The fascinating ruins of the 15th Century city of Vijaynagar, near the village of Hampi, are set in an extraordinary landscape of giant granite boulders, lush paddies and banana plantation. Hampi is not just famous for its ruins but hippies from all over the world come to hippie Island in Hampi to relax. Hampi is a major pit stop on the traveller circuit, with November to March being the peak season.
I fell in love with Hampi the first time I visited there with my office colleagues which was around two years back. As none of my friends has been there I decided to take them to experience the mixture of Mystifying ruins and Hippie culture. Hampi is a around 350 KM from Bangalore and what makes this place truly unique are the massive boulders that scatter the landscape and the beautiful temples that surround the town.
For reaching Hampi, one should first reach Hospet. You can take Hampi Express which leaves Bangalore around 10:0 PM daily and reaches Hospet at around 7:00 AM. The same returns from Hospet at around 9:00 PM and reaches bangalore at around 6:00 AM. If you are planning a weekend trip to Hampi, Hampi express is what you should plan for. Public buses run from most of the places in Karnataka. From Hospet you can take a auto which will drop you near the Tungabhadra River. As we were a group of 7 friends and didn’t want to spend our night sleeping in coach or bus we decided to hire a Tempo Traveller for our trip. There are 2 routes through which you can reach Hampi.
Route 1: Bangalore -> Tumkur -> Sira -> Chitradurga -> Kudligi -> Hospet -> Hampi
Route 2: Bangalore -> Tumkur -> Sira -> Hiriyur -> Challakere -> Ballari -> Hampi
Although the difference between both the routes is just 25 KM we decided to take the first one. There are 2 sides of Hampi separated by The river Tungabhadra river. The main town is the site of most of the ruins. The other side of river has large green paddy fields bordered with humongous boulders. Attaching a laid back feel to it, it also has numerous hotels, cafes, bike rentals. Ferries charge Rs 10 for crossing the river. I would recommend you to stay on other side of the river. If you take the route as suggested by Google Maps you will reach the ruins side, to reach the other side of Hampi also known as Hippie Island you should take the left turn just before Hospet which goes through Munirabad Project Area. We started around 11:00 PM from bangalore and reached hampi at around 6:00 AM.
Where to Stay:
For the best accommodation in Hampi, cross the Tungabhadra river reach Hippie Island and you will find an abundance of guesthouses on the other side. We stayed at the Mowgli Guesthouse which cost 1200rs for a three bed room. The guesthouse had pretty decent food and had a lovely view over rice paddies, and mountain rocks but there are plenty of guesthouses to choose on that side. There are a lot of Guest house including Shanthi Guest House, Goan Corner, Venkateshwara hotel, Laughing Buddha. I would recommend to pre-book your Guest House if you are going during peak time, but make sure you stay in Hippie Island to make most of your trip.
Where to Eat:
Almost all the guest house have their own restaurant overlooking paddy fields and serves both non-vegetarian and vegetarian food. I would recommend to try The Mango Tree and Laughing Buddha. All the restaurant serves continental and Israeli food. You can also try German bakery to cure your sweet tooth.
The best way to explore Hampi in 2 days is to visit the ruins first day and spend second day relaxing and roaming on the roam side on a rented bike. As we stayed in hippe Island we had to cross the river to reach suins side and start our journey in the ruins of Vijaynagar. You can hire auto after crossing the river, it will charge you anything between 300-500 for one auto, we booked 2 for a total of 600 INR. Make sure to bargain with the auto drivers and ask them to show you the places where he is going to take you.
Some important ruins sites are: –
- Virupaksha Temple
- Vittala Chariot temple
- Nandi bull
- Queen’s bath
- Hampi Bazzar
Sites on the other side of river:
- Monkey Temple, Anjaneya Hill (believed to be the birthplace of Hanuman)
- Sanapur Lake
- Ride a Moped Through Hampi’s Gorgeous Landscape
- Go near the dam for cliff jumping and swimming
- Shopping for some souvenirs and clothes
- Climb on the hills to reach some seriously stunning viewpoints and experience the sunset.
- Visit the cafes overlooking paddy fields and relax
If you are in Karnataka make sure to visit hampi at least once. It is going to give you an interesting portrait of the History and make you happy as they say it there “Don’t Worry, Be Hampi”