Bangalore · India · Karnartaka

Hampi: Amidst Ruins and Hippies

I have been to hampi once in 2015 and since there was a yearning inside me to return to this place, away from all the hustle bustle and rest in serenity. We were a group of 7 friends who decided to go for a weekend trip to mystical Hampi. Situated at the bank of Tungabhadra River, Hampi is a temple town with lot of excavated ruins from the Vijayanagara kingdom of 14th Century. It is recognized as UNESCO heritage site. Spread over 30-40 kms, Hampi is located at the northern part of Karnataka, which is very much accessible through road and rail from Bangalore.

We booked a tempo traveller and left Bangalore around 12:00 PM and reached Hampi at around 7:00AM. Hampi is separated by the river Tungabhadra. One side of the river, the side where we booked our hotel is called as Hippie Island filled with cafes, guesthouses, rental and artistic shops where mostly backpackers are seen during peak season. The other side is with all the temples, group of monuments and the ruins.

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Talarigatta Gate in Hampi

In my view the best way to go through Hampi is to explore ruins of first day, along with some street shopping in Hampi Bazaar. Once you cross the river you can get the rickshaws for rent to see around the monuments and ruins. After some bargaining the rickshaw owner agreed to give a tour of ruins in about 3-4 hours for a total of 700 INR for 2 autos. The ruins mixed with the beautifully unique landscape to create an awe-inspiring image. The temples were not anywhere, but they littered the landscape in every direction, they mixed with the unique geological formations to make this place unique destination in itself. We tried to cover almost all the major attraction points Virupaksha Temple, the biggest temple amongst the ruins. The sculpture and carvings in and around the temple are remarkable. Vitthala Temple, this is perhaps the most famous and well-known among the ruins of Hampi. The iconic stone chariot in the vicinity of this temple complex is a symbol of Karnataka Tourism. There are a lot of guides at Vitthala temple who will be happy to give a tour of temple for just 100 INR and with the kind of history and architecture associated with this place it’s totally worth it. Besides these, the places to visit are Hampi Bazaar, Lotus Mahal, Elephant stables and many other sites.Almost all the important places can be covered in 4 hours after which you should head towards the famous Mango Tree Restaurant, which serves  all their delicious cuisines on banana leaf. Explore Hampi bazar after the lunch but make sure you cross the river before 6:00 PM as the Boats to Hippie island operate between 6am – 6pm.

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Ruins at hampi
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Ruins at Hampi
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Stone Chariot at Vittala Temple

The second day is left for to hire a mopet/bike explore the hippie island side of the river, enjoy the sunset at monkey temple, enjoy Israeli Cuisine, sip coffee with the view of paddy fields, mountains and read a book. Spent the first half of the day eating from the cafes around the Hampi Island, walking through the paddy fields. Visit Sanapur Lake. where you can see locals swimming , bunch of  foreigners cliff jumping and many foreign tourist riding around in mopeds and finally go to monkey temple to enjoy the sunset. The monkey temple requires you to climb 600 steps to reach the top but the panoramic vista is all worth the effort.

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Paddy fields
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Sunset at Monkey Temple

Hampi gives you a perfect mixture of hippie culture and ruins. Hampi is known for the Vijayanagar’s devastatingly beautiful ruins and temples spread across the boulder covered landscape. The history enthusiasts will have a time of their life here and so will the photographers. While the ruins of Hampi is a visual treat for the history buffs, the hippie island is a must visit for anyone who wants to spend a weekend away from the hustle -bustle of the city and spend some time in peace and solitude.

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