Hampi is an Indian village in Karnataka, prominently known for its magnificent ruins, unseen architecture and undulating boulder-strewn landscape. Presently, it acts as an abode for Lord Shiva’s devotees who come here for a rampantly chill laid back lifestyle.
Hampi served as the capital of the Vijayanagara empire in the 15 century. It was immensely rich in art and architecture. It is said that life bustled here when the empire was in full swing. Although the empire fought many successful battles against the Mughals, it succumbed to death when the Deccan Sultanates comprising Bidar, Golconda, Ahmadnagar, Berar, and Bijapur attacked and looted it for several months. They invaded the village and turned it into a ghost town when almost everything was burned down, cut down and broken into millions of pieces.
Presently, Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rampage caused here, and remnants of the remains tell a thousand tales. Shock waves of that time lay buried in history. What we see today is an adorable and peaceful village. Apart from that it is also an adventure spot, bouldering junction, camping heaven, spiritual abode, a religious centre and an architectural marvel. A two-day trip is sufficient, but to witness all colours of Hampi, you would have to extend your stay.
For a creative mind, the boulders of Hampi might appear as if someone deliberately kept them that way. However, the actual reason for such an appearance of Hampi is a bit different. Unlike the Western Ghats and the Himalayas, these are not formed because of tectonic shifts. From the geological angle, millions of years of erosion have caused the monolithic to crack, split and eventually metamorphose into their present form.
October to February
Mythologically, Anjaneya hill is considered the birthplace of Lord Hanuman. He was born to Anjana; hence, the hill where he was born came to be known as Anjaneya hill. There are 575 steps on Anjaneya Hill that reach the top, where a small Hanuman temple is located. It is an excellent site to look at all of Hampi from a bird’s eye view.
The heartthrob of Hampi and an ornate structural marvel, the Vittala temple was built in the 15 century. There are many awe-worthy aspects to the Vittala temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture. Adjourned with musical pillars, private rooms, and carvings from ancient epic Ramayana, Kamasutra positions and trading practices tell stories from different centuries. One other thing that will surely catch your attention is that the nose of all idols, animals, gods, commoners, and doorkeepers is sabotaged.
The iconic stone chariot found in Indian currency is also displayed here. Then, there is an abandoned market where horses were traded for gold. These traders came from Europe and China.
Tungabhadra River is a sacred river in South India that originates as Tunga and Bhadra. These rivers start flowing individually from the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats, confluence and finally join the Krishna river.
In the epicentre of the Hampi bazaar lies the Virupaksha temple. The main gopuram is 50 m high. What attracts visitors here is the elephant Laxmi that blesses devotees as they come inside the main hall.
Yeduru Basavanna is a huge monolithic bull. The design is not elaborate; the bull stands guard and faces Lord Shiva in the Virupaksha temple. Almost 500 years old, this monolithic bull has withstood the test of time and destruction.
Sanapur Lake is an essential part of Hippie Island or Virupapura Gadde. One of the many tranquil spots in Hampi, Sanapur Lake is a place for adventure and nature-lovers alike. Although locals make you wary of the crocodiles, no one has had any encounters to date. It is famous for coracle rides, cliff jumping, swimming or just walking beside it. In no time, the spectacular contrasting colouring of the landscape, the paddy fields, and the brown background make you its very own.
Hampi, being a travellers’ paradise, is well-connected by all means.
The closest airport is 32 kilometres Jindal Vijaynagar Airport in Toranagallu, which has connectivity to Bengaluru.
The closest railway station is in Hospet, 13 kilometres away. Many buses frequently run from Hospet to Hampi at nominal prices. You can even take an auto.
Distances from major cities:
Bengaluru – 340 km
Hyderabad – 372 km
Hubli – 160 km
Overnight buses connect these cities to Hospet. From Hospet, Hampi is some 13 km. Frequent buses go from Hospet to Hampi, starting from 8 am.
INR 1500 per day.
To get around in Hampi, you can rent a bike or scooty at a price of less than INR 500 per day and roam around. Otherwise, auto is also a convenient option, but it costs more.
Food and stay are also reasonable.
Over time as tourists have flocked to Hampi, they have impacted cuisines. The same reflects in food that’s served in Hampi. Many cuisines like South Indian, North Indian, Israeli, Chinese, Asian, Vegan are served.
Mango Tree Cafe and Chillout cafe are must-try in Hampi.
Hampi is a treasure trove for shopping-lovers, as it is to archaeologists and nature-enthusiasts. Hampi bazaar showcases infinite designs of bohemian jewellery, jazzy clothes, stone artefacts, Lambani art, funky belts, elaborate bracelets, leathercraft, music instruments, and many more hippie vibes. You can just not go away from Hampi without shopping here.
You can directly hit the street and ask for homestays. Many of them provide food options.
A typical trip to Hampi is of 2 to 3 days. All sightseeing locations along with activities can be covered in this duration. But to get into the soul of Hampi, you might have to spend more time.