Many have heard of Hampi, but only a few have visited the place to tell the tale. For those who are hearing about this place for the first time, you should know that Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Karnataka. It's a tiny ancient village that's surrounded by palm trees, temple ruins and monolithic sculptures (A sculpture made from one large rock or slab of marble). Not to forget, home to a hell lot of MONKEYS!
I was in Hampi tour last month and I still haven't managed to get over that place completely! Even though I went there for just the weekend, I saw most of it--Some places like the Hippie Island and the Kampli fort were off-limits due to the flood situation that occurred in Ballari and Koppal districts. Lesson learned: avoid travelling during the monsoons. The rains will not only make it difficult for you to travel around Hampi, but the massive boulders can also become too slippery and dangerous to explore. I would say the best time to visit Hampi is from October to February as the weather is pleasant. If you're travelling there for the first time, grab a diary and a snack. We're going on an adventure!
Don't forget to carry the POPxo 'Out of Office' tote bag. It's perfect to hold all your essentials when you're out exploring and it's also totally 'Gram worthy!
Hampi is all beautiful and great until you have to travel there. Unfortunately, there is no direct flight to this place and the only way to get here is by taking a train or travelling by road. I chose the latter. If you're travelling by road, you can travel to Hampi from Goa, Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi, Kerala, Chennai or Bangalore. I travelled there via Bangalore. To save time, you can also take a flight from Bangalore to Hubli (City in Karnataka). Honestly, that's the fastest route to Hampi. It takes roughly an hour to reach and the current airlines that fly to Hubli are Indigo, Spice Jet, Indigo. If you're taking a flight to Hubli, once you reach there, your real journey begins. You can either take a train to Hospet from Hubli and then a bus from Hospet to Hampi. The whole journey by train from Hubli takes about 4 hours. But I would suggest that you take a direct bus from Hubli to Hampi. The road distance is about 163 km and you'll reach in approximately 4 hours 30 mins.
I booked an AC sleeper from Go Tour Travels and Holidays on the MakeMyTrip app. The fare was roughly 1,168 Rs for one way. For some weird reason, there are no buses to Hospet available during the day. I boarded the bus from Hebbal bus stop in Bangalore at 11 pm. It took me almost 7 hours to reach there. Around 5 am, I reached Hospet and checked into a nearby hotel. Since Hampi is a tourist destination, you will find plenty of local rickshaws willing to take you from Hospet to Hampi no matter what time of the night you arrive. Just make sure that you're bargaining skills are on point. Also FYI, you must cross Hospet to reach Hampi. The distance between the two places is 13 km.
For a tourist destination, it's surprising that there are only a few hotels in Hampi and Hospet. However, there are plenty of guest houses. The price per night ranges anywhere between Rs 500 - Rs 10,000. A decent hotel will cost you anywhere between Rs 3,000 - Rs 5,000. Here are a few hotels that I recommend:
This is the hotel that I stayed at! The property is huge and the staff is kind and courteous. I chose to stay here because the pool is gorgeous. It's clean and oh-so-pretty! If you want to skip swimming, they also have a spa at the hotel. More than the Swedish massage, I recommend the Balinese massage. What I also liked about this hotel is that you can book a private car from them to tour around Hampi. For a day, a local rickshaw would do a Hampi tour from Hospet for Rs 1,200. Whereas, a private car from this hotel charged just a few hundreds more. If you stay at hotel Malligi, ask for Kiran. He would be able to help you with the car service. He's honestly the best and the most trustworthy person I met during my trip!
Phone No: 08394228101
Address: 10/90 J.N.Road, Hampi Road Near Lakshmi Saraswati Theatres, Hosapete, Karnataka 583201
Another hotel I was considering staying at is this one. Unfortunately, all the rooms were booked during my dates. Located at Hospet too, it has a spa, outdoor pool, a gym and even a salon! I heard the breakfast here is better than any other hotel in Hospet. However, this hotel is quite strict with their check-in and check-out policies. If you're travelling with your partner, this place is couple-friendly. The hotel is fluent with speaking both Hindi and English, and most of the places at this property are wheelchair-friendly. However, the only bummer is that they do not allow pets. They even provide shuttle services, but that's chargeable. If you want to pick up souvenirs for your friends and family, you don't need to go to a market, they have gift shops inside the hotel! You'll also be happy to know that it's just a 4km walk from the Hospet Junction train station.
Phone No: 08394300100
Website: Hotel Royal Orchid Central Kireeti
Address: Station Rd, Hampi, Karnataka 583201
A simple and affordable hotel to spend the night at. It may not have fancy facilities like swimming pools, gyms and spas, but what it does have to offer are clean spacious rooms. WiFi is available for free and they even offer beauty treatments. However, I did read reviews on Booking.com about their staff needing improvement. If you're looking for a place to crash at night, opt for this hotel. It's inexpensive and practical.
Phone No: 08394300100
Website: Hotel Priyadarshini Pride
Address: v-45, Station Rd, Hosapete, Karnataka 58320
Another budget-friendly hotel to stay at is this one. You can get a room for anywhere between Rs 2,000-5,000 per night. In fact, because of its location, this hotel is always booked. The only way to get a room here is during the off-season or booking it two-three weeks in advance. Clarks Inn offers car hires too to explore Hampi. One of the reasons why it's so popular is because it's close to all the tourist spots. This hotel doesn't have a lift, so you might want to carry your sports shoes along *Wink*
Phone No: 08394241245
Address: HPC Road Opp ASI Museum-kamalapur, Hospet, Taluk, Kamalapur, Karnataka 58322
Enjoy living in the lap of luxury? Well, Hyatt is the best hotel option for your expensive taste! The property boasts of 2 dining spaces, a fancy outdoor pool, a gym, library, spa and yoga centres. A cool family activity you can try here is their cooking class. However, it all depends on the availability of their chefs. They also provide cycles so you can travel around their lush property and around the town. They have a separate room for board games and a small library that has books about Hampi and the history of India.
Phone No: 08395661234
Website: Hyatt Place Hampi
Address: Vidyanagar Township, Toranagallu, Karnataka 583123
There's a peaceful vibe to this hotel. It's so popular that it is one of the most reviewed hotels in Hampi on Booking.com. A perfect place to disconnect and enjoy the company of your loved ones, their staff is known to make their guests feel at home. They are polite, courteous and helpful! Heritage Resort even has an organic farm where you can learn farming and enjoy fresh farm cooked vegetables.
Phone No: 08042019557
Website: Heritage Resort Hampi
Address: 48/C & 4B, Hosamalapanagudi, Hospet Taluk, SH 49, Hampi, Karnataka 583239
You need at least 2 days in Hampi. However, if you're looking to click pictures of sculptures and architecture, you may want to extend your stay. Carry cash when travelling around Hampi as most places do not have card machines. The picture below is of me standing next to a boulder. It was HUGE! Can you believe there are thousands of these randomly scattered around Hampi? Unbelievable!
First stop is Virupaksha Temple. The entry to this place is free. It's one of the oldest temples in India and is located at the banks of Tungabhadra river. It was built in the 7th century and stands strong, firm and tall till today. If you love architecture, this should be your first place to visit in Hampi. Be careful of your belongings though, the place is packed with monkeys! At the temple, you also bump into the gentle giant, Lakshmi. She's an elephant who roams the temple and exchanges blessings for money.
The Statue of Ugra Narsimha is the largest monolith statue in Hampi. The statue depicts the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu who is half-man and half-lion. He's spotted sitting in a cross-legged position and staring fiercely at his visitors. Try to come here before sunset so that you can click beautiful pictures.
I felt like a peasant when I visited this place! It's a bathing complex for the king and his wives. This is exactly how the royals would bathe during that time. Just outside the bathing complex, you will find a huge courtyard. You can even buy stone-carvings and mini sculptures here. Remember, carry cash!
It's considered to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman (Monkey warrior God) and is 4kms away from Hampi. Located at the centre of Anegondi area, the temple door is always shut to prevent the monkeys from entering.
For a panoramic view of Hampi, you've got to climb the Matanga Hill. While you're on top, feel free to drop by at the Veerabhadra temple.
This river was in a bad state when I was in Hampi, hence the coracle rides were unavailable. However, if you visit when the weather is pleasant, you will enjoy the place better. Do check the ferry schedule before you plan your trip.
Another place to visit in Hampi is the Vijaya Vittala Temple. There's even a picture of this place is on the new 50 rupees note! There are three places you must look out for here, the Maha Mantap monument, musical pillars (if you tap the pillars at the correct spots, you will be able to hear the SaReGaMa tune) and the stone chariot. A minimal entry fee is charged to visit this place. So carry cash!
These 11 Indo-Islamic carved domes are actually royal elephant stables. In spite of the Mughal attack which took place in 1565, the architecture here remains intact. Two elephants could easily fit in one chamber.
Love history? If so, then you must take a trip here! Situated at Kamlapur, it's a little away from the main tourist spots in Hampi. You'll find sculptures, paintings, coins and dainty artefacts at the archaeological museum. It's open on all days from 10 am - 5 pm, except Friday. Do keep a good 1-2hours for a satisfactory tour of the museum.
You will find many veg restaurants here. Not very fancy food, but local and home-like. Head to Mango tree for a delicious Veg thali, their mango pickle will make you lick your fingers! This place called Gouthami serves amazing Turkish coffee and cardamom tea. Crave lassi on a hot day? Great! Gopi roof restaurant is the place to quench your thirst. And finally, for pizzas and burgers the Laughing Buddha restaurant is a great option!
Can you believe that I experienced all of this in just 48 hours? So plan a trip to Hampi during the next long weekend and if you've already been there, please feel free to share suggestions in the comment section.
Images: Writer's own