Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a sprawling beautiful historical town which was once the capital of the Vijayanagara empire in the 14th century. With several ancient monuments scattered across a landscape that overlooks enormous granite boulders, the small town in Karnataka pulls nearly half a million tourists every year.
The town is located in east-central Karnataka which is near Hosapete city. Hampi is an important religious centre and the witness to the last great Hindu kingdom in South India. The Vijayanagara empire was defeated by a coalition of Muslim sultanates; who conquered, pillaged and destroyed it in 1565, after which Hampi remained in ruins. It was later in the 1980s that the Archeological Survey of India started restoring the place.
How to reach Hampi:
Hampi is about 377 km away from Hyderabad. Book your train tickets from Kacheguda station and you will reach Hampi in the morning. Get down at Hosapete station, from there take an auto to Hampi town which is 30 km from there. You may also book homestay or hotels for yourself. Homestays come as cheap as Rs 300.
Take an auto-rickshaw ride for the whole day and ask to take you on a full Hampi tour for the day. It would cost you Rs 1,000-Rs 1,200.
Our first stop. From where the auto stops, it is a one-kilometer walk to the iconic spot in Hampi, which is the Vithala temple. There are also golf cars that carry people till the temple at Rs 10 one way. We chose to walk and stopped at monuments which lay on both sides. One was that of a water tank like structure which resembles the steeped tank. We headed from there to the temple where we took a tour guide to help us know the place better.
The Vithala temple dates back to the 16th century and the famous and iconic stone chariot is inside the premises. Spread over a huge area, stone carvings that tell stories, a large courtyard, pillars that made different sounds are all a retreat to watch. The carvings of the walls and the pillars depict various Gods and each caving has a story to tell. In the end, don't forget to find that one masterpiece in a corner that master sculptor made to show his specialisation in work.
One may also visit Lotus Palace, Queen's Bath, Elephant Stable, Monolith Bull, Badavilinga Temple, Virupaksha temple, Kadalekalu Ganesh temple on the same day.
If you are staying in Hampi Island, it is advisable that you return back at 5.30, as the ferries charge Rs 100 after that hour, and there are also chances that you may not get the ferry at all.
Choose to go to the other side of Hampi which will lie on the other side of the Tungabhadra river. Take a scooter and head out to explore the town. You may want to begin the journey with a coracle ride in the Tungabhadra river. Get a roller experience in the river which one must not miss and enjoy the scenic view there.
Head next to the Anjana Parvath, myth has it that it is the birthplace of monkey God Hanuman. Time to flex your leg muscles and get ready to climb up 575 steps to have a breathtaking view from the hilltop. This is an important place of worship for Hinduism. You will also see many foreigners going to the destination.
Post that, head to Jain temple and Durga temple and have a visit there.
There are multiple cafes there at affordable prices. Take a break and soak in the fresh air there while having your lunch.
As evening sets in, head over to whispering rocks and in the calm environment enjoy the sunset overlooking the Sanapura lake. If you are an adventure junkie, cliff jumping is also possible at the spot.
Time to head home, since the past two days was more about discovering the place, Hampi is also known to be a place for chilling. Most cafes are laid back and are meant for the real chill. You may want to read a book or watch a good movie on your phones as most cafes in the town have free WiFi.
Hampi can be done for Rs 3,500 for three days for any travellers who love keeping a track on their budget.
November-January is the best season to be there.
Have a look at the photographs from the heritage town: