Hampi is one of the hidden treasures of India. Located in the state of Karnataka, Hampi will bring you back to the medieval times with its grand ruins and surreal landscape.
Getting To Hampi
Bangalore is the capital city of Karnataka state and is the nearest major city with an international airport at around 350 km away from Hampi. Travellers can choose to take an overnight train or bus from Bangalore to Hospet.
Alternatively, fly to Hubli (or Hubballi), the second largest city in Karnataka. From there, you can take a train to Hospet originating from Mysore.
From Hospet, continue your journey by rickshaw or public bus for another 10-15 km to Hampi.
Things to do in Hampi
1. Exploring Ruins at Vittala Temple
A UNESCO world heritage site, Hampi was the ancient capital of Vijayanagara believed to be the main setting of the epic Ramayana. The ruins and carvings scattered throughout Hampi are truly befitting of a royal capital.
The most iconic sight in Hampi would be the stone chariot, which is a small shrine located inside Vittala Temple complex, dedicated to Garuda. Vittala Temple complex is surrounded by high compound walls and three towers. It houses several halls that are intricately designed. Another attraction in the temple compound is Ranga Mantapa. Ranga Mantapa has 56 musical pillars, classified into main and minor pillars depending on the use. All these pillars are essentially musical instruments that will produce some notes when tapped gently.
There are many other ruin sites in Hampi to explore in Hampi.
2. Rent a motorbike (or learn how to ride one)
On a bike with the wind in your hair is the best way to explore Hampi on a budget. Quite a few of the places to see in Hampi are spread out over long distances, so a bike helps you get around quickly and make the most of your day of sightseeing. Road conditions are pretty good and traffic is light, so it’s beginner-friendly.
Before you rent, make make sure to check the bike condition thoroughly. Fill the petrol tank to its fullest, as it can be challenging to find a petrol kiosk when you are far from the town.
If you are not comfortable with a motorbike, you can consider renting a car or even a rickshaw!
Note: Some roads can be quite sandy. Be cautious when riding your motorbike — trust me, because I did fall once in Hampi!
3. Interacting with the locals
The locals in Hampi (like in many parts of India) are always excited to see foreign visitors, and would love to interact with you! It’s also a good opportunity to observe their livelihood around the Tungabhadra River.
The kids are often more than willing to be photographed, adults not so much. But always be polite and respectful — ask first.
Markets, such as Hampi Bazaar, are great spots to interact with locals and get souvenirs to bring home.
4. Rock formation around Tungabhadra River
Hampi is located on the Deccan plateau, one of the oldest plateaus in the world. After millions of years of exposure to weather, the rocks are shaped into an otherworldly landscape like none other. Rejoice, geographers or geology lovers!
This unique characteristic also makes Hampi famous as a bouldering destination for rock climbers. Near the Tungabhadra River, you will find several climbing spots on the gorgeous grey granites or slopey aretes and slabs. The climbing area here ranges across different levels and techniques, making it a good site for everyone!
However, local bouldering equipment stores are practically non-existent. Bring your own equipment if you are keen on conquering Hampi.
5. Spotting Local Fauna in Hampi
Aside from the architectural ruins and historical temples, Hampi is also an eco-tourism area with its own share of flora and fauna. The raw nature of Hampi makes it an ideal habitat for many animals from birds, mammals, reptiles and the region’s Sloth Bears in Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary.
Open your eyes wide, as many of these animals are shy. They love to hide behind or under rock crevices. Although you might want to interact with or feed those animals, it would be wise to leave them on their own so as not to disrupt the ecosystem.
Note: There are occasional sightings of crocodiles in the river, so be careful!
6. Hike up the Monkey Hill
The best way to fully comprehend and soak in the grandeur of Hampi is definitely by going up a hill. Anjaneya Hill houses a temple dedicated to Hanuman and is a perfect place to hike in order to marvel the entire landscape from up high.
Also known as the Monkey Hill, this place is located about 5 km from the historical site of Hampi and is a home to hundreds of monkeys. Many Hindus visit this hill for pilgrimage, braving the 500 steps all the way to the top.
Where to stay in Hampi
Hotel Clarks Inn is close to many places of interest, which makes it a better choice than those accommodation located in Hospet. Located just around 4 km from Krishna Temple and Virupaksha Temple, this hotel also has its own swimming pool and restaurant. The price is also relatively affordable for the quality it offers!