April 10, 2020
Hampi figures on the list of every traveller who wishes to see places of wonder
Hampi figures on the list of every traveller who wishes to see places of wonder. Historically and culturally iconic for India, the ruins of the city and its glorious temples are important places to visit in Hampi during your lifetime.
The route to Hampi is scenic and some parts of it go through a jungle. Driving to your destination is one of the most exciting things to do in Hampi. You can drive down to Hampi from Bengaluru or Goa, or even take the bus from both these places (there are overnight buses from Goa). There are many large wild animals in the forests, so travellers are warned not to make long stops on the road. You will see many signs warning against eating on the road, and urinating on the side – both are sure ways to have animals come to the spot. However, you can learn a lot about Hampi during the drive – why the town is in ruins today, what makes it so archaeologically and historically unique, what the ancient civilisations tell us today, how battles and natural elements laid the ancient city of Hampi to ruin, and so on.
Most people (mostly those who have not been to Hampi!) are quick to draw comparisons between Stonehenge in England and Hampi in India. But there is a major point of difference between the two – Stonehenge features boulders set over a small piece of land. In terms of Hampi, the entire town is the ruin and thus, the attraction. Put this in perspective before you begin you tour, and you will enjoy it so much more. As is usual with protected sites, littering, alcohol and substance abuse and urinating/defecating at the ruins is strictly prohibited and punishable by law.
There are several Hampi tourism guidebooks that offer a lot of information about Hampi. However, it is always better to approach a reputed tour operator and ask about getting a guide to take you around the ruins and explain the historical and cultural significance of the ruins you can see today. Do note that you will spend hours walking in the strong sunlight when you explore Hampi, so wear comfortable cotton clothing and good walking shoes before you set out. You can go with your guide in an autorickshaw as you hop from one temple to another, or walk through boulders and mazes of stonework, marvelling at the town planning and architectural principles on display. This is one of the best things to do in Hampi while learning more about it.
Before you set out, you might wonder if there are any interesting places to visit in Hampi apart from taking a look at the ruins. Dispel this notion: there is a lot to see and many things to do in Hampi, so enjoy the ride! Be sure to check out such important places as the Queen’s Baths, the Vijaya Vittala Temple chariot, the giant Hanuman statue at the centre of the city, and the Narasimha statue which is said to be carved out of one single block of stone. Near the Hanuman statue is the majestic Virupaksha Temple, which is said to stand at the exact geographical centre of Hampi.
The Lotus Temple complex has a small reservoir in the vicinity, where elephants and their babies are bathed and exercised every morning. Head to the spot to watch these majestic creatures frolic in the water and splash each other and their bathers. This is an early morning ritual, so be there at the spot by 8 am.
There are a few Hampi resort located on the rice fields. These offer great value for money, and also a spectacular view from each room. You can walk around the lush rice fields and wait till sunset to get the most glamorous views of the setting sun – be sure to take a lot of photographs!
One of the most fun things to do in Hampi is to hire a scooter or a bicycle, and explore the area at your leisure. Even at peak tourist season, the roads are relatively empty so you can move around slowly and take in the sights. Plus, it’s a great way to quickly finish exploring all of Hampi if you’re making a short trip. Bike rentals here are cheap, but you must have a valid license and a copy of your passport or Aadhaar card to surrender to the rental shop.
The Hippy Island is the fun part of Hampi, where people go just to relax, unwind and have a delicious seafood meal. You must take a taxi boat across to Anegundi, where the island has been created. There is the usual hippy fare – dreadlock making, henna tattoos, passing a bong around, drum circles, etc. But nobody will accost you or force you to participate if you don’t want to. Just take a stroll around, enjoy the food (this island has some of the best small restaurants in Hampi) and sip a beer.
There are spots in Hampi that encourage boating and swimming, but if you want a deep rush of adrenaline, you must try jumping into the water from a height. Stay clear of the major rivers because these are said to have crocodiles. But your Hampi tourism guide can advise you on which sites to jump from. There are signs attesting to diving spots as well. The water may look murky but it is not dangerous, and you can have a lot of fun swimming on a hot afternoon. It’s one of the best things to do in Hampi.
Hampi is largely safe to visit, even by solo women travellers or groups of students. Most visitors to the area report feeling quite safe in the city even when night falls. The local residents are a decent, non-interfering sort, so you will not be accosted anywhere or made to feel uncomfortable. However, stay within the bounds of reason when interacting with anybody here, and respect all the local customs and traditions. That way, you will not fall foul of the law or have any untoward incidents on your holiday.
Be especially careful when visiting the temples here. Take care to be dressed appropriately, covering your knees and shoulders when going to the temples. Short dresses, skimpy shorts and tank tops are frowned upon inside temples, though you may not be asked to leave outright. But do respect local sentiments in this case, even when visiting the ruins.
Be careful about still being at the ruins after dark. Though the crime rate in Hampi is quite low, the odd mischief monger might take it upon themselves to mug or rob unsuspecting tourists. Some antisocial elements also use the ruins to smoke or indulge in drugs – this is another good reason to stay away from the ruins after dark. In fact, you can ask your Hampi resort to book you a car for your use when you are out sightseeing. The car can take you back to the resort safely even when it gets dark after the day’s tours.
Other standard precautions to take is to not take drinks or food offered by somebody trying to get too close or prying for information, and not keeping too much cash in your pockets or backpack. Foreign visitors should take care to keep passport copies in their bag and avoid carrying their original passports in their wallets.
Also, make sure to take a taxi boat to cross the river to the Hippy Island, or you will have to take a circuitous route around and the drive takes over an hour. The taxi boat takes only about five minutes.
Hampi is somewhat in the middle of nowhere. Your best bet is to reach it from Bengaluru or Belgaum, which are both in Karnataka. Read on to know how to reach Hampi using different modes of travel:
* By Air: The nearest airport is at Belgaum, which is located about 270 km away. If your flight lands at Bengaluru, then you have to drive 300 km to reach Hampi. However, most flights from the Indian metros and bigger cities land at Bengaluru. So you should look for a connection to Belgaum airport.
* By Railway: Hampi’s nearest railway terminal is at Hospete located about 13 km away. It is well connected to different cities of the country, so once you alight here you can just take a bus or a cab to your Hampi resort. As of now, there are 10 daily trains arriving at Hospete and 5 Express trains plying thrice a week.
* By Road: Bangalore and other cities in Karnataka (such as Belgaum) are well-connected to Hampi. You can find a lot of KSRTC buses going to Hampi from within Karnataka. Look up updated Hampi tourism guides for the routes. You can also drive down to Hampi via Bengaluru.
Your Hampi itinerary is now more or less sorted out, and you have also figured out how to get there. Now you must book your resort in Hampi to ensure that you have a comfortable and safe stay.
We recommend staying at the Club Mahindra Vijayashree Resort and Heritage Village at Hampi. It is designed keeping Hampi’s ethos in mind, i.e. to stay true to ancient traditions. Accordingly, the resort is designed on the Ayurvedic ‘panch bhuta’ philosophy, which insists on simple and sattvic living. Accordingly, the resort offers pure vegetarian meals in one of the best restaurants in Hampi at its in-house location. You will be left particularly enchanted by how the theme of sattvic life is taken forward in the cosy rooms and warm hospitality. Besides, you can enjoy 20 acres of sprawling property offering peace, greenery and serenity outside the city chaos. If it’s a Hampi sojourn, trust Club Mahindra for a comfortable and memorable stay!
Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited (MHRIL), India’s leading player in the leisure hospitality industry, offers quality family holidays as also stated by Club Mahindra Membership Reviews, primarily through vacation ownership memberships. While Club Mahindra is the flagship brand offering Club Mahindra Membership, the other brands offered by the company are –Club Mahindra Resorts Fundays and Svaastha Spa. As on Mar 31, 2019, MHRIL has 61+ resorts across India and abroad and its subsidiary, Holiday Club Resorts Oy, Finland, a leading vacation ownership company in Europe has 33 resorts across Finland, Sweden and Spain. Visit us at www.clubmahindra.com
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.