23 October 2012

Hampi

Order of Sections
- Overview
- Why might you want to visit Hampi?
- Hampi does, however, not fare well in...
- Transportation
- When to go
- Hospet
- Hampi
- Around Hampi
- Food and Accommodation

Overview
Once the cradle of the mighty Vijayanagara empire, Hampi today is a prime tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage sight.

Why might you want to visit Hampi?
Hampi is home to many ruins and functioning temples and this is one of the few places in India to see ruins. Surrounding areas offer more natural beauty and other ruins.

Hampi does, however, not fare well in...
As in anywhere else in India, touts are common.
Make sure you check the weather conditions when you visit, summers (Mar-Jun) are likely to be very hot.

Transportation
Getting to Hampi
If you're driving down from Bangalore, expect around 6 hrs of driving time without stops, but sometimes you may be lucky and only need 5.5 hrs. Before crossing Tumkur, there are two Kamat outlets as well as a Cafe Coffee Day. Afterwards, stops to eat are scarce.

We took NH4 to Tumkur-> Chitradurga and then NH 13 to Hospet.

Or check the train timetables.

Getting around Hampi
Autos and taxis are a common way of getting around, but so is by foot. If you're staying in Hospet, then you can take an auto, a taxi or a bus. Expect a 30 min drive.

When to go
Hampi can get very hot in the summers (Apr-May) as is the rest of the area. Oct onwards, although still warm, starts to get cooler. Check this link.

Hospet
Hospet is the nearby town, the gateway to Hampi. In contrast, it is sheer unattractive with nothing much to do or see, however there are some hotels located here.

Hampi
With numerous ruins and temples, shortlisting things to see in a limited timeframe can be a daunting task. Visiting a multitude of ruins in one day can get tiresome so spread your visit over several days if you're that interested. It is easier if you're chartering a taxi for a day (a small Indica hatchback will be approx INR 1400 per day).

As you first enter the area, you will come across a Ganesha temple called Sasivekalu Ganesha temple. Located just outside the temple is an inscription.

Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple
Continue walking behind the temple to find a hill offering great views
of ruins further ahead. Enjoy this areas as much; it's probably the quietest you'll find throughout. You can then, after taking in the view, walk to those ruins as well. Be careful though; you might find slabs of stones in your path along the downward slope, as if deliberately laid to damage your precious camera (and injuring you).

The inscription

More ruins behind the temple

The most famous attraction is undeniably the Virupaksha Temple. The area around is the most crowded as well. It is, however, worth the visit because the temple is well preserved in most parts.

Virupaksha Temple facade
Inside the temple
Be careful with the playful monkeys around.


There's a Krishna temple around. 



It is pretty big and worth a visit.

With an amazing monolithic statue, the small Lakshmi Narasmiha temple is next to the equally small Badaviling Temple. Size is no measure of their magnificence though, do check them out if you like monoliths. Being small, you will need to push around a bit to get your way to the front. 
Lakshmi Narasmiha Temple

Chuck a coin in Badaviling Temple

It's not well maintained but for some greenery nearby, visit the Underground Siva Temple.  However, it was sightly water-logged beneath when we visited- also the pillars are nowhere as near well-sculpted as they are in, say, the Virupaksha Temple. All in all, I only recommend it if you want some green space.

Entrance to the Underground Siva Temple.

In the Zanana Enclosure, you can visit the Lotus Mahal and the Elephant Stables.
                                                                    Lotus Mahal

Carry on to the Elephant Stables. 




Occupying around 59,000 sq meters is the largest enclosure called the Royal Enclosure.

Here you can visit the pyramidal Mahanavami Dibba. Walk up the steep steps to the roof for good views. Just don't fall off!

Climbing up the Mahanavami Dibba

View of other ruins in the Royal Enclosure


One of the most famous attractions besides the Virupaksha Temple is the Vitthala Temple.


This temple is a little off from the other attractions and you need to take an electric car (INR 10 per person) to visit. You can alternatively walk up (it's about 2 km).

The famous chariot is located at the Vitthala Temple


                                               The architecture is really splendid at the Vitthala Temple

Around Hampi
There are also other ruins- remnants of the Vijayanagara empire- around (such as Anegondi). Although you can visit something different if you've had enough with ruins. Around a 30 min drive from Hospet is the Tungabhadra dam. There is a garden there as well as a small aquarium.



Food and Accommodation
While many stay in Hampi itself, we stayed in Hospet- in the Royal Orchid. You can sometimes obtain very attractive rates and the rooms are pretty good. The hotel has a good restaurant. Another good place to eat is the Malligi Hotel in Hospet.



Last visit: Oct 2012
No of visits: 1

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4 comments:

anjali gupta said...

Thanks for sharing all the information about Hampi that one needs to know before planning trip to this historic city. Also, get to know about hotels in Hampi as it's better to pre-book accommodation in advance.

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Sangita said...

Your blog on this historical site is so well written. I had visited Hampi last year with my family and we stayed at the Sloth Bear Resort.It was a well spent memorable weekend

Carambolasia said...

Extensive article with lot of good information and pictures. Will recommend. Thanks for your work.