April 09, 2020
Of the many wonderful and mysterious places that are found in India, Hampi surely ranks in the Top 5. The splendid old city of Hampi is seen today as a series of ruins harking back to the 14th century. Astonishingly, many of these ruins are in reasonably good condition so that archaeologists have been able to guess at not just their time period, but also roughly estimate which empires ruled over the city.
If you have not yet visited Hampi, then you must do so this year with your partner or with your entire family in tow. The following are our recommendations for the top places to visit in Hampi when you are out on a family holiday:
1 Shri Virupaksha Temple: Lord Virupaksha is considered to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva. This temple is a huge edifice that is visited by Shiva devotees from all over the country. It is reportedly one of the oldest temples in Indian history, but it is still fully functional and quite in use. The temple was said to be constructed in the 7th Century. The complex has old structures (probably houses or prayer rooms for priests), a large courtyard in the centre, large towers in the corners, and so on. There are guides on hand to explain the different parts of the temple and what goes on there, so don’t miss out on this important place to visit in Hampi.
2 Hemakuta Hill Temple Complex: Just like the Lord Virupaksha Temple, the Hemakuta Hill Temple Complex is another famous temple that is certainly worth including in your places to visit in Hampi. It is situated on top of the magnificent Hemakuta Hill, comprising many ruined walls, pathways that now lead to nowhere, and many temples of varying sizes. The temple complex is located just outside Hampi, and is known for the panoramic views of the adjoining areas. You will love the sunsets from here, as also a visit to the Mula Virupakshi Temple inside the complex.
3 108 Shiva Lingas: Hampi is known as a site dedicated to the service and worship of Lord Shiva. So it is only fitting that there is a collection of 108 Shiva lingas carved on the flat rocky surfaces among the ruins. Along the riverside, there is a large rock carving of Lord Vishnu seen reclining. The carvings are in great condition, and provide excellent backdrops for your photographs.
4 Lotus Temple: There is a famous Zenana Complex in Hampi, which is listed in all the Hampi tourism guidebooks. However, even more famous is the Lotus Temple, whose design and architectural style is unlike any of the other monuments seen in Hampi. It has a lotus-shaped dome – hence the name – and it was probably used by the royal ladies of the court. There is a smaller complex inside, which was most certainly designed for use by women, with its tiny windows and shaded balconies. This is an important place to visit in Hampi and not to be missed for the world.
5 Daroji Bear Sanctuary: Hampi also has a wonderful sanctuary, the Daroji Bear Sanctuary. You can see a lot of Indian wildlife here, from deer to leopards, and from sloth bears to hyenas. This sanctuary is probably the only one to have sloth bears in all of India. Arm yourself with a bottle of water – it is a long walk inside the sanctuary – and a pair of strong walking shoes before you set out. The best time to visit Hampi’s prized sanctuary is the winter season, when many migratory birds can also be spotted here.
6 Hippy Island: If you are going to this town, then you must make sure to see all the places to visit in Hampi which are famous, and not necessarily historically connected. One such is the Hippy Island, or should we say Happy Island? Located on the Northern banks of the Tungabhadra River, this island is a delight for solo backpackers and couples who love to interact with other free spirited people. The island’s original name is Virupapur Gadde, but hardly anybody calls it that any more. Apart from being really pretty, it also has many beachside shacks serving tasty seafood and alcoholic drinks.
7 Queen’s Bath: As the name suggests, this was a secluded bathing area for the king and his wives. It most probably housed a large pool that was cut off from the rest of the palace, and provided isolation to the ruler and his consorts. The design of the pool is intricate and has a (partially ruined) domed roof. There are balconies outside seating platforms, with small windows to look out from. The pool is set in a rectangle in the centre of the structure, with an opening in the dome so that the sky could be seen while bathing. An interesting aside here is that you can buy some stone carvings made by local artisans just outside this site, which make for great curios and mementos to take back home.
8 Tungabhadra Gardens and Dam: Located at Hospet, the Tungabhadra Dam supplies drinking water to Hampi, irrigation water for the area’s farmlands and also assists in controlling flooding during the monsoon season. The dam is built across one end of the famous Tungabhadra River, and has lush gardens on either side. Do include this spot as a place to visit in Hampi during your holiday.
9 Archaeological Museum: How is it possible that Hampi would not have a museum to its name? In fact, it has a wonderful one – do visit the Archaeological Museum here in Kamlapur. It is one of the most important places to visit in Hampi, and well worth your time. It is located just a few kilometres outside Hampi city, and has ancient artefacts, paintings and carvings to view. You will especially love their collection of old coins and armoury that was used in various wars.
10 Hampi Bazaar: Last but not the least, make a trip to Hampi Bazaar. It is located right outside the Virupaksha Temple, so it is easy to find and one of the most accessible places to visit in Hampi as well. You will love browsing through the market and buying trinkets and souvenirs to take back home for family and friends. Check out various collections of antique coins, locally made cloth bags and woollen shawls here.
For all intents and purposes, it would appear that the best time to visit Hampi is any time of the year. And why not? You don’t really need good weather to visit these sites of ruins. But think again – sometimes, choosing the right season is a far more prudent choice.
The summer season is unbearably hot during the months of April to May every year in Hampi, with the beginning of the hot season starting in the month of March. Though you might argue that the heat can be dealt with, it does get quite oppressive for the young, old people and even pregnant women. If you must visit during this season, make sure that you are carrying plenty of water, sunscreen lotion and moisturiser. Also carry a large hat and long sleeved clothing before you visit Hampi in the summer. Try not to step out at noon, but do not schedule late evening visits to the ruins either.
The monsoon season provides a big respite from the summer heat. Strangely enough, visiting this spot in the monsoon has become a popular thing to do in Hampi. However, walking over the ruins and the rounded boulders is risky during this time. The stone boulders become slick and slippery with moss, and these are known to cause many accidents if people walk over them. and may cause accidents. You are safe if you stick to walking on the ground, however the mud becomes sticky with the rain. On the upside, the monsoon brings a fresh dose of greenery to the area. Also, since not many people prefer to come here during this time, you can easily find Hampi resorts and flight tickets for the season. If these factors are important to you and you don’t mind braving the heavy showers, then this is the best time to visit Hampi.
However, the tourist season is in the winter season – the months of October to February are the right time to plan your Hampi holiday, since the weather is pleasant. The sky is a clear blue without a hint of mist or fog, and you will enjoy your time in this city with your family. But be sure to bundle up warmly for the nights, because it might get chilly at midnight!
Your Hampi itinerary is now more or less sorted out, and all that remains is to book your Now that you have got an idea of the best time to visit Hampi and what to see there, it is time to book your Hampi resort. Picking a resort will enrich your holiday, instead of a cheaper homestay or home rental where you are expected to provide for yourself.
We recommend staying at the Club Mahindra Vijayashree Resort and Heritage Village at Hampi. True to the purity and spirit of Hampi, the resort is designed along the ancient Ayurvedic ‘panch bhuta’ philosophy, which insists on simple and sattvic living. Accordingly, the resort offers pure vegetarian meals and does not serve alcohol. You are also not allowed to smoke on the premises. The theme of sattvic life is taken forward in the cosy rooms and warm hospitality. You will love the 20 acres of sprawling property offering peace, greenery and serenity outside the city chaos.
Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd. (MHRIL), a part of Leisure and Hospitality sector of the Mahindra Group, offers quality family holidays primarily through vacation ownership memberships and brings to the industry values such as reliability, trust and customer satisfaction. Started in 1996, the company's flagship brand ‘Club Mahindra’, today has over 250,000 members , who can holiday at 100+ resorts in India and abroad.