Paradise full of boulders, majestic ruins, holy Tungabhadra and lush green paddy fields, Hampi blends you in a time which has no connection to your city life. Forget that luxurious travel you have been planning for the whole year. Hampi is far more worth than any luxury in the world.
Hampi has two sides – 1. Market side (Hampi bus stop) 2. Hippie Island (also called as Virupapur Gadde). In goes Tungabhadra River, who divides Hampi in two with only connections are a Ferry ride or a Coracle ride.
Always when in Hampi, prefer staying at Hippie Island. There is no other way you could have more fun in your travel. While planning this trip I was rooting for Hospet, as it has better (even luxurious) staying options, but my friend insisted that we should compromise on luxury and experience the Hippie side of the Hampi. How grateful I am for her decision! Hippie Island have many café for night hangout, guest houses with great view (some face the lush green paddy fields) and of course hippies who choose to spend months staying and relaxing in Hampi. We stayed at Gouthami Guest House which is 10 mins walking from ferry point. The best part of Gouthami Guest house was its German Bakery which served amazing set breakfast, pastas and burgers.
Exploring Hampi needs no plan, as you now know, you need to cover two sides on each day. Hire a moped or a rickshaw (bargain for best deal) for exploring ruins and temples at the market side. If you are in for some sport then hire a bicycle (Btwin) to commute and cover 30 km scattered area. For moped and bicycle make sure you hire it first thing in the morning as there is only one rent shop in the Hampi market and moped/bicycles are limited. First come, first serve or else you will have no other choice but to hire a rickshaw. Also remember, moped can’t be taken to the hippie island on the ferry. Hippie Island have other individual rent shops for moped.
Market side of the Hampi has most of ruins from Vijaynagara Era and temples like Virupaksha Temple, underground Shiva temple, Narsimha statue, Monolithic bull, Monolithic Ganesh at foot of Hemkuta Hill, Lotus Palace, Vitthal Temple, Stone Chariot and Palace with majestic Elephant stables. At the center of the hill is Matanga Hill which offers perfect sunrise/sunset view and holistic top view of Vijayanagar Empire.
Hippie Island offers nightlife, boulder climbing activities and ride to nearby Anjaneya Hills (also called as Monkey Temple) at Anegundi. This hill is believed to be birth place of Lord Hanuman and offers best sunset view for those who climbs to the top of it. You need to climb 575 steps to reach the top and enjoy the view. Moped ride from Hippie Island to Anegundi is the best ride I had in years – smooth roads, beautiful view of heaps of boulders at one side of the road and long paddy fields to the other side of the road.
Good time to visit Hampi – September to February.
How to Reach Hampi:-
• By Train – Nearest station to Hampi is Hospet where some long distance express trains halts. Hospet is just 12 km from Hampi and you can hire a rickshaw from Hospet. Another option is getting down at Hubli and hiring a cab or a bus to reach Hampi. Hubli is 165 km from Hampi.
• By Road – Bangalore to Hampi distance is 345km.
• Carry enough cash as there is no ATM at Hippie Island and Hampi Market area. Almost all restaurant takes cash only.
• If you wish to drink, carry your own hard drink as rarely any restaurants serve liquor other than Kingfisher Beer.
• If you are planning to go on weekend, book your room in advance. Book moped/bicycle first thing in the morning.
• Ferry timings – 10 A.M. to 6 P. M.