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Hampi - A dream exploration


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We usually reserve last week of year for travel exploration.


To Visit Hampi in Karnataka was in my travel bucket list for a long time. So decided to explore Hampi during last week of Dec 2022.


This blog will mainly focus on does, don’ts, road conditions and effective planning.


Hampi is one of the most scenic ancient UNESCO Heritage Sites in India. Situated in Karnataka by the banks of Tungabhadra River, Hampi houses numerous ruins dating back to the Vijayanagar empire dating back to 1500 CE.


In this post I will sketch a rough trail for you to explore Hampi. This guide is designed keeping in mind the standard 2 to 3-day Hampi itinerary. However, if you have only 2 days in Hampi, just skip crossing the other side of the river or visiting Daroji bear sanctuary where sloth bears live.


Below are few details to note


Car used: Baleno Zeta CVT


Total KM travelled: 1000, so petrol cost was around Rs. 6000


Toll tax: around Rs. 800


Food cost: around 2000 as we explored road side famous eateries.


Photos & Videos taken with: Smartphone One Plus 9, Canon DSLR 1300d (18-55 mm & 55-250 mm lens), Insta360 One RS.


Accommodation cost: Nil as we stayed with our relative.


There are 2 routes to reach Hampi from Hyderabad. One via Raichur and other via Kurnool. There were different thoughts provided by my travel friends on these routes. But I selected Raichur route (this is also suggested by my nephew Sagar).


Road conditions


Hyderabad – Mahbubnagar – Raichur:  good 2 lane roads. Be careful about traffic.


Raichur – Sindhanur – Gangavathi – Hospet: 2 lane roads with few bad patches.




We started from my home around 6 am. I was given advice that after Mahbubnagar there will not be any good hotels. Hence, we took breakfast at Mahbubnagar to a roadside stall. Taste was good. Then we took lunch break to an Udupi hotel in Sindhanur. We reached to our relative’s house in hospet by around 4 PM. Usually this journey can be possible in 8 hours. 2 extra hours consumed by my kid and photography. We decided to take rest as we were exhausted.






Somewhere on the way to Raichur 



Partner enjoying drive


I would like to give special thanks to my nephew Sagar. He belongs to hospet and knows area very well. He accompanies us for 2 days and helped us exploring Hampi in planned manner. As he was with us, we explored Hampi with him and in my car. We have not hired any guide and local transport.



With Sagar


Hampi ruins divided into Clusters!


Before you begin to explore Hampi, get your hands on an illustrated map of Hampi. There are 3 clusters of ruins in Hampi.


1. Urban ruins cluster (King’s palace, queen’s palaces, Queen bath etc)


2. Sacred clusters (Multiple temple complexes) 


3. Riverside ruins (more temples now steeped deep inside the riverbed of Tungabhadra) 


Apart from this, Hampi is divided by Tungabhadra River. the other bank of Tungabhadra is also known as Anegundi or Hampi island.

Please note, to explore all the ruins of Hampi and “See it all”, you need to allow at least 2 to 3 hours at each ruin cluster. The more the merrier. You should ideally be looking at the temple, wall inscriptions, the remnants of ruins. Sometimes, there are temples underground!


Apart from the Hampi ruins some of the best things to do in Hampi are:


- Watch ethereal sunsets of Hampi. The Sunset scenes in Hampi are often held as the best sunsets in Asia. We witnessed sunset at Tungabhadra Dam.


- Explore nature in the nearby villages of Hampi. Paddy fields, sunflower fields, lakes, all essential constituents of an idyllic peaceful life. 


- Visit the Daroji bear sanctuary to see the sloth bears who once used to thrive in the caves and ruins of Hampi. Kids will enjoy it.


- Indulge in rock climbing session (only applicable for the dry months). There are many monolith boulders in Hampi, remnant of a very old hill range. Rock climbing gears are available in Hampi for renting as well.


- Photography: If you love taking pictures, Hampi will win your heart. people are eager to pose. Nature is beautiful. And the ancient temples are mind-boggling! Keep your camera handy and climb up a hill by the end of the day for those great sunset shots. Sunset usually happens in Hampi at around 6:30 pm.


- Birding in Hampi (more than 150 species of birds are recorded here)


- Drive to Tungabhadra dam, especially if you are traveling to Hampi during monsoon


You need to plan your sightseeing in Hampi well if you want to have your fill of everything or I would rather say almost everything as a single visit will fail to leave you satiated.

As such you need to set aside a minimum of three days if you want to cover almost all the travel spots.  There are several options to carry on your sightseeing. If you are a practiced walker then you can cover the area on foot. Go equipped with water, a hat, apply some sunscreen and explore to your heart’s content.


You can also hire a bicycle or a moped for the day. You will need to offer something as a security to the owner. The third option is to hire an auto-rickshaw for the entire day or on a personal basis. Tours are also organized by bus operators as a feature of their larger package.


However, in all cases do not forget to hire a guide as he alone will be able to recreate the magic of the past. Authorized guides are available who will take you around and explain the importance and history of the places.


They will add some spice to the story sometimes, but it is still nice to listen to their explanation which brings the grandeur and royalty of the place alive. They will charge around INR 1500-2000 and remember you can negotiate with them and find a mutually beneficial plan.


Day one in Hampi

Explore the old ruins of Urban cluster and Vittala temple. Sunrise from Anjeyanadri hill.


Start early. Based on Sagar’s advice we decided to drive towards Anjeyanadri hills (birthplace of lord Hanuman) we reached this location by 6:30 am. Anjeyanadri Hill is an interesting destination to explore in Hampi. The hill is famous as the birthplace of Lord Hanuman, the monkey god of Hindus. It is located at about 5 km from the historical site of Hampi.

The hill has a unique charm, and the natural beauty of the surroundings attracts a lot of visitors to the site. The place is also a well-known pilgrimage center of the Hindus.

Hampi group of monuments are open from sunrise until sunset, from 6 in the morning till 6 at night. Add to that, photographing the temple ruins is a very sweet deal when performed in the mellow light of early morning! 














Cross the king’s gate and visit the riverbank. You will be greeted with various nameless ruins and tall standing rocks. the famed boulders of Hampi. The decaying old hillocks are now shaped like these profound rocks. Hampi rocks found a way in mythology as well. They are supposed to be the rocks used in the kill-fight between Bali and Sugreev in the epic Ramayana! 


On the road, rural Indian life unfolds in serendipitous ways. Cows and oxen enjoy a leisurely walk. Locals occupy the courtyard of a huge temple complex. The temples may look ruined, but they are very much in use by the locals on certain occasions, especially the ones off tourist trails. Though it is good to note that Hampi was never inhabited by humans after the fall of Vijayanagara empire. We took breakfast at Anjeyanadri hills parking.


This place has no entry fees. Parking charges were Rs. 10. This is being hill; you need to climb it. It will take average 30 min to reach at top. Climb is easy.

We then Proceed towards the Shree Vijaya Vittala temple.


This place has entry fees of Rs 40 for adults and kids below 15 years are free. Parking charges were Rs. 30. With this entry ticket you need not to purchase tickets at other monuments area entry point.


Vitthala temple is the epicenter of the ruined town with a huge temple complex. It is dedicated to the lord Vitthala (Lord Vishnu’s another form) and is known for its unmatched marvelous architecture, famous stone chariot and mysterious musical pillars. Which now features in the Rs 50 Indian currency note,




















The best way to reach Vitthala temple will be through Tungbhadra riverside trek Path. The path has many shrines, carved artefacts, boulders, and ruins of ancient structures and goes along-side the river. It will be a serene walk of around 2 km. We have not opted this route due to sunny day and kid is not cooperating


The temple complex of Vijaya Vittala is huge! There are many buildings, and it is a 2 km walk from the gate.  Hop on to the electric tuk tuk run by the women of the local community and pay a meager Rs 20 for the ride.


This is the most famous temple in Hampi. Vijaya Vittala attracts loads of visitors, local and tourists alike. If you are keen on photography, visit Vittala Vijaya at the wee hours of the day and shoot sunrise. It is open from 6 am.


Urban ruins of Hampi


Check out the ruins of palaces of monuments once used by the kings and the queens!

Please note, the temples of Hampi remain closed to visitors during lunch hours. This time can be spent at the urban complex. We utilized lunch hours for our lunch. After lunch we visited Hampi Archeological Museum. We spent some time here educating kids about Hampi.


After Archeological Museum we headed towards the queen’s bath, the step well, the elephant stable, lotus temple, zenana enclosure, the mahanavami dibba one by one. 

The urban ruins did not undergo massive destruction as the religious monuments of Hampi. Just the trunk of the stone elephants was chopped off. The lotus mahal stands as an epitome of Indo-islamic architecture, with curved arches on the tip of the tall pillars. 

















The area has green grass carpet befitting for a temporary seat. You can rest and walk again. 


In the evening we headed towards Virupaksha temple

Virupaksha temple is one of the oldest functioning temples in India and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is the main center of pilgrimage in Hampi. Given the religious importance, the temple gets really crowded during the day with thousands of pilgrims across India.

I will recommend you reach the temple around 7-8 am in the morning. During that time, you can also see the morning aarti and the elephant named “Lakshmi” walking towards the river for her daily bath.


Virupaksha temple has no entry fees, and it is adjacent to the Hampi Bazaar.








Day two in Hampi: an offbeat wildlife destination & coracle ride adds to the old ruins!


Explore the riverside ruins, enjoy coracle ride, pay a visit to the Daroji bear sanctuary and in evening enjoy Tungabhadra Dam


On the second day of the Hampi itinerary, you can finish off visiting the sacred ruins and aim for visiting a bear sanctuary close-by. We started from Sagar’s home by 8 am and reached coracle boat ride point. Coracle boat ride is must for every visitor. Boat owner charges around Rs. 500 per person. Coracles, also known as Dongis sometimes, are round boats traditionally used to ferry people and livestock across rivers. They have been used in many parts of Asia such as India and Vietnam as well as in parts of Europe such as Wales and Ireland. The name “coracle” actually comes from the original Welsh word for the boat, “cwrwgl”.







As you glide through the waters, you will notice several rock-cut temples on your sides. Perched atop boulders or carved into caves, these temples make a pretty sight.

Coracles are available between 6 am – 6 pm every day of the week. It was one of the lifetime experiences.

In the evening we travelled towards Tungabhadra Dam.













At the Hilltop watchtower that offer panoramic views of the dam backwaters. The sunset looks great on the dam water.


Take the bus service available from parking to take you to the top bus service provided by the administration to reach top sunset point (private vehicles are not allowed). The buses are quite small and so on holidays, you may need to wait in a queue to get your chance. it will cost you INR 20 for Adult and INR 10 for Children for 3.5 KM journey.


If you have a lot of time and the strength with you and you like to do adventure you can climb the steps and reach the top. By bus, it takes around 10 minutes. If you walk, it’d take around an hour. It is advisable to opt Bus service otherwise you will find it difficult to climb the top of the hill from where you will have a nice panoramic view of the entire Dam site.

Musical fountain Show starts in evening around 7:00 PM lasts about 20 Min every day.  There is a light and sound show at 6:45 PM. Photography allowed Videography with bigger cameras is not allowed.


We explored major attraction within 2 days. Hence on 3rd day travel back to Hyderabad. It was total 4 days of trip. 2 days for travel & 2 days for exploration.



As mentioned above, the Sacred Centre of Hampi includes several temples that are all must-visit sites. Before embarking on your temple journey, however, remember that the temples remain closed for visitors between 12.30 pm and 2 pm. This will help you to plan your sightseeing accordingly. Most of the Hampi temples provide for free entry though some may charge a nominal fee for phones or cameras. Following is a brief on a few of them.



1. Virupaksha Temple: This is the only religious site where rituals are still carried on today. One of the largest and oldest structures this edifice stands tall at a height of nine stories with its impressive golden tower capping the top. Lord Shiva is the main deity of this temple.


2. King's Balance: Remember all those fanciful tales of Kings weighing themselves with gems, rubies and gold? Well, it's at Hampi where they seem to take on life with King's Balance being one such pleasant affirmation.


3. The Stone Chariot: A huge chariot in stone with intricate carvings adds to the beauty of the Vithala temple. One of the three chariots found in India, this one leaves you awestruck at the depth of the artisans’ skill.


4. Monolith Bull: The imposing monolith Bull can be reached by climbing a few stairs as the Hampi Bazaar ends. The bull is a huge piece carved out of a single rock and has a shrine enclosing it.


5. Achyutraya Temple: As you climb further up the stairs after the Monolith Bull you reach the Achyutraya temple. Unfortunately, this temple is not in a good shape with no maintenance work in progress.


6. Badaviling Temple: This temple dedicated to Lord Shiva includes a huge Shiva Linga carved out of a single stone. It sits in a pool of water and there is a priest sprinkling holy water from the Shiva Linga on to the visitors.


7. Statue of Lakshmi Narasimha: Beside the Shiva Linga stands the statue of Narasimha, half man, and half lion. It also dwarfs you with its sheer magnificence and size.

Sasivekalu Ganesh: A huge statue of Ganesh in stone lies beside the Hemakuta Hill temple’s entrance. This is enclosed by a shrine.


8. Royal Enclosure: The actual residing site of the Vijayanagara empire, Royal Enclosure, though a crumbling ruin now, whisks you away to the time when Vijayanagara empire was at its zenith, its reign spreading from Indian Ocean to the Arabian Sea. Within its now fragmented stone walls you will find many of Hampi's most fascinating relics.


9. Vijaya Vittala Temple: As the epicenter of Hampi's attractions, Vittala Temple is the most extravagant architectural showpiece of Hampi. No amount of words can explain this spectacle. The temple is built in the form of a sprawling campus with compound wall and gateway towers. There are many halls, pavilions and temples located inside this campus.



1. Hemakuta Hill temple: The Hemakuta Hill temples lie on a small hill which gives an enchanting view of Hampi. Many tourists climb uphill to get an epic view of the setting sun.


2. Malyavanta Raghunath Temple: This temple lies on Malyavanta Hill and has priests chanting hymns and prayers there. A huge boulder that is located within the temple structure is a big tourist attraction in addition to the beautiful sunset that can be viewed from atop. The entrance is easily accessible by autos and cars.


3. Anjeyanadri hill: A temple dedicated to the Monkey God, Hanuman, the temple can be accessed by climbing almost 600 stairs.


4. Matanga Hill: The Matanga hilltop offers a panoramic view of the town and some stunning views of the sunrise or sunset. You can start off early before the heat catches up with you and go equipped with a bottle of water and a protective cap.



1. Lotus Mahal: Shaped in the form of a lotus this was a separate enclosure meant for the royal ladies of the Vijayanagara dynasty. Located within the Zenana Enclosure, it is one of the few buildings that have remained intact to date.


2. Elephant Stable: A huge row of domed chambers which housed the elephants of royalty at one point of time, is also in quite a good shape today. A favorite haunt for the shutter-happy tourist, this place is a not to be missed site.


3. Royal Enclosure: Spread across vast acres of land, this was the base of the Vijayanagara Empire. Imposing structures of the ruins still draw throngs of tourists to the site.


How to reach Hampi

By Train – Hampi does not have a railway station. The nearest Railway station is Hospet, which is around 12 km from Hampi.

There are direct trains from Mysore and Bangalore for Hospet. The best option will be to take “Hampi Express” which starts from Mysore and goes to Hampi via Bangalore. The train starts from Mysore at 6:40 PM, reaches Bangalore city Junction around 10 PM and reaches Hospet around 7:00 PM.

For Hospet to Hampi, you can take either a tuk-tuk (INR 250-INR 300) or local bus (INR 20). The buses run from 6:00 AM till 10:30 in the night.


By Bus – There are direct buses for Hampi/ Hospet from Mysore, Goa, Mumbai, Bangalore and Gokarna. The bus will cost anywhere between INR 1,000 to 2,000 depending on the type you are opting (sleeper/ semi sleeper/ non-sleeper) for.  While travelling by bus, be ready for a bumpy ride!

If you are not from India and find it difficult/ confusing to book train tickets, take help from a travel agent. The train options are always much cheaper and comfortable vs bus rides.


By flight – Hampi does not have an airport. The nearest airport is Hubli which is around 150 km away from Hampi. You will need to hire a taxi from Hubli airport to reach Hampi.

Hampi is heaven for backpackers. The rent for basic rooms can be as low as INR 500. You can also experience staying in a mud house or a cosy hut. Don’t expect luxury, most of the guesthouses are run by families who have only basic amenities to offer (bed and fan) but the people are extremely welcoming and helpful.


Recommended places – Padma guest house, Gopi Guest house, Funky Monkey, Rocky guest house

If you want to stay in a resort, there are a few options like Part Hyatt, Clarks Inn, etc, though most of them are far from the attractions in Hampi.


Best time to visit Hampi:

Late October to Early February will be the ideal time to visit Hampi. During the rainy season (July to September), Hampi gets inconsistent rainfall and will be humid. In case you enjoy exploring around in rain and want to see ‘Greener Hampi’, July to September can also be a good idea.

During the rest of the year, the temperature in Hampi will be at its peak and it will be unbearably hot.


Is Hampi safe for Solo Female Travelers:

Hampi is safe for solo female travelers.


How many days are required for exploring hampi:

I would love to spend weeks in Hampi for its laid-back vibes and rich history.

You will need at least 2 to 3 days to explore around properly.


Some other tips for travelling to Hampi

1.    Carry enough cash, the nearest ATM is in Hospet which is 12 km away from Hampi. Debit/ credit cards are not accepted at almost all the places in Hampi.

2.    Low mobile network – Not all the parts in Hampi have a good network connection. Some of the cafes and hotels have good wifi (Gopi Guest House, Chilled Out Café, Laughing Budha Café in Hippie Island).

3.    Carry Toiletries, towel, etc –Hampi guesthouses offer you basic amenities and hence, it will be good to carry your own toiletries/ towel etc.

4.    Peak Season Travel – If you are travelling Hampi in peak season, book your stay and travel in advance or else, you might end up paying double charges for hotels.

5.    Bargain – Like any other parts of India, you gotta keep the Bargain-hustle going in Hampi too, especially if you are not an Indian.

6.    What to wear – Preferably cotton clothes. There is no restriction or any dress code for visiting monuments.

7.    Alcohol is not allowed in the heritage side of Hampi. Some of the cafes do offer alcohol in the hippie Island, you can check with them.

Do tell me in case you think I have missed adding something or if you have any other questions. Will be happy to help! Will be looking forward to hearing on your travel experience to Hampi.


For more photos follow me on Instagram nomadic_mit.



Did you know: As a sign of respect, open your shoes while entering the temple sanctums in Hampi, even if the temple seems to be in ruins. Though it is not mandatory, it is a sign of respect to the deity, and you will find the locals doing the same. It is as if you are entering a person’s house and we do not wear a shoe inside the house.


Hampi is a place you bid goodbye to with your mind totally amazed at the awesome collection of monuments spread across the entire area.  Every boulder there is entrenched with a meaning.

Some have helped to create majestic hills of boulders, some have taken the form of ruins belonging way back to the Middle Age, some have gone towards the building of temples and others utilized for carvings. Hampi stands truly unique and magnificent among the heritage sites of India!


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Guest Just awesome!

Once again an amazing piece of work Amit!

I just loved the way you framed this blog, with fine photography and perfect choice of words. loved everything 🙇🏻‍♀️

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Guest Wow, amazing blog!!

Really nice blog, loved your photography too.. Humpi is in my bucket list too.. Just waiting for sept 2023 to explore this magic. 😍 thank you so much🙏🏻

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Guest Sanjay Deshmane

One of the best blog I read ever, especially on tourist places, with best photography & also in proper language of descriptions. It helped us to plan our trip. So thanks to Amit for such wonderful blog. Really I enjoyed reading it. 

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