Hampi | India
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Hampi, in the state of Karnataka, India, is the site of the once-magnificent capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. The ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage site.


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Hampi was the capital of South Indian Vijayanagara Empire from the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries. Being a UNESCO world heritage site, Hampi attracts a lot of foreigners. For first-time visitors, it is highly recommended to take a guide along with you, because the magic and grandeur of the place is fully understood only when one knows the history and legends associated with the place. Before the fall of Vijayanagara Empire, diamonds were sold on the streets. The main street selling diamonds and other precious stones was surprisingly called Pan Supaari Street. A visitor can still see the exact location of Pan Supaari Street in Hampi, which has been marked with a board by Archaeological Survey of India. Hampi is well worth at least one visit. The area is simply stunning and you will be in awe of the millions of boulders surrounding the area. However, within this arid landscape lies a little oasis with lush palm, banana, and mango trees nestled near the river. Hampi is a great place to spend a few days wandering around and discovering the rich, vibrant history while also having a bit of 'your' time. Hampi hosts the 'Hampi Utsav' (literally 'Hampi Festival') every year during first week of November. It is a visual delight as all the monuments/ruins are lighted in the night and it is a cultural extravaganza of dance and music. Read A Forgotten Empire (ISBN 1419101250), Robert Sewell — a dated text (published over a century ago), but a thorough and interesting exploration of the rise and fall of the Vijayanagara Empire. The New Cambridge History of India of India: Vijayanagara (ISBN 9781107022676), Burton Stein — part of Cambridge's gigantic multivolume work on the history of India, this is a definitive text on the Vijayanagara Empire's historical import.


Planning a Trip

1 Get in 1.1 By plane 1.2 By train 1.3 By car 1.4 By bus By plane The closest airport is Vidyanagar Airport (also known as Jindal Vijaynagar Airport), about 35 km to the east, near the village of Toranagallu. TruJet, a regional airline, offers regularly scheduled flights from both Hyderabad and Bangalore as of April 2018. Bangalore is the nearest international airport, 350 km away from Hampi. Private taxis cost more than ₹6000 for Bangalore to Hampi. By train The nearest railway station is Hospet Junction (IR station code: HPT), 13 km away. Overnight trains run several times a week from Bangalore, Hyderabad and Goa. The trains are a much cheaper and more comfortable route than the tourist buses most people are led into (2 AC - bed with linen - costs ₹750 from Bangalore to Hampi). You can also catch an overnight train from Mysore to Hubli and from there to Hospet/Hampi. Here are some useful trains to get into Hampi: From Hospet it's convenient to take a rickshaw to Hampi (₹80-₹120). Rickshaw drivers can be persistent and will poke their heads in the train before you even get off, but they may very well be the best option. Buses to Hampi are cheaper. It's about a kilometer and a half walk from the train station to the bus station. Take an Auto-rickshaw up to bus-stand (₹5 per head) and you can easily get frequent government buses for Hampi (₹10 per head). Also see Rail travel in India By car Bangalore: 350 km; drive the 200 km till Chitradurga (featuring a fort from 10th Century A.D. and a dam from 1907) on NH-4, take a right turn on NH-13 towards Sholapur till Hospet, and then drive another 13 km to reach Hampi (direction towards Hampi is well marked). The road is in excellent condition till Chitradurga but then deteriorates rapidly. You are also likely to encounter traffic jams due to ore-laden trucks plying on NH-13. Hubli: 150 km Hospet: 13 km Hyderabad: 360 km. Take NH-7 till Jadcharla X-Road, turn right towards Mahboobnagar and carry on till Raichur. From Raichur, take Karnataka State Highway 20 towards Lingasugar, turn left at 10 km after Raichur onto Karnataka State Highway 23 to Sindhanoor. The road on the last 15-25 km stretch, after Gangavati, is not so bad. Lots of speed breakers in Karnataka. The 5-10 km stretch just before the Andhra Pradesh - Karnataka States Border on Andhra Pradesh side is full of potholes. Mumbai: About 800 km or less: Take NH 4 up to Hubli & then go via Gadag-Hospet. Alternately Take NH 4, exit to Sangli/Miraj, Go to Athni-Bijapur. (Do not take short cuts as roads are real bad.) You may choose to see Badami, Pattadakkal, and Aihole as a 2 day add on excursion, otherwise proceed to Hampi the next day. Roads are average except speed breakers combined with potholes & heavy traffic of large trucks. (Strictly avoid night driving.) Prefer high ground clearance cars on this roads. By bus Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation operates daily buses to Hospet from Bangalore, Mysore and Gokarna. From Hospet you can go to Hampi on a local bus for ₹15. Book your tickets in advance if you want a coach or an air-con service, because the number of travellers is large (given that the place is very famous amongst foreigners) and the frequency of buses is less. There is a KSRTC daily Panaji - Hampi / Hampi - Panaji service. It is a very comfortable ride and it starts / ends at Hampi bus station itself. Details and online ticketing can be done on the KSRTC site. There are buses every 15-20 minutes from Hospet (new terminal) to Hampi. Getting seats is not a big problem. There are private bus companies operating from most places in Goa and from Gokarna which run an overnight service to Hampi. Unfortunately, there is no direct return so you take a local bus (or taxi) to Hospet and take it from there. For Indians who wish to stop at different places en route to Hampi, this is an itinerary you can follow using KSRTC buses. This is ex-Mumbai and was done in March 2013. Mumbai to Belgaum (overnight bus, approximately 8 hours). Belgaum to Bijapur (NWKRTC Inter-City bus, approximately 3 hours). Bijapur to Hospet (KSRTC Inter-City bus, approximately 3 hours). Hospet to Hampi (regular city bus, 15 minutes)


Getting Around

1 Get around 1.1 By bike 1.2 By motorcycle 1.3 By car 1.4 By boat Tungabhadra Dam The real pleasure in exploring Hampi comes from on the bicycle or by walking around. Virtually every rock in Hampi has a story to tell. This story is best heard if you give it time and walk around from rock to rock. Do note that the weather in Hampi can be a big factor. With all the boulders, big and small around, with soil from years of erosion, there is a lot of dust that blows in the air. There are open spaces with strong winds and while the wind keeps you pleasant, you can have a lot of dust blowing into your nose / mouth. In many of the monument areas, there are no trees or anything to provide shade (except the monuments themselves). So walking / cycling around the area involves a lot of exposure to direct sunlight. Keep your sunblock creams, hats, wet towels around your neck and bottles of water with you all the time. By bike Bicycle is the best way to explore Hampi if you enjoy history, culture and nature. You can rent a 21-speed Trek bike from Art of Bicycle Trips. It usually costs around ₹100/day and they will keep one of your identity proof as a security deposit. Helmet and lock is included in the price. Please note that with bicycling, a little bit of walking is always required for exploring the interior of sites. Regular, non-geared cycles are available at ₹50 per day, no security deposit is required. These cycles are available at the Hampi village. Another more convenient variant is to see all the sights without climbing the hills is by rickshaw. Bargain with your rickshaw driver for a fixed rate (₹400-500 for a full day seems to be okay) and then hire an official Karnataka Travel guide (at the tourist office, they have fixed rates: 4h costs ₹500, 8h is ₹800) It costs a little bit, but the explanations help you to see more than just stones and temples. To get an estimate of cost/content, you can talk to the guides before coming down to Hampi. The guides willingly share their cellular numbers and email addresses. By motorcycle Map of Hampi It is very hot! Dry, dry heat. And the walk between some sites can be at least 5 km. Plus, the surrounding area is quite breathtaking to ride around and you can explore some parts that the rickshaws won't take you. Guides are willing to ride on the back with you as well. This is a more expensive option (not for the thrifty!) than the rickshaw but it gives you more freedom and you can cover more in one day without rushing it. Take a guide with you one day, then do it all again by yourself the next. A bike like a Scooty or Kinetic Honda will cost you about ₹150 a day with additional fuel charges. You can also hire a 100CC motor bikes for ₹200 a day. A liter of petrol will be sufficient for sightseeing around Hampi, but two liters would be handy if you have plans to go to Tungabadra Dam (some 15 km from Hampi) When renting a scooter/motor bike petrol costs extra, and is normally sold at 40-50% premium in the place you rent (A liter may cost ₹65-₹75). A petrol pump is located in Kamalapur, which sells petrol at ordinary price. Two liters will get you to the major sites around Royal Centre and back, but three liters is a safer option. The countryside is a beautiful place for a leisurely drive so it's worth taking lots of fuel. By car Bit more costly variant is renting a car. Various Car Rentals are available in Hospet. They normally charge ₹750 to ₹1,000 for a day site seeing and pick up/drop to railway station etc. There are several car rental companies in Hampi/Hospet including some prominent ones like SRB Travels (travels@srbempire.com), etc. Car rentals are also available from various nearby rail heads and airports like Bangalore, Goa, Hyderabad, and Belgaum to Hampi. The ruins of Hampi are located within a 30 km2 area. While most of the famous places have drivable roads leading up to them. By boat Most of the guest houses are on the other side of the river (in an area called Virupapur Gadde). To access them, you need to cross river by Motor boat (₹10 for locals, ₹15 for tourists, boat runs until 6PM. If you cannot get on the boat, you have to pay auto ₹500-600 to take you other side via Hospet-Hugili-Hanumanhalli, which is a 40km tour. During moderate/high rains, gates of Tungbhadra dam are opened which increases the water level and water flow in river. In that case, one might get stranded on other side of river (Virupapur Gadde area)


Top Attractions

Hampi panorama body.skin-minerva .mw-parser-output .ambox{margin:0!important;border:none!important}body.skin-minerva .mw-parser-output .mbox-text{font-size:100%!important;padding:8px 8px 8px 32px!important;line-height:normal} Hampi is a visual delight, especially due to its stark contrast from most other places. Rocks are all you see whichever direction you look. Vegetation is visible in the wet months; but again it never dominates the landscape. It is an ideal spot for people who are interested in history and/or nature. There are many sites of interest in and around Hampi. The following list of must-visits is sorted by the number on the map you see in the temples (from 1 to over 80 sites!): 1 to 35 being around Hampi; 40s to 70s in the southern part towards Kamalapura. Most sites are free, but the Vithala temple, the Lotus Mahal (incl. Zanana enclosure and Elephant Stables) as the Archeological museum have a combined ticket valid for one day only, so you have to plan a bit your journey! For instance, if you rent bicycles and start early in the morning, you can cover the southern temples in the morning, spend the hot hours of midday in the museum and go in the late afternoon to the Vithala temple! And eventually keep all sites closest to Hampi for a second day! 15.33252676.4595611 Hemakuta Hill temples. #4 (updated Mar 2018) 15.3350276.4600762 Virupaksha Temple. #5 (updated Mar 2018) 15.333776.46723 Monolith Bull. #6 (updated Mar 2018) 15.331676.46784 Matanga Hill. #7. From where you can see the most beautiful sunsets. (updated Mar 2018) 15.33230876.4700215 Achyut Raya temple. #8. Built in 1534, it was the last temple executed in the city, before the fall of the fall of Vijayanagara Empire at the Battle of Talikota in the early 1565. (updated Mar 2018) 15.34223776.4752626 Vithala Temple. #23. Dedicated to Vithoba, an avatar (incarnation) of the gods Vishnu and Krishna. The famous Stone Chariot is here. ₹500 for foreigners with Lotus Mahal and the Archeologic Museum. (updated May 2015) 15.32933376.4590387 Badavilinga Temple. #30. The largest monolithic linga in Hampi. (updated Mar 2018) 15.32908776.4598 Lakshmi Narasimha temple. #31 (updated Mar 2018) 15.32049476.4709749 Zanana Enclosure. #46. Also houses the Lotus Mahal. ₹500 for foreigners with Vithala and the Archeologic Museum. (updated Mar 2018) 15.32118776.47278610 Elephant Stables. #55. Part of the Zanana Enclosures entrance fee of the Lotus Mahal. (updated Mar 2018) 15.317976.468911 Hazara Rama Temple. #59 (updated Mar 2018) 15.31557976.46990112 Royal Enclosures. #61 (updated Mar 2018) 15.3159776.4708213 Mahanavmi Dibba. #62 (updated Mar 2018) 15.31497976.47028814 Pushkarani step wells. #66 (updated Mar 2018) 15.31346876.47277615 Queen's Bath. #68 (updated Mar 2018) All these places are towards Hampi Bus Stand area and you don't need to cross river. You can buy a local map costing ₹15, and cover all the places on your own taking a bike/Scooty on rent. Otherwise, you can hire and auto to do local sightseeing. It would cost you around ₹400-₹500. Tungabhadra Dam, 16km from Hampi and its associated gardens are nice. It has got a nice dancing fountain too. Visiting the Tungabhadra Dam can be a nice filler instead of just waiting for the bus/train (typically at 10/11PM at night). Auto-rickshaw can take directly from Hampi to Tungabhadra dam at a cost of ₹200 (as of September 2009). Or another option is from the gate you can have the bus by paying ₹20/- per person for a half an hour visit to the dam. If you have plans to catch your train/bus back from Hospet, you could see Tungbhadra dam and return from Hospet. It takes 45 to 60 min to see Tungbhadra dam. You need to park your vehicles at the entrance and take a government bus to the top and return. It costs ₹20/- return. Dancing Girls' Bath on the ancient Courtesan Street There are several "Shivalings" along the river which the boatman will guide you to. The old capital called Anegundi, across the river from Hampi, also has many sites. You can also go to Anegundi from Virupapur Gadde by road. There is a road alongside old broken bridge (Bukka's Aqueduct). The Hanuman Temple on Anjenaya Hill (involves climbing up 572 steps, is believed to be the birthplace of Hanuman) and the Pampa Sarovar are worth a visit. Both of these places are around 7-8 km from Old broken bridge. There is Daroji bear sanctuary around 16 km from Hampi, opposite side of Kamalapura/Hospet. It opens between 1PM to 6PM. Not a must see but you can go there for a nice drive/ride if you have some time to kill. To do justice to all the sites, one needs a minimum of 3 full days of sightseeing. To discover all the ruins, it may take much more than 3 days. Maybe months. A new feature introduced by the tourist department of Karnataka called the Hampi By Night is magnificent where in the monuments are lit in bright varying colors in the night. For more information, contact the tourism department of Karnataka. Hampi specifically is a small settlement on the river (Hampi Bazaar, Virupaksha Temple, etc.). The old city of Vijayanagara encompassed an area of 25 square kilometers and ruins, monuments, structures, etc. lie scattered across the area. In fact, when arriving at Hampi from Hospet, one will pass many of these things. If one sets base at Hampi Bazaar, one can get a manageable, navigable orientation of the entire area, one can look at four main zones. Anegundi (north-east of Hampi Bazaar). Crossing the river to the north and heading east, one can reach Anegundi whose history goes back, according to local legends, to the Ramayana (the Hindu epic).  Hampi Bazaar (Hampi Bus Stand). This is the main village of Hampi as defined on the map and on the local administration files. It is essentially two clumps of settlements on either side of the Virupaksha Temple. Within walking distance is the river and the structures along the river bank, Virupaksha Temple, a still in use sacred area, at the western end of the Hampi Bazaar, the Hampi Bazaar itself which is one long "main street" (now in ruins) running east-west and the Hemakunta hill (with a number of structures on it and under it).  The Royal Enclosure (Old City Citadel) (4 km south of Hampi Bazaar). This, according to the official ASI literature, was the heart center of the city, the downtown so to speak. There is the Mahanavami Dibba, a large platform, almost three stories tall, which gives a brilliant view of the country side. This platform was used as a base for various religious functions involving the royal family with the general population standing down. Apart from this, there is a stepped well, an underground shrine, lots of smaller platforms (meant for assembly / public meetings), etc. There is the Hazaar Rama temple on one side and the Queen's bath (or "Rani Ki swimming pool" as the cleaning lady told me) on the other side. A little further away from the central area of the Royal Enclosure is the Pan Supari Bazaar (opposite the Hazaar Rama temple).  The Sacred Enclosure (Towards the Vithala Temple) (1.75 km east of Hampi Bazaar). At the eastern end of the Hampi Bazaar, there are two paths. One goes up the hill while the other goes left towards the river. Either path takes you through lines of temples, extant and in ruins. If one takes the hill path, on the right is the Matanga, Elephant hill. Going up straight, one will see the Achyutarama Temple. This can also be reached by following the stone path along the river bank. Next to the Achyutarama Temple is a long market area called Courtesan's Street. Apparently, it was a market for jewels, precious stones, etc. Walking further along the river, one passes various small structures, essentially different temples. One kilometer or so from the Courtesan's Street is the majestic Vithala Temple inside which is the iconic Stone Chariot. This trail can be done by a mix of walking and cycling. There are rocks (with steps cut into the rocks) to climb so at some point the cycles will have to be left behind. The Vithala Temple can be reached by road / car as well. It is a winding route and requires a detour to Kamalapur.  Apart from all this, between Hospet and Hampi, there are a number of small towns and villages like Kamalapur, Kadirampura, etc. which are various parts of the old Vijayanagara city and which have now become fragmented settlements and small towns. 15.357476.434816 Sanapur Lake. Exploring the hidden gems in the Gangavathi taluk, SanapurLake is a reservoir fed by Tungabhadra Dam canal. The best and unique thing about this place is experiencing the boat ride in a huge round, wooden bowl called Coracle.The Coracle gives a little adventurous feel, plus the one riding it is really humble people. For a short ride it's usually 100 and for a long ride, it's 150 per person.   (updated Feb 2018)


Things to do

Outdoor Activities Cross the river in a coracle ferry Watch elephant bathing A good amount of walking is a must, as the ruins are scattered over a huge area. Moped/bicycle hire is a good option to move around. Cross the river by one of those coracle ferry. If you do not know swimming, ensure that the coracle is not overcrowded. Your life is at stake. As of November 2009, the cost is ₹15 per person and ₹5 for each piece of luggage. The other side of the river (Anegondi) spots a number of pre Vijayanagara relics. If you go there in Jun-August, you will not find coracle ferry in action, the river is usually very high then, so if you want to go Anegondi you have to travel ~40 KM, I don't think you will like Anegondi after Hampi, actually there is nothing to see except the Hanuman temple on Anjana hill, but be prepare for a climb of about 600 steps. If you are staying at Virupapur Gadde side of the river, plan and return by 6'o clock. If you have a train/bus to catch in the night, checking out before 6'o clock in the evening helps. If the ferry closes, the auto/car option becomes a much longer and costlier affair. Rock climbers frequently visit Hampi to scale the boulders and can often be seen around with their crash pads, mostly on the Virupapura Gaddi side of the river. Wildlife - The occasional crocodile may be encountered in the river or on rocks midstream, sometimes several meters long. Leopards frequent some of the rocky hills, sometimes not too far from human habitation, and may venture out at night to prey on dogs or the odd goat. Sloth bears are not only confined to Daroji sanctuary, but may wander the sugar cane fields at night. They can be dangerous when encountered with cubs in tow. As many as 185 species of bird can be identified at various times of the year in the Hampi environs.