In more ways than one Hampi, the capital of ancient Vijayanagara kingdom is the epicentre of Karnataka tourism. Amidst the captivating ruins of Hampi you get a first hand insight of the architectural perfection of 14th century India. The entire landscape of Hampi is an interesting juxtaposition of large monuments and boulders. In other words, Hampi is a place that needs to be seen to be believed.
Hampi is located in the central part of Karnataka. Once upon a time, it was the capital of the Vijayanagar kingdom, which dominated a large part of south India after the Mughals faded away. Today the mighty capital lies in ruins as though intrigued in the splendid past.
A stunning landscape strewn with rocky outcrops and gigantic granite boulders hemmed in lush greenery greet you as you travel to Hampi. On the bank of the river Tungabhadra, the town lies deserted. Once the river was the lifeline of the empire.
You do not have any activity here. Stark quietness of the ruins bring alive a time of Indian history would cast a spell as you travel to Hampi.
How to Reach Hampi
The cost to travel totally depends upon the mode of transport you select. You can reach Hampi by using any one of the following modes of transport - aircraft, train, car and bus. The nearest airport is 143 km away from Hampi and is located in Hubli. Taking a flight from Mumbai, Bangalore or Goa could be both time consuming and expensive.
Reaching Hampi by train is a far better option as it's not only cheap but also comfortable. Hospet, the nearest railway station is 13 km from Hampi. Overnight trains are aplenty running several times in a week from Bangalore, Hyderabad and Goa. There are also overnight trains from Mysore to Hubli and from Hubli to Hospet or Hampi. A 2 tier AC train with bed linen costs Rs. 750 from Bangalore to Hampi.
A rickshaw from Hospet to Hampi is a convenient mode of transportation costing Rs. 80 to 120. However, buses plying from Hospet station to Hampi are a much cheaper option. A rickshaw from the station to the bus stand will cost Rs. 5 per head and from there several government buses are available at frequent intervals for Hampi and that costs Rs. 17 per head.
Places To Visit in Hampi
- Vithala Temple Complex
- Virupaksha Temple
- King's Balance
- Lotus Mahal
- Elephant Stables
- Pushkarini Tank
- Noblemen's Palaces
Shopping in Hampi
Hampi, the ancient seat of Vijayanagar kingdom, lie frozen in time. The ruins of palaces, temples and many other royal paraphernalia from an old mighty kingdom lie scattered in and around Hampi.
Today it's like a deserted village. Do not look forward to plush shopping complexes built in glass and concrete or colorful shops overloaded with touristy souvenirs. In fact shopping in Hampi is not the focus of activity. This is the place to explore the ruins reminiscent of a splendid past and be fascinated.
But if you just cannot think of returning from a tour without shopping some souvenirs for your near and dear ones, Travel.Mapsofindia suggests you to shop at Bangalore. Bangalore is the capital of the state of Karnataka. Swanky commercial places, markets for buying souvenirs and local handicrafts abound in Bangalore and would supplement for the lack of shopping opportunity in Hampi.
Look for the traditional handicrafts while shopping in Bangalore. Gift it or use personally - woodcarvings, bidriware, famed silk saris of Mysore serve well.
Best Time to Visit
In the winters, the day temperatures are less than 34°C which is ideal for sightseeing and exploring historical places. You also get to witness the three day Hampi festival that is held every year in late January. The Purandaradasa Aradhana is held in the month of January or February every year in Hampi to celebrate the birthday of poet Purandaradasa. Therefore, the winters between November and February are the best time to visit Hampi.
If you are not planning to climb the hills of Hampi to explore all it has to offer, then an auto rickshaw would be a much convenient variant. The rickshaw driver will charge a fixed rate of Rs. 300 to 500 for the entire day. A bicycle would be another interesting option. It costs around Rs. 30/day that even includes the price of a helmet and lock.
Exploring Hampi on a motorcycle is undoubtedly an expensive option. But it gives an opportunity and the freedom to cover every nook and corner of Hampi. Hiring a scooty costs around Rs. 150 to 200 a day over and above the fuel charges which is normally sold at a premium rate. Two to three litres of petrol would be enough to explore Hampi and this includes even the countryside.
Renting a car is an even more expensive option. Car Rentals like SRB Travels in Hospet charges approximately Rs. 750 to 1,000 with pick-up and drop facility to railway station and other places. Renting a car is also possible from different rail heads and airports like Bangalore, Goa and Hyderabad.
Hampi is a heritage site certified by UNESCO and is very popular among tourists not only from India but also abroad. Hence to fulfil the needs of travellers, Hampi dishes out a wide range of hotels.
Budget hotels are for those travelling on a tight budget and yet looking for quality services at an affordable price. Hampi has several budget hotels offering very good services at minimum rates, the starting range varying from Rs. 250 to 300 per night. Some of them are Shanti Guesthouse, Mowgli Guesthouse, Padma Guesthouse, Gopi Guesthouse, etc.
Some hotels in Hampi can be termed as middle segment hotels - the 2 and 3 star hotels generally fall in this category. Tourists who are planning a comfortable stay in Hampi without burning a hole in their pocket can opt for hotels like Kishkinda heritage resort, Krishna Palace and Laxmi Golden Beach Resort.
If money is not a concern and you want to make your trip to Hampi a memorable one then you can easily go for any one of the 5 or 4 star hotels or resorts like Royal Orchid Central Kireeti, Hyatt Place, Malligi Hotel in Hospet, etc. These hotels could cost anywhere between Rs. 6,000 and 10,000 per night.
Food in Hampi is predominantly south Indian that typically includes Idli and Dosa for breakfast and a Thali for lunch or dinner. There are a few eateries in Hampi that sell pancakes, puffs, pastries, etc. Most of these food joints are concentrated around the Hampi bazaar area. Over the years Hampi has managed to retain the old world charm of 14th century India. Therefore, one can hardly find too many restaurants in this place.
Some restaurants can be found on either side of the road that leads to the Virupaksha temple. The South Indian fare served here is delectable and affordable and thus is very popular among tourists. The famous Mango Tree Restaurant in Hampi is situated on a terraced floor under a large mango tree along the river bank. Apart from the food, tourists mainly come here to soak in the peaceful ambience after a long day of sightseeing. The food served here is also South Indian that includes idli, dosa, vada, uttappam, curd rice and the famous south Indian thali.
If you are looking for a quick bite you can stop in at any one of the few bakeries that serve a wide variety of cookies, puffs and even fruit juices.
Tourists visit Hampi to witness the ruins of the once formidable Vijayanagara Kingdom of ancient India. The meticulous artwork portrayed in various temples, pillars and monuments are a sight to behold. Even though these temples are Hampi's centre of attraction this place has many other popular things to offer and nothing should stop you from exploring them.
One such thing is the coracle ride across the Tungabhadra River that takes you past many old ruins. Prehistorically designed in a bowl shape these cane boats are bound to give you an out of the world experience. The next best thing to do is to watch the sunrise or the sunset from the Matanga Hills. The view from the top is worth climbing the 200 steep steps that takes you to the apex of the hill.
Sloth bear sighting is very popular in Daroji Bear Sanctuary. Though entry inside the sanctuary is prohibited you can watch the bears from an observatory tower. Bears often come out with their cubs to bask in the sun. Chilling out at Mango Tree (restaurant) is a refreshing experience after a whole day of sightseeing. This place is a perfect amalgamation of natural beauty and culinary excellence.
The captivating ruins coupled with heavily sprinkled colossal boulders all over Hampi's landscape make it one of the most intriguing places of the world. Once you reach Hampi, purchase a local map that will cost you around Rs. 15 and do all the sightseeing yourself by renting a bike or a scooty. You can even hire an auto rickshaw for local sightseeing and that would cost you Rs. 400 to 500. Hiring an official Karnataka travel guide would help you to get an insight about the monuments and temples in Hampi without which the tour may seem incomplete.
Some of the main attractions of Hampi that are located near the Hampi bus stand area are the Virupaksha temple, Hampi bazaar, Lakshmi Narasimha temple, Vithala temple, Hazara Rama temple, Elephant stables, Matanga Hill etc. If you are planning to return from Hospet you get an opportunity to explore the Tungabhadra dam which is 16 km from Hampi. It takes nearly one hour to explore this dam and the government buses charge Rs. 20 per person to and fro. The Anegundi temple complex in Anegundi across the river from Hampi is also a must see.
The best time to visit Hampi is during the winters between November and February. Unfortunately quality hotels in Hampi are hard to find. Therefore, if you are looking for better facilities then Hospet is a better option.
How many days are enough to travel Hampi
When you plan to visit Hampi you need to have a proper itinerary as the ruins are spread over a vast area of at least 30 square kilometers. For the benefit of tourists Hampi is divided into two parts the Sacred Centre and the Royal Centre.
As is well understood the Sacred Centre of Hampi denotes religious sites and temples and the Royal Centre denotes everything connected to royalty like palaces and royal buildings. Hampi is a complete city and there are a lot of things to see in this place. The entire landscape of Hampi is covered with granite boulders that are strategically balanced against each other. This, along with the ancient ruins of the temples and the royalty of the Vijayanagara kingdom leaves one asking for more.
Therefore, to check out all the mesmerizing details of this place you need to spend at least 3 full days in Hampi. There are people who spend one week, even ten to twenty days in Hampi without getting bored and discovering new things every day. So, it all depends upon your priorities.
Last Updated on : 29/07/2013