Among the wondrous cities in the history of India, Hampi has held one of the greatest seats of power. Though in ruins now, it was once the Imperial capital of the 14th Century Vijayanagara Empire, a significant location in the Ramayana, and home to the much revered Hanuman.
Adorned in stories from the Ramayana and the Vijayanagara art and architecture, Hampi is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and spans over an area of 26 Square Kilometers.
How to Reach:
There are no trains or buses that will take you directly to Hampi city. The closest town, Hospet is about 13 kilometers (8 miles) away and is well connected to all the major cities by rail and road.
- By bus:
The buses that take you to Hospet are mostly semi-sleepers equipped with an air conditioning system and are very comfortable.
From Hyderabad & Bangalore:
Travel time: 8 hours
Arrival time: Between 3 AM & 7 AM
You can contact a local travel agent to book the tickets or you may book them online at RedBus.in or AbhiBus.in.
- By Train :
From Hyderabad & Bangalore:
Travel Time: 9 Hours(average)
Arrival Time: Scheduled to arrive at different times before Noon.
There is only one train with a coach which is the Hampi express coming from Bangalore.
- By Car:
From Bangalore, Mysuru & Hyderabad: 8 Hours
From Goa: 6 Hours
Where to Stay:
Hampi city offers places to stay over a wide range of budgets. There are three main areas where you can stay:
Here you can find guesthouses as cheap as Rs. 600. per night and luxurious hotels that go up to at least Rs 6000. Since Hospet is the nearest well-connected town, you will find better amenities within reach over here. It is the perfect location if you are travelling with a family.
The closest town to Hampi, this area has some of the newest as well as the pricier hotels. A great option if you are seeking convenience and luxury.
- Virupapur Gaddi (Hippie Island):
This is where you will find the cheapest options in Hampi city. Not the place if Luxury is what you are looking for. Here, you are likely to find a crowd of youngsters, hippies, and travellers from around the world. Alcohol is not as restricted on this island as opposed to the Hampi bazaar and Hospet. An excellent choice for budget stays and solo travellers.
Best time to visit Hampi (and worst):
Hampi enjoys a pleasant climate for a major part of the year. From the month of June to the following February, the weather starts out with the monsoon rains, and transitions into winter in the month of November. In winter, the temperature at night may go down as far as 12 degrees, and up to 32 degrees during the day. Though both these seasons are great for travel, it is not a good time for bouldering and mobility during the monsoon rains will be a little restricted.
The rest of year from March to May, you are bound to be baked by the scorching heat of the sun at temperatures around 40 degrees. Obviously, not the best time to visit Hampi.
Getting around, in and about Hampi:
Most of the monuments and places to visit in Hampi are not far from each other so you can walk from one place to another, but relying on your legs as your sole means of transportation is out of the question. But not to worry, there are better ways:
This may not be an option for everyone on account of the hilly terrain, which may get tricky while trying to access certain areas, but it does offer an exhilarating experience. You will find shops that rent bicycles for prices as low as R. 50/- per day. But before renting one, be sure to check for the tire’s pressure, a well-functioning locking mechanism, proper brakes, and a well-threaded tire.
- Scooters and Mopeds:
These are the most popular choice for travelers since they are very convenient and the rent does not cost more than Rs. 300/- a day. The best place in Hampi city to find these scooters and mopeds would be Hippie island. Be sure to take it for a test drive to ensure proper brakes, steering etc.
Like the rest of India, autos always make your commute easier but beware of the driver who may try to charge exorbitant prices. A tip you can follow is to ask the locals (the shop owners and bypassers) the cost of getting where you want to go, and then try to haggle and bargain the prices down with the auto driver as much as possible.
Cars are available for rent at Hampi and Hospet. It is an ideal option for families or people with special needs.
Places to visit in Hampi:
Explore the Ruins of History:
Hampi has a rich heritage with relics from the Vijayanagara kingdom, and even from the history of Ramayana like the famous Anjanadri Hill (the birthplace of Hanuman). The unique Vijayanagara art and architecture is well sought after by many. An exploration of these ruins is essential to a Hampi bucket list. Find curated tours led by local tour guides, to explore the heritage on our website www.ruddbuddy.com.
Enjoy the breathtaking sunset:
The hilltops of Hampi offer one of the most beautiful sunsets you would come across. It might take a climb but it is worth it. The sunlight at this time of day colours the boulders with a unique shade of red, so the vistas and landscapes are best experienced under this light. The spots that come highly recommended are the Matunga Hill, the Anjanadri Hill, and the Hemakuta Hill.
In 2003, a documentary about bouldering in Hampi city, called ‘Pilgrimage’ was made by Chris Sharma, soon the bouldering crowd from across the globe made their way here and the Hampi rocks soon made it the Bouldering Capital of India. If you want to rent equipment, try the Thimma Climb and the Tom and Jerry Climbing shop. The Hemakuta Hill, the Matunga Hill, and the Malyavanta temple all come as highly recommended locations for bouldering.
If you want to read more about Bouldering, Check out our blog
Hang around the Sanapur Lake:
This hidden gem is one of the most peaceful locations in Hampi City. The crowd here is very thin and you may sit here perched on a boulder to enjoy the calmness of the lake. Unlike the other water bodies here, this lake is devoid of Crocodiles, making it a safe location to go for a swim. Cliff diving at the lake is also a popular activity among the tourists. The lake is about 28 km away from the Hampi Bazaar, by road. If you take ferry near the bazaar, you will cut short the journey by 23 Km and dive straight into a scenic drive. The lake is not accessible by any public transport so you will need a cycle or scooter. This is among the less frequented but must see places to visit in Hampi.
Ride a Coracle:
Coracles are bowl-shaped boats made with reed and hide. It’s what passes for a ferry in Hampi. It is truly an experience to ride across a river in one of these. You will find local tour guides offering coracle rides at both the Sanapur lake and across from the Virupaksha Temple.
A Visit to Daroji Bear Sanctuary:
The Daroji sanctuary is located about 15 Km away from Hampi city and was established for the preservation of Sloth Bears and spans over an area of 82.7 sq km with an estimated population of 120 sloth bears. In order to preserve the wildlife, the forestry department has tried to minimize contact between the animals and human beings so it is less likely that you are going to stumble upon a bear by accident, but there is a visitors point from where you can catch a beautiful view of the sanctuary and spot a few of these endemic creatures. Keep in mind: binoculars will come in handy. This is among the least visited but highly recommended places to visit in Hampi.
This magical town is famous for its breathtaking view of the sunrise and sunset. As mentioned earlier, the sunlight during this time sprays the Hampi rocks with a reddish hue, making it the perfect time to capture its beauty. Goes without saying, you are bound to find wonderful landscape shots, so a wide angle lens may come in handy. The equipment and filters you carry must also be able to counter the effects of the blazing sun.
During monsoon, the heavy clouds and rain elevates the aesthetics of Hampi’s topography, making it very picturesque.
Restaurant & Cafes:
Among the places to visit in Hampi, one interesting feature is that it has a lot of colourful cafes that can get you into a good vibe, especially the ones on Hippie Island. They are also a great platform to meet the diverse array of travellers that come here. You may not find cuisines that are endemic to Hampi but they do offer a tasty platter of diverse items.
A two or three-day trip is ideal to explore Hampi at a leisure pace. Just pick a long weekend and take off before you are hit by second thoughts. For those planning on staying for longer, Pattadakal, Aihole, and Badami make great additions to the trip.
If you wish to make your visit count, do check out www.ruddbuddy.com for a panel of local tour guides who conduct activities, experiences, and micro-tours just for you. This Hampi tour guide was brought to you as part of our all inclusive information series.