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Hampi

4.6 /5 209 votes
92 Hotels found
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Weather:

Best Time: Oct-Mar Read More

Ideal duration: 2-4 days

Nearest Airport: Bangalore Check Flights

Upcoming: Hampi Utsav Read More

"The abode of bygone ruins, rusty colors and fascinating landscape"

Hampi Tourism

Hampi, the city of ruins, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated in the shadowed depth of hills and valleys in the state of Karnataka, this place is a historical delight for travellers. Surrounded by 500 ancient monuments, beautiful temples, bustling street markets, bastions, treasury building and captivating remains of Vijayanagar Empire, Hampi is a backpacker's delight. Hampi is an open museum with 100+ locations to explore and a favourite way to see the city from the perspective of its history.

Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagar empire around 1500 AD, and by some accounts, the second largest city in the world at that time. Over the next centuries it fell out of importance, and now you can explore the ruins of a lot of temples and other structures spread out over a vast area. The terrain around Hampi is as mysterious as the ruins itself - the city is surrounded by boulders of different sizes, and you can climb to the top of them with a little effort to get a stunning view of the entire city and the geography. It is located on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. Famous for its massive, beautifully carved temples, especially the Virupaksha Temple, dedicated to the patron deity of the empire. You can also find remains of the old aqueducts, canals and military barracks and stables here. Hampi was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986 and many efforts have been taken to restore the lost glory of the place - very limited (if any) modern establishments are allowed in the main area, which gives an authentic feel to the ruins.

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The Enchanting Ruins

Covering an area of 30 square kms, Hampi has a large number of monuments which are preserved in excellent condition. The Virupaksha and Vitthala temples are the most famous and do-not-miss monuments, but take a walk (or cycle) through the city for hours, and you'll be happy to see a lot of less popular temples/palaces and other buildings which are equally as fascinating. Most of the ruins are located in the northern part of the city, just south of Tungabhadra river, and the rest of them are scattered all across the city.

History of Hampi

The first settlements in Hampi date back to 1 CE. The Emperor Ashoka’s Rock Edicts indicate that the region was once under Mauryan influence. A terracotta sealing and a Brahmi inscription have been recovered from the excavation site. Both belong to the 2nd century CE. The historically and architecturally dominated site has also been besieged by the Deccan Muslim Sultanate. The Vijayanagara Empire had a heavy flow of trade with Hampi being the main centre. Due to this many Hindu and Muslim rulers were attracted towards the small town. Different rules and different empires have resulted in the vibrant culture of people of Hampi. The ancient town has its fame for its archaeological importance. The ruins, concert halls, bazaars, and boulders speak of the greatness of  Vijayanagara Empire.

Here is a deep dive into the History of Hampi

Culture and Religion

Pilgrims delight and backpackers holidaying spot is rich in culture which remains unaffected by westernization in the modern day. The culture has been restored and preserved by UNESCO as the small town has been declared as the world heritage site. The culture is a clear reflection of people's beliefs and lifestyle. Theatrics, music, and dance are all the integrated parts of Hampi's culture. The town has preserved concert halls where the traditional music gatherings have left their imprints. The culture of Hampi, rich and vibrant is tied to its roots. The architecture in Hampi speaks of the traits of both Hindu and Muslim architecture. Temples like Krishna Temple, Hazara Rama Temple, and Pattabhirama temple are flanked with Hindu, Muslim and Jain architecture. Religion: Hinduism in Hampi richly followed within 2 sets, first being the Saivites and the second being the Vaishnavites. The former group worships Lord Shiva, the destroyer and the latter group worships Lord Vishnu, the preserver. The minds of people are even enriched with the teachings of Jainism. The remaining lot shows faith in Islam as Hampi once was even ruled by Muslim emperors.

Language

Kannada is the official language of Hampi. The locals understand Hindi and a few common English words. Communication should not be a big problem as there are foreigners who have settled in Hampi after falling in love with the place. Basic knowledge of Hindi words will help you to make others understand your needs.

Shopping

Hampi Bazaar or Virupaksha Bazaar Hampi Bazaar is in front of the Virupaksha Temple. The bazaar during the ancient times was a thriving marketplace. The old pavilions on either side of the market still exist. It was once the centre for flourished trade. Even though the market now has lost its lustre it is famous among the tourists visiting the town. Today, it stands as an image of glorious past and encroaches with small shops and restaurants. In the bygone era, precious items such as jewellery, precious stones, and silk clothes. Today, Hampi Bazaar offers the tourists with artefacts, handicrafts, embroidered shawls, stone figurines, traditional costumes, antique coins and colourful bags. One can enjoy lovely morning strolls before the hustle bustle of the evening market. One should buy stuff with Lambani prints as it is the speciality of the place.

The Bazaar turns into a vivacious place during Hampi Utsav. It is a centre of all festive happenings. There is a huge inflow of tourists during the season of festivities.

The flea market in Hampi is a great opportunity for the travellers to grab junk jewellery, cotton clothes, and leather books.

Smoking and Drinking Policy

Hampi is a town known for its religious beliefs. Therefore, boozing and smoking are completely prohibited in the temple town. The town is dry and you cannot afford to drink during your stay as it would affect the religious beliefs of the natives. In case you want to then you have to travel to Hippie Island via boat which is 5 minutes away across the river. Sipping a bottle of beer with non-vegetarian food by your side is possible here.

Restaurants and Local Food in Hampi

Amid the ruins of the Vijayanagara Kingdom in lies a huge variety of South Indian cuisine. The rise in inbound travelling has lead to the opening of restaurants serving a flattering variety of cuisines from all over the world. But being a town of temples, one bank of Tungabhadra River accommodates the temples due to which nonvegetarian food is completely prohibited on that side.

The restaurants offer cakes, cookies, pita bread and, hummus. Therefore, just in case you find a need to linger your taste buds on some continental dishes you can choose to visit these restaurants. Do not forget to give clear instructions, if any, about the food being ordered to the person in service.

If you are a fan of pasta you should try homemade pasta by a small home run restaurant, Suresh. The pasta is known for its unique flat, thick and long shape. With Indian spices, the pasta reaches further heights in its taste.

Some popular restaurants 
Try some vegetarian thalis at Mango Tree and Suresh.

Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants- Mango Tree, Laughing Buddha, Funky Monkey Restaurant, The Goan Corner, The Bridge, Tibetan Kitchen

Asian and Israeli- Chill Out In Bamboo Restaurant, Hampi Roof Restaurant, Funky Monkey Restaurant, Tibetan Kitchen, Nargila Guesthouse Restaurant

All of the restaurants are concentrated in the small markets on both sides of the Tungabhadra river - although the northern side definitely has a lot more variety and better cafes. You will find a lot of restaurants serving Italian (pasta/lasagna/pizzas) and Israeli (lafa/shakshouka) food, along with the usual Indian food.

Most of the cafes here are very laid back, so expect leisurely service and a chill ambience with pleasant music and some scenic views. If you would like to get a good view, crossing the river to the north side is definitely worth the effort - there are some cafes with a view of either the river or the rice fields.



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Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Reach Hampi by mid-day. Visit the Virupaksha Temple and spend some time near the Tungabhadra river in the evening. If you are staying on the island, then take a ferry and go to that side and spend rest of your evening there. You can also visit the local handicrafts stores and spend some time in cafes.
Day 2: Rent a cycle or a moped and start on a city tour by yourself. Take a local city map and visit all the points by yourself at your own pace. If you have another day in hand, then you can spend more time at each of the heritage sites.

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

Well preserved and maintained heritage/tourist spots. Very beautiful and serene atmosphere. Riverside. Good food and a bit of hippie culture. You can walk or cycle around the town.

What's Not So Great?

Limited options of staying within the town. No direct channel of transport from major cities. Public transport is available only till Hospet. Going to the island via river could be difficult in rainy seasons when the water level is high.

For Whom?

People interested in history and ancient architecture, backpackers. Ideal for school/college excursions.

How To Reach Hampi

The nearest airport at Hubli(143km) is not preferred by most visitors.

Roadways are the most convenient to reach Hampi - the nearby town of Hospet has great road connectivity from Bangalore and Mumbai/Pune/Kolhapur. A lot of very comfortable AC sleeper buses ply from Mumbai/Bangalore to Hospet and will usually drop you in Hospet early morning.

It is actually quite easy to reach from Hospet to Hampi - there are state buses running from Hospet bus station to Hampi every 20-30 minutes (12 rs per person, Dec 2016). The last bus runs around 8 PM - be sure to confirm this time depending on the season from the bus stand. Otherwise, you can take a direct auto as well (200-300 per ride, Dec 2016) for Hampi from Hospet - they are easily available from the railway station/bus stand.

The distance between Bengaluru Airport and Hampi is 374km. It will take approx 7 hours for you to reach Hampi by road. You can take an overnight Volvo or can book a private cab on your exit from the airport. Ideally, you can rest in Bengaluru for some time before proceeding to your final destination of Hampi.

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Hampi Reviews

Your rating
Anjali Vij 4 months ago
Hampi is an architectural marvel that has been built entirely from stones. It is also relevant to the Ramayana which I wasn't aware of until the guide informed us. Also, the city itself doesn't have much to offer apart from old ruins and structure. It is also advisable to not visit the city in summers because its really hot and traveling around the city is the biggest hassle. The architecture is definitely interesting, especially the carvings. Overall, it could have been a better experience if I had visited in some other month.
Muhammed Salih 4 months ago
A city full of beautiful intricate architecture that is a must-visit for travelers and architecture enthusiasts alike. Some of the architectural wonders that you should visit include temples like the Vitthala Temple, Virupaksha Temple which is a UNESCO heritage site and the Krishna Temple. The ticket costs around 40 rupees and can be used for entry into every other temple which is a very reasonable amount to pay.
Surbhi Parashar 11 months ago
The budget of the city is quite less. You get non-luxurious accommodations like small huts or a rooftop room with a family living beneath at a price range of INR 300 - 800 whereas the luxurious guesthouses start giving room at INR 1200 only. Your meals for a day will sum up to INR 200-300 per person. Also, the bicycle rent is INR 30 per day whereas moped will cost you INR 60 per day. A 3 days trip might cost you INR 3000 per person which is utterly reasonable.
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