Hampi – A 3 day journey through the most beautiful dynasty

Has this ever happened to you? You hail from let’s say a place that is a tourist destination for the world but for you it’s just another town? You don’t understand what the hype is all about and don’t give it enough thought as people from all over the world flock your village. People cross the oceans to experience the beauty but you haven’t boarded the overnight bus. Well, it has happened to me and I had not paid enough attention to the beauty of Karnataka.

View of Achutaraya Temple from Matanga Hill

View of Achutaraya Temple from Matanga Hill

Karnataka surely is a fascination for people from other states and I’m blessed to have such friends who love to travel and who make plans to meet at such “must visit” locations. As we planned the Hampi Trip(which is in Karnataka), which was strongly suggested by Aishwarya (who you all know by now 🙂 ), I did not feel any special excitement to visit this world heritage. For me, it was another destination with my travel friends. But this place has left me spell-bound and how.

Achutaraya Temple

Achutaraya Temple

I took the overnight AC Sleeper by SRE Travels. The bus was late by about half hour and reached Hospet at 8(1 hour late) but my friends who were coming from Pune were delayed by 5 hours(Boo Hoo Meenakshi Travels) With time on my side and the inquisitiveness to know how life as a Solo Traveler would be, I set out to explore Hospet. I took a local bus to Tungabhadra Dam(Strongly recommended by a friend and my mom). The drive takes you through the busy roads of Hospet and picturesque stretches with mountains. One hill that caught my eye is known as Jolad Raashi Betta.

Tungabhadra Dam

Tungabhadra Dam

The Tungabhadra Dam area is maintained beautifully. The walkway to the entrance has trees blossoming with gorgeous yellow(my current favorite colour) flowers that form a beautiful flower bedded path for you. Barricades on either sides display some really old but wise proverbs which took me back to school and days of Kannada lectures not just by my teachers but also my mother.

It was just me and my thoughts and a few butterflies to add colour, birds to add music, with the sound of gushing Tungabhadra to give it all some rhythm. As I walked through the road leading to the dam, I spotted a watch tower and yearned to be there, right at the top to get a good view of the river, dam, gardens and mountains. But I was advised not to go alone and hence it stays with me as a spot to come back to 🙂

My friends reached around 12:30 PM and after an early lunch at Udupi Sri Krishna Bhavan in Hospet, we headed to Hampi after a lot of haggling with Auto Drivers(Paid Rs. 130 for 4 people in an auto –One of us is 6 feet and 3 inches tall). The auto guy took us to a road full of guest houses. After checking out a couple of them we finalised on Venu Guest House who charged us Rs. 500/night for 2. Clean sheets and clean bathrooms is what we look for and we got both. After a quick round of freshening up and some yum sandwiches and omlets from upstairs(Durga Huts), we headed with Anja(Auto Driver) to Kamalapura.

Anja speaks over 12 Foreign Languages. He wasn’t lying. We checked. Aishwarya who is a German Teacher in Pune had a 5 minute conversation with him in German. It was wonderful to see how people of Hampi have adapted to the large number of foreigners flocking their town. Their English accent is better than yours and mine, their pronunciation of certain words is almost perfect and you wouldn’t believe when you figure out that maybe they don’t know how to read and write in English. If you don’t know the local language, just relax. You will never feel crippled in Hampi.

View from Malyavanta Betta

View from Malyavanta Betta

The first thing one needs to know about Hampi(other than the fact that it is a world heritage site) is that it has not just historic importance but also a mythological one. When you go from one monument to another, you will hear stories of King Krishnadevaraya and his empire on one side and of Lord Rama, Lord Hanuman, Sugreeva and Vali on the other. This was extremely captivating for me, Wherever you go, you’ll hear stories of how the Vijayanagara empire was the richest in the world and also about how this place is called Kishkinda from Ramayana. You will be disgusted by the destruction caused by the Mughals out of sheer sadistic pleasures and by the way the government has distastefully restructured buildings and monuments without giving it a creative thought. You will be astonished by the almost magical ways found by the men and women of 16th century to live efficiently and saddened by the ugly encroachment of historic beauty by the locals which for all you know is now a guesthouse, a store or a house.

Raghunatha Swamy Temple

Raghunatha Swamy Temple

That said, Hampi will leave you feeling exhilarated. It took me back in time and let me imagine mythology and history like no other place has so far. I’m sharing with you the story behind the places we visited in the same order we followed. This route is followed by a Government Certified Guide and maybe one of the best routes to explore Hampi.

The best thing to do on reaching Hampi(or even before) is to get your hands on a detailed Hampi Map. This will give you a clear picture of what all there is to see and approximate time that may need to see them all. Here’s a couple of versions.

The second thing is refer to this image. All the 83 monuments/temples/hills are listed here. So you can keep ticking them off as you go. Also pick up this book(Rs. 70) which has very good descriptions of everything you need to know.

83 places of interest

83 places of interest

Next, make sure you hire a Government Certified Guide(We paid Rs. 1200 for one full day) as they are trained and can explain history beautifully. Here’s our guide Bhanu Prakash’s Number: 9449409070

For the day/days you decide to use the services of a guide, hire the 2 wheelers(Lunas) that are available almost everywhere in Hampi. They charge you Rs. 150 per day plus fuel at Rs. 100 per litre(This is inclusive of oil). If you don’t know how to ride, then taking a rick may be a good option.

Ensure you are carrying a cap/hat/jacket/sunscreen to keep yourself well protected from the sun. I am still trying to get rid of the tan inspite of taking utmost precaution.

We split our 3 days like this. I have also shared stars next to each location/restaurant to let you know what we thought of the place.

Day 1(We were left with second half only) – Kamalapura – Malyavanta Betta, Domed Gate, Bhima’s gate, Ganagitti Temple, Jain temple and the Museum.

Sunset: Malyavanta Hill *****

Lunch: Udupi Sri Krishna Restaurant, Hospet  ***

Evening Chai: Durga Huts *****

Dinner: Mango Tree ***

 Day 2 – A tour of Hampi with Bhanu Prakash – Government Certified Guide. Apparently there are 5 or 6 extremely good guides in Hampi and we got one of them. Bhanu Prakash’s knowledge is top-notch and he answered almost every question we asked. He became a part of us, cracked jokes, clicked lots of beautiful pictures and yet kept us on schedule.

Day 2 itinerary:

  • Virupaksha Temple ****

  • Pampapati Temple

  • Manmatha Tank ***

  • Kadalekalu Ganesha ***

  • Sasivekalu Ganesha ****

  • Badavilinga *****

  • Uddana Virabhadra ****

  • Narasimha Statue ***

  • Krishna Temple

  • Kamalapura Village ****

  • Sisters Stones **

  • Underground Temple ****

  • Noblemen’s Encolsure ***

  • Dandanayaka Enclosure

  • Vittala Temple *****

  • King’s Balance ***

  • Octagonal Bath *****

  • Chandrashekara Temple

  • Queen’s Bath ****

  • Zemana Enclosure

  • Watch Towers ****

  • Queen’s Palace ****

  • Lotus Mahal *****

  • Elephant’s Stables ***** + *****

  • Guard’s Men Quarters ****

  • Hazara Rama Temple **** (We only saw this is a passing)

  • Royal Enclosure

  • King’s Audience Hall ****

  • Public Bath

  • Aqueduct ****

  • Mahanavami Dibba ***** + *****

  • Mammoth Stone Doors ***

Sunrise: We missed it

Sunset: Hemakoota Hill ***

Breakfast: Durga Huts *****

Lunch: Mayura Restaurant, Kamalapura(You get Non-Veg here) ****

Dinner: German Bakery ***1/2

Day 3 – Sunrise: Matanga Hill. A walk back covering Achutaraya Temple. A coracle ride to cross the river to explore Virupapura and Anegundi – The former capital of Vijayanagar Dynasty.

Sunrise: Matanga Hill ***

Breakfast: Street Food ***

Lunch: Evergreen Café, Virupapura *****

Dinner was at Mango Tree – Great reviews on Lonely Planet and other travel sites. The food was good and the ambiance even better. One thing about Hampi – Only vegetarian Food and No Alcohol in proper Hampi. You will get Non Vegetarian Food in Kamalapura(Mayura Restaurant) and in Virupapura(have to cross the river).

Some Contacts that may help:

Anja, The Multi Lingual Auto Driver: 9535358364

Bhanu Prakash, Government Certified Guide: 9449409070

Shopping: The narrow roads of Hampi.

I wish to write  another post sharing with you good things to know about each of these monuments but it seems like its taking a lot of time. Hence, I am postponing that for some other time and sharing what I have written already.

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5 thoughts on “Hampi – A 3 day journey through the most beautiful dynasty

  1. Hey… !!!
    nice intro on the snapshots of places you visited. waiting for other posts to come live. All cheers to you. will definitely be interesting to know more about each places. 🙂

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