Hampi – Experience the Ancient Ruins


Hampi is recognised as world heritage site by UNESCO. It is located on the banks of the river Tungabhadra in Karnataka, India.

I have been there twice from Bangalore; you don’t need more than 3 days to explore Hampi. If you have a map and a guide book you also do not have to depend on a guide. And during peak season you will find it difficult to get one. 

You can travel to Hampi from Bangalore as a day trip. Once we had a long drive started 2 A.M in the morning and reached back 1 A.M. the next day. But that was so tiring, and will have to leave behind few sight seeing as well. Before that, we had  stayed at Hampi for 3 days and covered in and around the place. 

Mythology behind Hampi

It was previously known as Pampakshetra which is derived from pampa (another name for goddess parvathi). According to mythology, it is believed that goddess parvathi once lived in the Hemakuta hill, which is a part of Hampi.

Hampi’s Pride History

Hampi Ruins

It was ruled by many emperors starting from 3rd century. During emperor Krishnadevaraya’s time it was known as Vijayanagara Empire. It was well known for its rich heritage. People used to sell pearls, gems and precious metals on the streets of Hampi. The architecture of many monuments in Hampi have an influence of multi religious styles.

How to Reach

You can visit Hampi by either bus, train or by airplane. Nearest airport is Hubli, which is 150 km from Hampi. When reaching by train, nearest railway station is Hospet, which is 12 km from Hampi. When travelling by bus, there are many direct busses to Hampi ply from Bangalore, Mumbai, Mysore and Goa.

Hampi Guide Book

This Hampi Guide Book by Subhadra Sen Gupta will give you a clear picture and all information about Vijayanagar with beautiful pictures. You can have it handy on your trip to Hampi. It will be an added advantage to know about the wealth, power, art, architecture and culture of the place.

When I visited, I neither had a guide nor a hand book, but had a note of all the sight seeing. After we started, we can see tourist vehicles everywhere and can just go in the flow. There are sign boards to every sight seeing. I got a small guide book from a street seller and was going through that while returning back home. I could relate what I was reading and what I saw.

Seriously, Hampi was a real experience. One should drive through the road which goes between these ruins on either side to know the real feel and it is difficult to imagine that once flourished place can ruin to this extend…

Things to do in Hampi

Virupaksha Temple, Hampi

Visit Iconic Virupaksha Temple to Experience Divinity

This temple is one of the oldest lord Shiva Temple which is situated in the centre part of Hampi.

Must Watch: You can experience the mesmerising inverted shadow of the gopura (tower of temple) inside the North West corner of the temple.

Catch the Amazing Panorama Sunrise

Matanga hill is known for its beautiful sunrise. Start your day with the fresh air with sun rays embrace you. It is worth climbing the hill for 20-25 minutes to have a scenic beauty of Hampi which is filled with paddy fields, Tungabhadra river and coconut trees.

Musical Pillar - Vittala Temple, Hampi

Sacred Vittala Temple for its Architecture

Vittala temple is the ancient monument well known for its exceptional architecture. Monolithic stone chariot and attractive musical pillars are eye catchy for tourists.

You cannot go near vittala temple in your own vehicle. Parking facilities are available and we have to wait for the battery car to take us to the place with a small fee. A 20 to 30 minutes queue is expected to avail the facility.

Experience a Blissful Sunset at Hemakuta Hill

This is a flat hill which has many smaller temples, pillars with creative carvings of Vijayanagara Empire. It just takes 15 minutes to climb the hill. Sasivekalu and Kadalekalu Ganesha temples are present at the slopes of the hill. You can end your day to enthral the sunset at this hill.

Get Relaxed at Hippie Island

Go for a coracle ride in Tungabhadra River behind Virupaksha temple. As it is not much crowded, you can just chill and relax here.

Stepped Water Tank, Palace Ruins, Hampi

Have a Look at Ancient Vijayanagara Architecture

Visit Queen’s Bath. As the name suggest, it was used for bathing by the royal king’s family.

There is a huge stepped well where the sacred water was stored.

Zanana Enclosure
Lotus Mahal, Hampi

Zanana Enclosure is one of the architectural beauty of Hampi. One should never miss to see that. It is said that this area is for the royal women. Apart from all the places this place will give some space to relax in the garden and the area is shady with trees.

Lotus Mahal is well known for its remarkable architecture and designed like lotus, hence the name Lotus Mahal. It is a place for the royal ladies to spend their time for recreational activities.

It also has many Jain temples and monuments and also Muslim tombs and monuments.

Visit Lakshmi Narasimha temple to have a look at huge terrifying look of lord Narasimha (form of Lord Vishnu)

Badavi Linga is the largest linga which is always submerged under water.

Elephant Staples

One of the beautiful structure which was not destroyed was the Elephant’s Stables built for the royal elephant of the empire. It is very beautiful structure and shelter for the elephants built in an Indo-Islamic style. You can also see Elephant’s guards quarters located right next to the stables. This is near to the Lotus Mahal.

Walk Around in the Local Market, Hampi
Market infront of Virupaksha Temple, Hampi

As Hampi is the tourism place, there is a market to attract tourists. You can find beautiful handmade crafts, jewelries and bags. You can feed your stomach with authentic Karnataka food in many hotels in the market.

Tungabhadra Dam

After completing all the sight seeing at Hampi, you can head to Tungabhadra dam built across Tungabhadra river. You can relax in the nearby garden. You have to walk a little from the parking area to reach the park and to view the dam. You can get only a far sight of the dam.

So if you are thinking to visit the dam one should complete the sight seeing at Hampi by 3 pm and start to the dam. So you reach there by 4 pm. Spend 2 hours there and return back to your place before dark.

For safe travel, avoid visiting the ruins after 6 pm, all the places are secluded, you can see only tourists.

Best Time to Visit Hampi

As Hampi is situated in the centre of Karnataka, the temperature during summer is at its peak. Therefore, October to February is the best time to visit Hampi.

Hampi Accommodation

It is very budget friendly and have enough places to stay in Hampi India. You can get rooms starting from as low as INR400 to INR4000 and food is available at reasonable price. On our visit to hampi, we stayed at Royal Orchid, Central Kireeti.

One of the Top hotels in Hampi is Evolve Back Orange County Hampi, get your deal from here.

One of the cheap resorts in hampi is Hotel Gowri.

Some of the best Homestay in hampi are Murali Homestay Hampi and Rashmitha Guesthouse.

Must Carry

  • As this place is unbearably hot, cotton clothes are preferred.
  • Get some sunscreen lotions as you get tanned due to hot sun.
  • During peak seasons, book your stay in advance.
  • Get sufficient cash as many places do not accept cards.
  • You can always have an umbrella or hat to hide yourself from sun.
  • Get your sunglasses and always carry a water bottle with you.
  • Shoes are recommended for trekking places.

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