Things to do in Hampi: Exploring the Site of Archaeological Ruins

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Top things to do in Hampi

Hampi is a popular UNESCO World Heritage and is popular for its world class monuments and archaeological ruins. There are innumerous activities and things to do in Hampi including riding a coracle, rock climbing and cliff jumping etc. From visiting the umpteen historical monuments, ruins of palaces and museums, there is no dearth of things to do in Hampi. Overshadowed by hills and valleys, the place also has a Hippie Island predominated by foreign tourists which is also popular for ravishing parties and late night shenanigans. Given below is a long list of activities and exciting things to do in Hampi. Have a look!

Here is the list of 25 Things to do in Hampi: Exploring the Site of Archaeological Ruins

1. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Virupaksha Temple

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The Virupaksha temple (or Prasanna Virupaksha temple) is located on the banks of the Tungabhadra river at Hampi, Karnataka. Built during the 7th century, the beautiful architecture and history of the temple contributed to it being recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The temple is abode to one of the forms of Lord Shiva called Lord Virupaksha. You will find beautiful stone inscriptions dating back to the 7th century on the walls of the temple as proof of its rich heritage. Architecture-lovers and history-buffs, be sure to add this activity in your list of top things to do in Hampi!

2. Marvel at the Architecture of Vithala Temple

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The most impressive structure in Hampi, the Vithala Temple dates back to the 16th century and is a truly splendid example of rich architecture. The famous stone chariot, which has become an iconic symbol of the architecture of Hampi, is located inside the premises of this temple. The temple complex is spread over a huge area. The main gate has an impressive arch with carvings, and opens in a large courtyard which has the famous stone chariot in the center. Visiting the beautiful temple is one of the best things to do in Hampi.

3. Go All Out at Hippie Island

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Virapapur Gadde or Hippie Island is a small island situated across the Tungabhadra river. It takes 5 minutes to travel to the island via coracle or boat. The last boat for the island leaves at 5.30 pm. The backpacker's delight, Hippie Island (Virupapur Gadde) is an epitome of scenic beauty and is known for laidback ambient and lodges. It has shacks and cafes which operate from October end to mid-March. They serve awesome food along with chilled beer, and most of these have a great view of either the river or the beautiful rice fields. The island is a pure delight and you should definitely include visiting here in your top things to do in Hampi.

4. Witness a Mesmerizing Sunrise at Matanga Hill

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This hill is described as the location of the hermiatge of the Saint Matanga during the Ramayana, hence is appropriately named. This is an ideal spot for those looking for some trekking excitement, as it is the highest peak in Hampi. However, the most popular activity here is watching the beautiful sunrise or sunset views, which is also one of the most beautiful experiences and one of the best things to do in Hampi.

5. Enjoy a Coracle Ride

When in Hampi, you absolutely have to get hold of a coracle and ride in one. It is one of the few places in the country where you can get such an experience and we gurantee that it is going to be a lot of fun. You can rent a coracle at really economic rates and cross the rates in the ferry that looks exactly like the one in olden days. This is one of the most exciting experiences and things to do in Hampi.

6. Experience the Thrills of Rock Climbing

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Hampi is always full of rock climbers who are climbing up the boulders with their crash pads around. The landscape is ideal for rock climbing and bouldering since there are granite craigs and boulders all around. Bolting is limited, so carry a crash pad along.

7. Try Your Hand at Cliff Jumping

Apart from wandering at the several ruins, Cliff Diving is one of the prime activities and things to do in Hampi. Especially popular among adventure buffs, the activity is enough to give you a divine adrenaline rush. However, there are signs to stay clear of crocodiles and specific points where you will be safe from them.

8. Shop for Local Souvenirs at Hampi Bazaar

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This bazaar is facing the Virupaksha temple and hence is also known as the Virupaksha Bazaar. Various artifacts are available here including antique coins, shawls, bags etc. Most tourists purchase souvenirs here. Wildly popular in the olden days, today the bazaar stands as a testimony to the rich history of Hampi. People also visit here for morning walks. Walking down the bazaar is one of the popular things to do in Hampi.

9. Offer Prayers at the Monkey Temple

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On top of the Anjaneya Hill, at a distance of 2 kilometres from the Virupaksha Temple, the beautiful Yantradharaka Hanuman Temple also known as the Monkey Temple is present inside a cave. The temple being 500 years old is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Being one of the most famous attractions of the Anjeyanadri Hill, the Monkey Temple is considered as a sacred spot for all the Hindus and visiting here is one of the top things to do in Hampi, even among the tourists.

10. Explore the Magnificent Elephant Stables

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The Elephant Stables served as an enclosure for royal elephants back in the day of the Vijayanagra Empire. Built in the Indo-Islamic architectural style, eleven domed chambers are seen here with a particularly decorated one which served as an enclosure for the musicians during any performances. Exploring these magnificent stables is one of the topmost things to do in Hampi.

11. Admire the Rich Ruins of Queen's Bath

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A part of the Royal Enclosure, this aquatic enclosure was the Royal bath during the times of the Vijayanagra Empire. It was built in such a way that no outsiders could enter the bath, and has lost much to ruins at the date. However, it still stands in all its glory and making a visit here is one of the topmost things to do in Hampi.

12. Spot the Bears at Daroji Bear Sanctuary

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Established in 1994, this sanctuary was converted from a thorny forest to a lush green area which is now inhabited by Sloth Bears. Approximately 120 sloth bears accompanied by various other wildlife species like jackals, leopards and wild boars are found here. You can spot the exotic wildlife and have a wonderful view from the watch tower that is situated inside the premises of the sanctuary itself. Make sure to absolutely include this activity in your bucket list of things to do in Hampi.

13. Browse the City Markets

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Market browsing is one of the top things to do in Hampi. The stone carvings by local artists are a good piece of memorabilia to take back from Hampi. Apart from the local souvenir, idols of gods and goddesses, and other knick knacks. You can also shop for Lambani Crafts, leather crafts, musical instruments, banana fibre relics and the like.

14. Visit the Magnificent Kadalekalu Ganesh Temple

Kadalekalu Ganesh is an important religious attraction in Hampi. The temple has traditional stone architecture and is located on Hemakuta Hill and has a huge 15 feet monolithic statue of Lord Ganesha which is a believed to be one of the largest in the world. The reason why the attraction is called Kadalekalu is because the belly of the deity is chiselled to look like Kadalekalu (Bengal gram). This is one of the top tourist attractions and making a visit here is one of the topmost things to do in Hampi.

15. Seek Blessings at Lakshmi Narasimha Temple

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This temple features the biggest effigy in Hampi, of Narasimha sitting on SeshaNaag i.e. the seven headed snake acting as a shelter to him. The idol of Goddess Lakshmi is placed along with that of Narasimha. Considered one of the most important excavations in Hampi, making a visit here is also one of the best things to do in Hampi. It is a major tourist attraction and is visited by pilgrims and travellers alike.

16. Explore the Riverside Ruins

Riverside Ruins have a splendid cluster of Shivalings carved on flat rocky surface, in addition to several shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu and other Hindu deities, some of which are partially submerged. These Ruins are in a row of 108 lingas and a sqaurish 1008 lingas and can be spotted all across the gorge. The excitement of identifying the idols is an experience to remember.

17. Rent a Bike and Ride Across Town

Riding a bike across town is a whole new way to experience the local life, green fields and local culture. This is one of the most popular activities and things to do in Hampi, among the tourists. Other than being a fun activity, it allows you to explore the town on your own. You can relax by the meadows or try delicious food at the local markets. Be sure to capture all these memorable moments in your camera.

18. Explore the Magnificent Zenana Enclosure

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The Zenana Enclosure was primarily the Women's Quarters. A part of the Royal Enclosure, this was a place especially for the Royal women i.e. the Queen and her friends and companions. This palace is the biggest excavation that has been done in Hampi. The south east corner has the Lotus Mahal.

19. Explore the Hemakuta Hill Temple Complex

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The Hemakunta Hill houses a temple complex, many of them dedicated to Lord Shiva. These are all protected by a fort, providing a secluded atmosphere. One of the top tourist attractions of the city, the temple complex is also one of the most important excavations of Hampi. Visiting here is one of the prime things to do in Hampi.

20. Witness the Old World Charm of Old Palace

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The Old Palace, surrounded by a fort, and is in ruins as of today. It is located in Anegondi, for which kingdom this palace served as the center. Also known as Gagan Mahal, the palace now serves as the administrations' building. However, it still maintains the old-world charm, and some parts boast of incredible beauty.

21. Visit the Stone Paltform- Mahanavami Dibba

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Mahanavami Dibba is one of the most incredible structures and one of the top touristy things to do in Hampi. This structure served as a focal point from where the Vijayanagara kings ruled their Kingdom. Various aspects of courtly life are depicted on this huge structure, including a gem studded throne. Although mostly in ruins, the platform still has damaged carvings on the side of the walls.

22. Visit the Extravagant Achyutraya Temple

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This temple is also known as the Tiruvengalanatha Temple, after the main deity, a form of Lord Shiva. It has modern architecture in comparison to the other temples of Hampi. Many carvings here depict mythological legends, seen on pillars, walls and monolith blocks.

23. Appreciate the Beauty of Hazara Rama Temple

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Hazara Rama Temple, a mesmerizing temple dedicated to Lord Rama, is located in Hampi Village in the south-western Indian state of Karnataka. The breathtaking view of the temple and its intricate carvings attract tourists from all over the world. From a distance, one will notice the beige granite temple under the clear blue skies. As you stroll leisurely through the magnificent temple complex, do make it a point to observe the extensive sculpted narrations of the Ramayana on its inner walls. One can notice the various avatars sculpted all over the temple and in numerous inscriptions.

24. Admire the Relics at the Archaeological Museum

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The Archaeological Museum in Hampi preserves the relics of the Vijayanagar Empire and offers wonderful insights in the ancient culture. The museum houses a number of artifacts, remains, and other exhibits found during excavation. Especially popular among the history buffs, visiting the museum is among the top things to do in Hampi.

25. Visit the King's Balance

King's Balance is an ancient 15th century attraction which was used to weigh the king with the royal Jewels every year on special occasions. The jewels were then donated to the temple priests. The structure has intricately carved pillars. It is made of granite and the pillars support a stone beam that has hoops which were used to suspend the balance.

This post was published by Aqsa Aleem

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