you will have no mobile network here!
It’s a huge and beautiful property, however the rooms are average. Food options were pretty standard, made to suit the Indian palate but service was good & prompt.
Resort Rating – 2.5/5.
We reached the Hampi around 5pm in the evening & obviously the long journey was exhausting. So we decided to rest for a while in the hotel & head-out at night for dinner. We came across Hema Guest House & decided to grab a bite here & we were not disappointed. Hema Guest House is a cosy place with vibrant colours & happy music with good service & staff! The music here goes on till midnight & it’s fun place for drinks & chill out. It overall was a good start to our journey in Hampi.
The next morning we left from our hotel & began the historical expedition from Queen’s Bath at the Royal Enclosure.
It’s a beautiful rectangular structure with a veranda that has a pond in it’s centre. It had a very mystical feel especially when you walk down towards the pool (it’s empty though).
Outside the pond you will notice a huge canal that encircles the entire structure. It is said to be the Royal Pleasure complex for the Kings and his wives.
The Mahanavami Dibba is a giant platform open from all sides. The walls of the platform are carved with stories of the empire.
A few metres ahead is the stepped tank which was used as water reservoir which was used for rituals, cleansing and other religious purposes. It is a very different structure that you will see in Hampi. Built from black schist stones, the architecture looks like a huge stepper.
Next stop was the Zenana Enclosure, the place for the Royal queens! This is one of the few places where you have need a ticket for entry. However, the ticket can be used for entry at the Vitthala Temple as well the Elephant stable, so it’s wise to hold on to the ticket.
The next day, with our existing ticket we decided to head to the renowned Vittala temple. Once you reach the entrance, you will have to head to the campus where there are several golf carts for pick up & drop. Either way you can also choose to walk the distance.
Once we reached the main temple, we were mesmerised to see the spectacular architecture. The temple was built back in 15th century as an abode to Lord Vishnu. However, as legend goes Lord Vishnu found it too grand and returned back to live a simple life.
One of the biggest and popular attraction here is also the shrine Golden Chariot aka “Garuda”.
Another extravagant feature of Vittala is the Ranga Mantapa that is known for it’s musical pillars & architectural brilliance. However, tapping on the pillars is now banned as over the years tourists have damaged the pillars!
After witnessing the massive complex, we decided to head to Hampi Bazaar. From Vitthala, it will take around 30 mins to reach the market. There are several local rickshaws available outside the temple.
The market is busy & crowded and buzzes of local sellers and delicious eating joints. One of the famous places to indulge in delicious Hampi flavours is Mango Tree located near Virupaksha Temple.
Overall, Hampi is a heritage brilliance and cannot be covered with just one visit. If you are history buff and crave for iconic stories and rich culture then this place should be on your checklist. I am also listing down some of the best guest houses and cafes in Hampi which cannot be missed:
- Hema Guest House: Book your stay in advance, as this place is high in demand. A warm and friendly place to stay as well as enjoy good food and music!
- Laughing Buddha: If you like breakfast with a lake view, then check out this cafe. Don’t expect great service. Just enjoy the food & the view!
- Mowgli Guest House: A relaxed and cosy place to stay and unwind after the long day. Try their chai with pakodas!
- Mango Tree Restaurant: Highly recommended restaurant if you want enjoy good service, cosy ambience and delicious food! Try their vegetarian thali & you won’t be disappointed!
Hope you enjoyed reading the article! Have you visited Hampi? How was your experience? Leave your comments below.