Where do I even begin?
Let’s just say, when there are difficult times and I refuse to deal with my messy self, few places will call me back.
So, Hampi is my treasured escape. Surprisingly it is also the most asked about place every time I check my inbox. Here I am, finally writing a collective of my personal routine for a place I’ve constantly been calling HOME.
HOW DO I REACH HAMPI?
“Hampi Express” is the ultimate choice and the most preferred mode when I’m travelling from Bangalore/Mysore.
It reaches Hospet at 7:00 a.m.
From Hospet railway station, I usually hop into a local bus that takes me to Hampi. They are frequent and the journey takes 20-30 minutes. You can always hire an auto rickshaw if you are in a hurry.
The next best option has to be the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (K.S.R.T.C) buses if you’re travelling to Hospet/Hampi from places in and around Karnataka.
I usually take an overnight bus and book my ticket online from their website which is hassle free and convenient.
WHERE DO I STAY IN HAMPI?
I’ve always booked my stay across the river on the Hampi Island (Virupapur Gaddi) a.k.a the ‘Hippie Island’.
Most guest houses in Hampi are rather basic with no fixed tariffs. Few guest houses I’ve stayed in are
-Shanthi Guest House
-Mowgli Guest House
-Hema Guest House
Tip 1: Last time I was there, I heard of guest houses being shut down and the ones that are still operating refused to accept bookings made on other websites. I suggest you call the guest houses and ask for a booking. If you’re the impulsive kind then you can always go around the place and ask for a room at any of the home stays or guest houses.
WHAT DO I DO IN HAMPI?
Once I reach Hampi, it’s almost around 8:00am. From the bus stop, I walk straight towards the Virupaksha Temple and take a right to reach the river front (ghat). That’s where I’ll be taking a ferry to reach the other side.
Tip 2: The ferry service usually starts at 9:00 am and the boatmen charge double/triple/ whatsoever they like if you want to do it before the scheduled time. I suggest you to wait till then. You can also take a coracle boat to cross the river.
Meanwhile, it’s time for Lakshmi’s (Virupaksha temple’s elephant) sacred bath in the river. I am always hungry at this point so I grab a humble serving of idly and a cup of chai, waiting for Lakshmi to arrive.
As I grab a good spot at the Ghat, I watch Lakshmi making her way towards the bottom of the ghats. It’s so much fun watching her flipping ears, turning sides, getting pampered to the heart’s content and having her time in the water for a good half hour. Soon after the ferry services start, I reach Hampi island and get a quick check in (most of the time) at the guest house.
Hampi can be easily explored in 2 days and because I mostly travel in weekends, I have enough time to cover both the sides of the river (one side each day).
Tip 3: I usually hire a moped/scooter at Rs. 250-300 to get around the place for the first day because it can get really tiring if you decide to walk or cycle a long way around the curvy roads in the dry southern heat. You can also hire an auto for a day to get you around the far away located sightseeing spots for a hassle free experience. Make sure you try your luck at bargaining.
I reserve my first day just for the Hampi island side to explore that includes Anegundi Village, Hanuman temple and the best of all, Sanapur lake. I absolutely love Sanapur lake. Amidst nothingness, with just the water and boulders for company. It’s a kind of place where poems are written, stories are made, paintings are drawn and conversations happen. DO NOT MISS IT.
Tip 4: Make sure you come back to the guest house before it gets dark because there are no street lights and you have a fair chance of getting zero network in your phone.
Most of the guest houses have restaurants styled in similar hippie pattern. You can always go for restaurant hopping in the evening. Alcohol is banned in Hampi, although few restaurants might serve beer at night.
Tip 5: I absolutely love spending time at “Laughing Buddha” because of its amazing vibes and views. Also, their pizza is yum!
For Day 2, I won’t get deep into details about all the sightseeing you need to cover. You can just get a map and do it at your own pace. It’s easy peasy.
Tip 6: Sunrise at Matanga hill and sunset near Virupaksha temple are precious. Go for it, okay?
Now I’ll take you for a photo tour so you know what this place has to offer. Here you go!
Tip 7: On the final day , you can check out from the guest house, reach the other side of the river and keep your luggage at the very popular “Mango Tree restaurant”. You can roam around and come back by evening to collect the same. It’s safe and the food here is gooood.
People in Hampi are very amiable and speak fluent English (in a questionable western accent ). And the kids are amazing to converse with. I have had such crazy experiences with the local tiny tots there. You can read about it here. Every time I go back to Hampi, I secretly wish to meet the kids somewhere along. Just like this time I managed to run into Viru and Puttu again. So much joy!
Tip 8: When in Hampi, expect a fare amount of sunrays. Carry your sunscreen, sunglasses, cap and all such essentials you need along with comfortable light clothes.
I know so many of you who are eager to travel solo and just don’t know where to get started. Well, where every stone has a story to tell, Hampi is your haven. I started my journey with this place and have never looked back again.
And with fingers crossed and wishful thoughts, I hope this helps you to take your leap of faith.