Hampi, having been one of the largest and richest cities in India, today is a UNESCO world heritage site and the pride of Karnataka. It truly is an architect’s dream come true. Even though what stands are the ruins of the works of the 15th century, it describes true art like no other. Other than the rich ancient history, it is known for many old attractive Hindu and Jain temples, Palaces, Mosques, remains of the market streets of the Vijayanagara Empire, splendid viewpoints etc. and there are many things to do in Hampi which will make you stay there for some more time.
Hampi is located 13 km Hospet and 353 km from Bangalore. It is surrounded by Tungabhadra river and hills.
Best time to visit Hampi
October to march would be the ideal time to visit the place. Hampi conducts an annual Purandara Festival in January-February in the Vittal temple to celebrate the birth anniversary of Purandar. This is the one chance to experience Hampi in all its glory and witness its rich culture.
It would be an injustice to the site if you are planning for a one-day trip. It will take you at least two and a half days to visit all the sites in Hampi.
How to reach Hampi
By train: Get to Hospet railway station which is well connected to various major stations. Hampi is 13 km away, take an auto or a bus.
By bus: There are many options for buses from KSRTC to private travel agencies.
By road: Driving to Hampi from the neighbouring cities is a good idea for a road trip as the roads are in good condition.
Now that you’ve got here, there are a few things you should never miss. Here are the top 10 things to do in Hampi.
1. Watch the Sunrise from the Malyavanta Raghunatha Hill
The view of the valley from here is magnificent. Sunrise from this spot is a site to behold and one the best things to do in Hampi. Beware of the many resident monkeys as they are very quick and resilient, be careful of anything you are carrying. Malyavanta Raghunatha Temple is a functioning temple. The carvings on the boulder, architecture of the temple in which natural boulders are merged into the temple and a cave shrine under a boulder act as the cherry on top of the cake.
2. Be astonished by the Hampi Bazaar
Virupaksha Temple : It is one of the oldest monuments of the town. The main shrine is dedicated to a form of Lord Shiva, Virupaksha.
Hemakuta Hill: The hill contains early ruins, Jain temples and a monolithic sculpture of Lord Narasimha. Cover the Kadalekalu Ganesha and Sasivekalu Ganesha pavilion on the slopes of the hill facing the main road.
Vittal temple : Explore the magical creation of the artisans of the Vijaynagar Empire to realise why it is a world heritage site. Don’t miss out on the musical pillars!
3. Drop round at the royal center
There are many attractions in the royal center. The Lotus Mahal or Zenana Enclosure is a palace known for its well designed pavilion and the lotus bud caved on its ceiling. The Elephant quarter used to house the royal elephants.The Queen’s Bath is famous for its unique Islamic architecture. The Underground Virupaksha temple tells a fascinating story. The center is open from 6 am till 6 pm on all days.
4. Visit the museum
The Archeological Museum at Kamalapuram has a fine collection of sculpture from local sites, neolithic tools, 16th-century weaponry and a large floor model of the Vijayanagar ruins. The information panels provides some interesting details about the king’s daily rituals. It is open on all days except Friday from 10 am to 5 pm. Ticket prices are different for Indians and foreigners.
5. Good food for a good mood
Hampi being flushed with tourists doesn’t lack in restaurants serving delicious food. Mango tree restaurant is the most famous for its thalis. Sagar hotel is known for hot and yummy south indian dishes at affordable prices. The goan corner is worth a visit for its outdoor seating and reasonably priced food. Laughing buddha serves israeli cuisines with continental and indian options, the best part being the view! This is my favourite thing to do in Hampi.
6. Go rock climbing
Hampi is filled with rocky terrains and hills. Be it a beginner or an expert, there is a rock for everyone to start. Carry mini torch/flashlight as the paths aren’t well lit. Hanuman Temple on the top of the Anjaneya Hill, the birthplace of Lord Hanuman is about 4 km from Hampi village. This is an easy but quite a long climb through the stairway that you can start with. Matanga Hill offers a trek for around 30 minutes that will lead you to the Veerabhadra Temple sitting right at the top.
7. Take an adventurous ride through Hampi
Hampi is a small city and is best savoured with the wind sweeping your face. Hire a bicycle from the local vendors (60-90 rupees per day) or a scooter (150 rupees per day) and ride through the streets for an unrestrained adventure. It will also save you a lot of money and the trouble of bargaining with the rickshaw or cab drivers.
This temple has a rooftop, which is unarguably the best place to witness the sunrise and sunset over the lovely landscape of this historical Hampi town.
8. Coracle through Tungabhadra river
You can reach the river by walking through the back of the Virupaksha temple. The coracle ride through the river will definitely make you forget the city hustle, at least momentarily. You can sit at the banks and enjoy the quiet cool breeze and the serenity of the river.
9. Enjoy the sunset at the Anjanadri hills
After a pretty tough climb of around 500 odd steps but the view is unbelievably breathtaking. Anjanadri is higher than Mathunga and the entire landscape of the city can be viewed from the top. The colours of the sunset lights up the city and the cliffs. Welcome the night and watch the city come to life with bright lights.
10. Time for some street shopping
Get some hippie ornaments and fabrics from the small Hampi bazaar next to the Bus stand. The street is lined with ruins of pavilion.There is a pavillion in front of the nandi bull statue in the bazaar that plays host to the annual festival in Hampi. You will need at least an hour to go through the whole street, thankfully the bazaar is open from 6 am till 11 pm.
If you still have time up your sleeves visit the tungabhadra dam. You can take relaxing walks in the parks and witness the musical fountain which begins from 7 pm.