Your Quick Guide to Hampi
Do you love historical locales for a vacation? If you are short on time but would like to get engrossed in the ancient culture and history of India, no place comes to mind but the ancient and austere city of Hampi. A UNESCO world heritage site, Hampi is located in the Bellary district of Central Karnataka in the Tungabhadra river basin. The ruins of Hampi are reminiscent of its glorious past when it was the capital city of the glorious Vijayanagara Empire. The historical architecture in Hampi is characteristic Dravidian which is seen in its temples, palaces, mandapas, bazaars, complexes, pillars and other stone structures.
As you approach the ancient town, the irregular yet rounded boulders in reddish tones catch your attention. The entire town has more than one architectural wonder of historical importance and a trip to Hampi is incomplete without visiting these marvels of ancient Indian architecture.
The Virupaksha Temple is located on the southern bank of the Tungabhadra and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is said to be one of the oldest temples in India. Take time to notice the carvings on the pillars and the stories they tell.
The Vijaya Vitthala Temple complex with the large intricately carved and coloured mandapas will intrigue you the moment you enter. The Stone Chariot which guards the entrance of the complex is iconic in a way that it is said to be the miniature of the Konark Temple. The next thing you notice is the monolithic bull which, as the name goes, is carved from a single rock. The Vijaya Vithhala temple complex comprises of the famous Kalyana mandapa, the Ranga mandapa and many open halls where different festivities and performances were hosted. The most striking feature of this temple is the presence of 56 musical pillars, each one corresponding to a musical instrument. The pillar carvings also boast of many mythical and mysterious creatures that have been intricately carved.
Other sites to visit in Hampi include the Hemakuta hill, Achyutaraya temple, the Sasivekalu and Kadelekalu Ganesha temple, Lakshmi Narayana Temple, Queen’s Bath, Elephant Stables and the many Bazar complexes that are common around the ruins.
Do you crave for some adventure on your holiday post the historical tour? Look out for the floating basket rides on the Tungabhadra that takes you to the other side to the famous ‘Hippie Island’– known for its hippie culture, laid back and relaxing ambience, quirky setups and global cuisine.
Hampi can be easily reached by air, train and road. The closest airport to Hampi is the Belgaum Airport, approximately 280kms away. You can also fly down to Bangalore and then drive your way to Hampi. Hampi can also be reached by train. Though it does not have a railway station, you can take the train up to the town of Hospet which is approximately 13kms away from Hampi. Up for a road trip? All major cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Mumbai are well connected to Hampi by national and state highways.
If you do not have your own vehicle, the best ways to get in and around Hampi are by hiring a moped or a bicycle, on foot or bus. It is easy to hire a bicycle or moped and all it needs it a valid photo id proof and these are available at various shops across the town.
With Hampi located in the southern part of the country, it is best to avoid hot and humid months for your visit. The best time to visit this world heritage site is in the winters. Also try to avoid visiting during the monsoons, as river crossing may be non-operational during this period.. You can choose to stay in cheap guesthouses or luxurious hotels, as a wide range of options are available in both Hampi and Hospet. The local cuisine can be explored across the various eateries in the two towns.
It takes about 2-3 days to explore the entire length and breadth of Hampi and the nearby attractions. A quick weekend trip can be planned but make sure to make your bookings in advance to avoid last minute hotel and travel bookings.
With our tips while travelling to and in Hampi, your trip will definitely be one of the most fulfilling quick weekend getaways ever – We vouch for it!