Hampi - A Complete Travel Guide - The Humble World

Hampi - A Complete Travel Guide

We are here to take you to a historic and beautiful place, Hampi. Through our experiences, we are going to provide a complete travel guide, which will be helpful to plan your trip to Hampi.

Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is famous for its ruins belonging to the former medieval Hindu kingdom of Vijaynagar. This ancient village is located in the southern state of Karnataka. The sculptures, temples, and the architecture of ancient craftsmen are the main reason for so many visitors being attracted to Hampi every year. Other than art, Hampi is famous for meditation and spiritual practices around nature. This place is a hidden gem and should be visited at least once.

Hampi - A Complete Travel Guide, Sanapur Lake
Hampi - Sanapur Lake

After our wedding, Hampi was the first place we visited together and I am so delighted that we went there. We experienced a unique calmness and positivity in this place, which is rare to find. The view of the green surroundings and the giant rocks holding one another without falling, along the side of river Tungabhadra, entirely took my heart.

After making your mind to visit this place, the first thing you should consider is what is the favorable time to visit Hampi.

What is the best time to visit Hampi?

The best time to visit Hampi is during October to March when the climate is quite cool and pleasant for outdoor sightseeing. Try not to plan your Hampi trip in the summer, the weather will be hot and you might not enjoy visiting the ruins of Hampi. As I always say, the weather is the most important factor to consider, you can't enjoy your vacations if the climate is not suitable.

We visited Hampi in March 2020 to celebrate Holi, just before COVID arrived in India. So we're lucky to cover this hidden place just before the lockdown started.

How to reach Hampi?

Hampi is very easy to reach being a tourist spot. You can reach here by train. The nearest railway station to Hampi is in Hospet, which is well connected to Bangalore, Hyderabad, and other nearby places. The bus option is also available from the nearby cities till Hospet. You will easily find an auto-rickshaw or public transport options from Hospet.

If you are traveling from far, take a flight to Bellary, which is the nearest domestic airport, just 60KM away from Hampi.

We choose to travel via train as it is an overnight journey from Banglore to Hospet station. Our journey was around 7-8 hours and it was comfortable as normal train journeys are. After reaching the station we took an auto-rickshaw to reach Hampi near the Tungabhadra river. You can also take a local bus.

Hampi’s 2 sides

Hampi is divided into 2 parts by the River Tungabhadra, the first part is Hampi where most of the Temples are situated and the other side is a village called Virupapur Gaadi.

Hampi - A Complete Travel Guide, Tungabhadra River
Hampi - Tungabhadra River

In simple words, one side is the ruin/ heritage side and the other is the hippie side of Hampi (also known as Hippie Island). The hippie side is more popular among the young crowd due to its laid-back and relaxing vibes. Also, you could see most foreigners practicing spiritual activities.
You can reach there easily via public boat, which will take Rs. 50 per person. The boat doesn’t run at night.

Hampi - A Complete Travel Guide, Tungabhadra River
Hampi - Tungabhadra River Boat Ride

Where to Stay in Hampi?

There are a lot of accommodation options available in Hampi depending on your budget.

There are many options for staying around the market area near the Virupaksha Temple. Or you can also opt to stay on the other side of the river, the Hippie side. There are a lot of affordable options on the hippie island as well.

We stayed on hippie island, in the hotel Whispering Rocks, Hampi. Our stay was very relaxing and far away from the urban world. The peace and greenery all around, exactly the same as we wanted. The restaurant of the hotel and in fact most of the restaurants in Hampi have this amazing seating arrangement, no chair and table, traditional style matrices on the ground, and a bamboo lamp above each seating. The lamp makes an impressive view during the night.

Note: Read the reviews of the hotel first and then pre-book your stay prior.

Hampi - A Complete Travel Guide, Whispring Rocks
Hampi - Whispering Rock Resort

Best restaurants in Hampi?

There are a lot of restaurants on both sides of Hampi. One side of the Tungabhadra River accommodates many temples due to which non-vegetarian food is completely prohibited.

All of the restaurants are mostly around the small markets on both sides of the Tungabhadra river - although the hippie island has a lot more variety and better cafes with a fabulous ambiance and enjoyable music.

Popular restaurants: Mango Tree, Laughing Buddha, Funky Monkey Restaurant, Rudra Cafe.

We tried many cafes on a 2-day trip. The most famous is the Mango Tree restaurant. The food was amazing. We took a typical South Indian Thali and a North Indian Thali. The best part was mango Lassi. It was really awesome. 

Hampi - A Complete Travel Guide,  Mango Restaurant
Hampi - Mango Tree Restuarant

What is the best mode of transport in Hampi?

The best way to travel inside Hampi is to rent a Scooty or motorbike. You can visit any place easily, and explore the hidden places in the countryside. Renting a motorbike in Hampi costs 500 INR, a pushbike costs only 200 INR per day.

You will also get bicycles for rent at a very cheap rate, with the options like bicycles without gear at Rs.100/- per day and with gear at Rs.150/- per day.
There are many vehicle renters available on the bank of River Tungabhadra.

We rented an Activa Scooty from our resort at 300/- per day, which was really cheap as compared to other options. So you can also check with your hotel, they might help you out in arranging the vehicle.

Wonder History of Hampi?

We went through the History of Hampi while planning our trip here. If you are interested in knowing the history and mythology stories of Hampi, you can start reading the below section or you can directly skip to the places to visit in Hampi.

Hampi is also known as Vijayanagara. For over 200 years, around a total of four dynasties ruled Vijayanagar, which was also known as the City of Victory. Hampi was one of the biggest trading centers, a city full of wealth and fame. The place was also rich in art. The rulers were lovers of religion and architecture so they put effort into the architectural design of their kingdom. Hampi used to be a prosperous and rich kingdom in the 14th century which was eventually ruined by the Mughals. The Mughals came and destructed and ruin this place.

Now let's move to the stories linked to Hindu mythology.

Hampi is also known by the two names, Pampa Kshetra and Kishkindha Kshetra. According to Hindu belief, Pampa is another word of Lord Parvati, who desires to marry Lord Shiva. Shiva is known for his yogic meditation. To awake Shiva and get his attention, Parvati begins to live like him and follows the same activities as Tapasya and yogin. Finally, Shiva accepts her and they get married. Parvati pursued her Yogini lifestyle on Hemakuta Hill, which is part of Hampi.

Hampi - A Complete Travel Guide,  Hemakuta Temple
Hampi - Hemakuta Hill Shiva Temple

It is believed that the Vanara kingdom of Kishkindha in the Ramayana was actually here. The Kiskinda episode of the Hindu epic Ramayana was based on Hampi. In fact, it is believed that Anjaneya Hills was the birthplace of Hanuman. The boulders in Hampi, made of granite, are basically solid earth’s crust without being modified by tectonic plates since they were formed.

And according to Hindu belief, there was a battle between two monkey brothers Bali and Sugreeva for power. In the battle, their army threw boulders at each other, and thus these piled up everywhere around Hampi.

Hampi - A Complete Travel Guide,  Hemakuta Temple
Hampi - Hemakuta Hill

Best Places to visit in Hampi

Hampi is full of places to visit. Since we were here for only 2 days, we couldn't visit all of the places. We have covered below five must-visit places in Hampi. If you are going on a weekend getaway (for 2 days), you can visit these places.

The Virupaksha Temple

This is the temple of Lord Virupaksha, the incarnation of Lord Shiva. The temple is located on the south side of River Tungabhadra. This is one of the oldest Shiva temples built in the 7th century. The entangled carvings in the temple will leave you speechless. It has a grand structure with great architectural work on the pillars. It took around 2-3 hours to visit the whole temple.

Time to visit: 6 AM to 6 PM

Fees: INR 5 for Indians, INR 500 for Foreigners.

Hampi - A Complete Travel Guide,  Virupaksha Temple
Hampi - Virupaksha Temple  

The Vijaya Vittala Temple

The temple was built in the 15th century, happens to be the largest historical structure in the city. The temple has an astonishing structure with sky-high pillars and complex carved stone sculptures. Lord Vittala, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu is worshipped in the temple. The stone chariot is made in a unique and amazing structure, you will notice in the place. You will find the same chariot in the Indian currency (50 Rs. Note).

It took 2-3 hours to cover this place.

Time to visit: 8.30 AM to 5.30 PM

Fees: INR 10 for Indians, INR 300 for Foreigners. 

Hemakuta Hills

The Hill is just beside the Virupaksha Temple. A beautiful place to see the ruins of Hampi, small temples, and big rock structures of different shapes and sizes scattered all around. Also, the sunset is awesome from here. If you can manage to reach during sunset time, you may witness an outstanding sunset.

Time to visit: 6 AM to 6 PM. 

Hampi - A Complete Travel Guide
Hampi - Hemkuta Hill Boulders

Anjaneya Hill (Hanuman Temple)

This is known as the birthplace of Lord Hanuman, and the Hill is named after the mother of Lord Hanuman. The Hill is located on the other side of the Tungabhadra river (Hippie Island side). You will feel so peaceful and calm after reaching the top. There are stairs to reach the top. The sunrise and sunset view is just marvellous. We went during sunset time and it was an amazing view from the top. It took 20-30 minutes to reach the top using stairs.

A heads-up to the ladies, wear a full-length and covered dress if you are going here. I was wearing a backless gown, so they were not allowing me to enter, then I had to purchase a cloth which I used as a stole.

Time to visit: Sunrise to Sunset

Hampi - A Complete Travel Guide, Anjaneya Hill
Hampi - Anjaneya Hill (Hanuman Birth Place)

Hampi Bazaar

You will easily see the Bazaar on the bank of River Tungabhadra. While going to the Virupaksha temple from the river bank you will find the local bazaar, also called Virupaksha bazaar. You will find clothes, handbags, accessories, handmade art, and craft.  

The accessories and jwellery items definitely attract the ladies. Even I was stuck in the market because they had some unique designs of earrings and necklaces. I tool few unique anklets. We also took a small Shivling from this place and a fridge magnet as a small memory.

Time to visit: 10 AM to 6 PM

The Lakshmi Narasimha Temple

This temple is dedicated to the Lord Narasimha, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and is the largest monolithic structure in Hampi. The structure is showing Narasimha is sitting on the coil of Sheshnag. The complete structure had Goddess Laxmi sitting on the lap of Vishnu, but this was destroyed during the destruction of Hampi. The temple is stunning and the most photographed place in Hampi.

Time to visit: 6 AM to 6 PM.


Things you must do in Hampi

While in Hampi, you can't miss out on the below activities:

  • You must go on a coracle ride at the Tungabhadra River or Sanapur lake. This is going to be a lifetime experience. Its charge is around 200/person, you can try to bargain also. It was around a half an hour ride.
  • Don't forget to view the sightseeing of rice paddy. We went in the early morning to experience the fantabulous scenes.
  • Don't forget to go to Hippie island. This is a must-go place. You can take a cycle or any 2-wheeler vehicle and enjoy the ride along with the greenery.
  • If you are a food lover, don't miss visiting a few cafes on Hippie Island.

Hampi - A Complete Travel Guide, Coracle Ride
Hampi - Coracle Ride in Sanapur Lake

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