After prolonged planning and few last minute surprises, I, along with a friend, set out on a trip to Hampi on the weekend of February 28 – March 1, 2009.
We reached Hospet and then Hampi on Saturday morning and got a room in Ranjana Guest House in Hampi Bazaar. Its recommended by Lonely Planet and served us some excellent breakfast and snacks during the time we stayed there. If you are not looking for luxury, its a pretty good option.
I had already researched all the places we could cover in two days and we had a rough itinerary in mind. Also, we had detailed maps and information on all the places so we didn’t need a guide. (Thanks to Hampi.in and Indiamike!)
We kicked-off our tour of the Sacred centre with Virupaksha Temple, the largest temple in Hampi. Right from the start, both of us were enamoured by Hampi. The terrain, the rocks, the architecture – everything was fascinating.
We continued to Hemakuta hills, Sasivekalu Ganesha, Krishna Temple, Narsimha and Monolithic Shivalinga. The heat started getting bad as noon time approached. It was lunchtime and we decided to check out Mango Tree, a restaurant located on the Tungabhadra riverside, which I had read a lot about. And the place did not disappoint! We gulped down glasses of mango shake one after another and decided to make it our official hangout place after every round of sightseeing.
After a relaxing lunch, we decided to cover the riverside ruins next. The stretch begins from the end of Hampi Bazaar where a large Monolithic bull is placed. The heat was starting to get a little too much and there were almost no people in sight but our zeal to see more kept us going. In fact, we were the only tourists for quite some time at Achyut Raya Temple and Courtesans’ street.
The stretch till Vittala Temple was probably the most dry and difficult. We tried drinking all sorts of liquids to keep us cool and even had a sundae. We passed King’s Balance to get to Vittala Temple and got to see the most popular of Hampi, the stone chariot. We spent around 1 hour in Vittala Temple complex resting happily after successfully completing the day’s itinerary with some time to spare. On our way back, we made a short stop at Sugreeva’s cave and then headed back to our room.
For a small town, Hampi has a vibrant night life. There are numerous roof-top cafes and restaurants and loads of shops selling anything and everything. We did a tour of the whole market and bought ourselves a t-shirt with motif each. For dinner, however, we decided to go back to Mango Tree. After dinner, we came back home and went to sleep after a long tiresome day.
On the second day, we started early and took a coracle to the other side of the river.
We then trekked to the top of Anjaneya Hill. This is supposed to be the birth place of Lord Hanuman and the view from the top was more than worth the effort.
Afterwards, we went back and checked out of the room. For the remaining part of sightseeing, we decided to rent bicycles. We rode to the Royal Centre area and kicked-off our tour with Underground Shiv Temple, Mahanavmi Dibba and Hazara Rama Temple. The sites that included Watch Tower, Mosque, Krishnadeva Raya’s palace etc. looked more like an excavation site.
We also saw some tempting baths and tanks with little or no of water. We finished the leg with Lotus Mahal, Elephant Stables and Queen’s bath.
We then rode to Kamalapur to visit the archaeological museum and then concluded our trip with a well-deserved delayed lunch at Mango Tree. After spending an hour or so there, we returned to Hospet to catch our train back to Bangalore.
On the whole, it was an amazing trip! Hampi is a small but bustling town with friendly people who are not after your money. Its a trip I would recommend to everyone. After all, how often does a place offer historical, adventurous and religious sights together and gives you a chance to show off your well-earned tan with pride!
These and a lot of other photos from my Hampi trip are available at flickr here.