If you are travelling from Delhi to Hampi, you may either fly to Hyderabad or Bengaluru. There is a flight from Hyderabad (Truejet 2T-623) at 13.00 and a 15.55 flight from Bengaluru to Bellary (Vidyanagar Airport) which is approximately 40 kms from Hampi. We took the 50 minutes flight from Hyderabad which was pretty comfortable. The other option is to reach Hubli (167 km) or Belgaum (228 km) from where a taxi/bus can be taken. On the way back there's a 14.35 flight to Bengaluru and 17:15 flight to Hyderabad. An overnight train from Hospet to Bengaluru/Hyderabad is another good option. A pre-booked guide and a taxi from the airport saves you time. Taxis are available at the airport at reasonable fares. We had booked through a travel agency Hamsa Travels who have an office in Hospet.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Hampi is between October and March. We travelled in the month of September and the temperature was around 30° C. Though it was hot when the sun was out, early mornings and late evenings were pleasant.
The ruins at Hampi, a designated UNESCO world heritage site, lie in the eastern part of central Karnataka, close to the Andhra Pradesh border. Hampi became the centre of the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire capital in the 14th century. The city of Vijayanagara was founded in 1336 by the Sangama dynasty and lasted until 1565 when Rama Raya's army was defeated by the muslim sultanate. Tirumala, Rama Raya's brother tried to establish a new capital, however the empire finally collapsed in 1614. Present day Hampi has over 1600 surviving remains of the last Hindu kingdom of South India.
10 Must Visit sights in Hampi
1. On our way to the hotel, we stopped at the Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace which is a beautiful resort with very hospitable staff. Its architecture mimics structures of the Vijaynagar empire. They serve authentic Karnatakan food. Their souvenier shop houses a few traditional gift items if you are looking for a quick buy.
2. Daroji wildlife sanctuary is another place to visit if you are a wildlife enthusiast. The sanctuary opens between 2 and 6pm. One can spot sloth bears in the midst of a dense jungle as they come out to sit on the boulders a little towards the evening.
3. Anjanadri temple (Hanuman temple) in Anegundi gives a view of the entire city and is a major attraction to watch the sunset. One has to climb 600 steps to reach the top from where the view is indeed surreal.
4. After the sunset we headed to our resort, Hampi's boulders, situated at the banks of the Tungabhadra river. We were greeted by the staff and escorted to a bonfire and barbeque arranged for the guests. It is a great property with natural pools and ponds. One can spend an entire day visiting their organic vegetable garden and watching the rock paintings. Their comfortable rooms come with a view of the river.After our sumptuous breakfast, we left for a tour of Hampi. It is better to get a guide to take a tour of the city. Though Hampi is a small place, it is not possible to reach every place by foot. A single ticket will give you an entry to all the important places including the Vitthala temple, Royal enclosure and the Hazarama temple.
5. The Vitthala temple complex represents the highest watermark of the Vijayanagara style of art. At its entrance is a stone chariot. It houses a Kalyana Mantapa and Utsava Mantapa.
6. The Royal Enclosure occupies 59000 sqm. It houses the King's residence, public bath, open courtyard and the King's audience hall.
7. Lakshmi Narasimha Temple is a 6.7 mts statue and one of the finest sculptures in Vijayanagara. Next to it is the second largest Shiva Linga of Karnataka.
8. Virupaksha Temple is an important structure as it is the only temple still in use at Hampi.
9. The museum made by the ASI displays the idols gathered over the years. The museum gives an overview on how people lived at that time, what they ate and how they dressed. A description of the era by foreign travellers is exhibited on the walls. Photography is not allowed in the museum.
10. An early morning walk to the Matunga hills to watch the sunrise or an evening climb to watch the sunset is worthwhile.
If you are interested in knowing the history about Hampi, we would suggest a book by Robert Sewell. It gives a detailed history of the Vijayanagara empire.