A travel Guide to Hampi

Hampi Tourism

Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Indian state of Karnataka. The former capital of the Vijayanagar Empire from the 14th Century is a famous pilgrimage centre for Hindu devotees. Hampi was the world’s second-largest city of medieval times and attracted traders from different parts of the world. The city is a heaven for history lovers as it is abundant with temples, palaces and all sorts of monuments from the Vijayanagar Empire that remain intact even after so many years. Several backpackers set out on Hampi tours every year to witness these historical ruins. Not just that, they make a quick stop at the Hippie Islands as well, for a relaxing getaway.

Some of the most popular Hampi tourist attractions are the Virupaksha Temple, Yantrodharaka Hanuman Temple, Hampi Bazaar, Elephant Stables, Zenana Enclosure, and Hazara Nama Temple.

Places to visit in Hampi

1. Virupaksha Temple

Virupaksha Temple which is also known as Pampapathi Temple is one of the oldest temples in India. It was built in the 7th century on the banks of the Tungabhadra river. The temple was once the abode of Lord Shiva’s reincarnation, Virupaksha. It makes the perfect spot for all the history buffs as you can witness intricate stone inscriptions on the temple’s walls that have their roots in the 7th century. The temple is designed in the famous South Indian style of architecture with tall towers and houses several other figurines apart from Lord Virupaksha. The architecture and history associated with the temple make it a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the top Hampi tourist places.

2. Hippie Island

Virapur Gadde is more commonly known as the Hippie Island and lies across the Tungabhadra River. You can take a 5-minute boat ride to the island where you can witness the scenic beauty and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the location. You can visit the place between October to March and enjoy the amazing local food at a wide range of cafes and shacks. It is a part of the Hampi travel guide for every backpacker who makes a pit stop at the affordable accommodations in Hippie Island and then moves on to witness the ruins in the southern region of Tungabhadra.

3. Lotus Palace

The Lotus Palace owes its name to the structure’s resemblance to a fully bloomed lotus. It is one of the rare Hampi tourist places that didn’t fall prey to the Mughal’s raids or weathering by time. It was originally built for the royal women of the Vijayanagar Empire and is one of the most allusive structures in Hampi.

4. Queen’s Bath

As the name suggests, it was a royal bath that dates back to the time of the Vijayanagar Empire. The structure was designed in such a way that outsiders couldn’t enter the vicinity. The intricate designs of the balcony and several other structures still manage to attract a lot of tourists every year. Despite the fact that it has lost its glory due to Mughal raids in the earlier eras, this place makes for the perfect picnic spot. You can spend some quality time with your family relaxing on the verdant lawns.

5. Vithala Temple

The temple has its roots in the 16th century and is the epitome of architectural works making it one of the top places to visit in Hampi. The arch designed with intricate carvings acts as a gateway to the premises where you can witness the famous stone chariot which is a symbolic piece of architecture in Hampi. The pillars around the structure showcase many Gods in their different forms. The Vithala temple also hosts the Purandara festival which is one of the top Hampi attractions that takes place in the months of January and February.

6. Daroji Bear Sanctuary

Established in 1994, the Daroji Bear Sanctuary was originally a thick thorny forest. The reason it is an important place to tick off from the Hampi travel guide is that it inhabits the endangered Sloth Bears. The Sanctuary is located in Bellary and you can witness several other animals like jackals, wild boars and leopards apart from about 120 sloth bears that are being conserved by a collaborative effort made by the Hampi tourism and forest department.

Things to do in Hampi

Hampi tourism offers a variety of things to do during your stay in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, ranging from adrenaline-pumping activities like cliff jumps, rock climbing to surreal sightseeing of the ruins from the Vijayanagar empire. Some of the most popular things that you can do in Hampi are mentioned below.

Coracle Boat Ride

It is one of the most unique Hampi attractions as there are only a handful of places where you can have these enjoyable experiences. A coracle is a circular walnut-shaped boat that can take up to eight people at a time. You can indulge in this activity at several places in Hampi such as Tungabhadra River, Sanapur Lake, and Sanapur Waterfalls.

Cliff Jump

Cliff jumping is one of the top things to do in Hampi. People who are seeking adventure and want to get their adrenaline pumping can indulge in cliff jumps at Sanapur Lake or Tungabhadra River. The cliffs aren’t as high as the usual cliff jumping spots but they’re still about 15 ft high. If you need any assistance with cliff jumping, you can get help from the locals.

Rock Climbing

Hampi tourism offers one of the popular rock climbing spots in the country. You can indulge in rock climbing and bouldering activities amidst the historic ruins of Hampi which makes it a dreamy experience. You can visit Hemakuta Hills, Matanga Hill, and a few other places near the Tiruvengalantha Temple for some rock climbing. If rock climbing is a part of your itinerary then you should visit during the winter months as it gets really hot during the rest of the year.

Shopping in Hampi

People enjoy shopping whenever they’re travelling to a new place, be it for souvenirs or authentic local work in fashion or handicrafts. Shopping in Hampi is an important part of the tourist experience just like any other activity that you indulge in during your trip. You can purchase stone carvings made by the local artisans as a souvenir for your family and friends or get leather goods and other handicrafts made from banana fibre which is unique to Hampi.

Hampi Utsav

The Hampi Utsav attracts tourists every year and is one of the largest celebrations of the Vijayanagar Empire. It depicts the rich culture of Hampi in the form of folk songs and dance performances at Virupaksha temple.

Best time to visit Hampi

Hampi has a moderate climate throughout the year. The summers bring high temperatures so we can say that months between March and June are not the best time to visit Hampi. However, the months of October to February have pleasant weather when you can indulge in rock climbing, bouldering activities and also attend the Hampi Utsav that takes place in November, making winters the best season to visit Hampi.

How to reach Hampi

By Air

There are no direct flights to Hampi but you can take a flight to Bellary which is the nearest airport to Hampi. Apart from Bellary Airport, there are a few more airway options till Hubli and Toranagallu. However, if you’re a foreign tourist, you’ll have to book a flight to Bangalore. Tourists can rent a taxi from the above-mentioned airports to reach their respective hotels in Hampi.

By Road

One can take the NH-4 to reach Hampi by their preference of road transport, be it a bus service or their personal vehicle. If you are someone who is visiting Hampi from a distant location and have a road trip on your mind, it is recommended that you take a flight or train to the nearest location from Hampi and then rent a vehicle there as the journey will get really exhausting.

By Railway

The nearest railway station to Hampi is Hospet Railway Station, which is 14 kms away from the city. The frequency of trains to Hampi is very low and tends to get sold out really quickly but if you make your reservations well in advance then you do not have to worry about how to reach Hampi.