Hampi is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India located near Hospet town in the northern Karnataka state; Charismatic even in its ruined state. It is located within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. It attracts thousands of tourists and pilgrims every year. Vast stretches of boulder-strewn hills make the backdrop of Hampi unique. Dotted around the hills and valleys are 500 plus monuments. Among them are beautiful temples, basements of palaces, remains of aquatic structures, ancient market streets, royal pavilions, bastions, royal platforms, treasury buildings, the list is practically endless. Hampi is a backpacker's paradise, the same way the pilgrims delight.
Photo Credit: Abhinay Omkar
Location: Karnataka, District Bellary
Altitude: 467 m
Climate: (Summer 20 to 40°C, Winter 12 to 34°C)
Language: Kannada and English
How to Reach:
By Airport: The nearest airport is at Hubli, 143km away from Hampi
By Rail Station: The nearest railway station is Hospet , 13 km away. Overnight trains run several times a week from Bangalore, Hyderabad and Goa. You can also catch an overnight train from Mysore to Hubli and from there to Hospet/Hampi.
Overnight trains run several times a week from Bangalore, Hyderabad and Goa.
By Road: Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation operates daily buses to Hospet from Bangalore, Mysore and Gokarna. From Hospet you can go to Hampi on a local bus. There are private bus companies operating from most places in Goa and from Gokarna which run an overnight service to Hampi.
Distance from the major cities/towns from Chikmagul:
Bangalore: 350 km, Hubli: 150 km, Hospet: 13 km, Hyderabad: 360 km
Places of Tourist Interest:
Hampi is a visual delight, especially due to its stark contrast from most other places. Rocks are all you see whichever direction you look at. Vegetation is visible in the wet months; but again it never dominates the landscape. It is an ideal spot for people who are interested in history and/or nature. There are many sites of interest in and around Hampi. The must-visits are Virupaksha Temple, Hampi Bazaar, Monolith Bull, Lakshmi Narasimha temple, Hemakuta Hill temples, Big Shivlinga, Vithala Temple (the famous Stone Chariot is located here), Hazara Rama Temple, Royal Enclosures, Queen's Bath, Zanana Enclosure (which also houses the Lotus Mahal), Elephant Stables, Achyut Raya temple, Statue of Lakshmi Narasimha (often mistaken for Ugra Narasimha - fiery form of Vishnu) owing to the damage suffered by this monolithic statue.
This dam is another 16 km from Hampi and it is towards Hospet. Hence, if you have plans to catch your train/bus back from Hospet, you could see Tungbhadra dam and return from Hospet. It takes around 45 min to 1 hr to see Tungbhadra dam. You need to park your vehicles at the entrance and take Govt bus to the top and return. There are also several "Shivalings" along the river which the boatman will guide you to.
The old capital called Anegundi, across the river from Hampi also has many sites. You can also go to Anegundi from Virupapur gadde by road. There is a road alongside old broken bridge (Bukka's Aqueduct).The Hanuman Temple on Anjenaya Hill (involves climbing up 572 steps, is believed to be the birth place of Hanuman) and the Pampa Sarovar are worth a visit. Both of these places are around 7-8 kms from Old broken bridge.
Daroji bear sanctuary:
It is around 16 kms from Hampi, opposite side of Kamalapura/Hospet. It opens between 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The real pleasure in exploring Hampi comes from on the bicycle or by walking around. Virtually every rock in Hampi has a story to say. This story is best heard if you give it time and walk around from rock to rock. Bicycle is the best way to explore Hampi if you enjoy history, culture and nature. You can hire the same when there. There are several car rental companies in Hampi/Hospet including some prominent ones. Car rentals are also available from Various nearby rail heads and airports like Bangalore, Goa, Hyderabad, Belgaum to Hampi. Most of the guest houses are on other side of the river (area called Virupapur Gadde). To access them, you need to cross river by Motor boat.
The stone carvings are made by local artists and are a good buy here. The same thing in Bangalore will cost ten times the price. The hand stitched blankets are also a good buy
Best time to Visit:
The best time to visit the place is between September and February.
Hampi has a number of festivals throughout the year - both cultural and religious. The most celebrated festival is the Vijaya Utsav, known as Hampi Festival, held for three days during November. This is a cultural carnival attracting many tourists, showcasing special puppetry shows, music and dance followed by fireworks and a procession culminating the end of the festival.