The Hampi ruins are a UNESCO world heritage site. Hampi was the ancient capital of Vijayanagara and was one of the richest cities in its prime. But as legend has it, the city’s temples and palaces were ravaged by the invaders and burnt down.
Best Time to visit
As Hampi is situated on a rocky terrain and with not much greenery around, it tends to get unbearably hot in the afternoons. And since one has to cover ruins on foot, visiting Hampi should definitely be avoided during summer months (Apr - July). The best time to visit Hampi is during winter months (Oct-Mar) as the sun is calm and the weather is relatively pleasant. You can also time your visit with Hampi Utsav also known as Vijaya Utsav which happens in January every year.
The most convenient way to reach Hampi from Bangalore is via train. The Hampi Express runs overnight between Bangalore and Hospet - the nearest city from Hampi, around 12 km away. We drove to Hampi although the drive wasn't very scenic and road widening work in patches and traffic added to the woes. The total driving distance is around 350 km and usually takes 7-8 hours depending on the flow of the traffic.
Quick Tips if doing a road trip:
1. Avoid driving on the patch from Bellari to Hampi as the road is in a really bad condition although Google suggests the Bangalore - Anantpur - Bellari - Hampi as the shortest route. Not sure why?
2. Leave as early as possible in the morning - to avoid city traffic and save time and so to reach Hampi before the heat becomes oppressive and the driving becomes uncomfortable.
3. Surprisingly we didn't find a lot of quality highway eateries on the way from Bangalore to Hampi. So better stuff your car with some food, munchies and a lot of water.
One can find a variety of accommodations from budget to luxury in Hampi. If looking for the budgeted Homestays in Hampi - One can stay on the other side of the river in Virupapur Gadde (commonly known as the Hippie Island) in bamboo huts at the edge of the paddy fields. Since we had our car at our disposal we preferred staying in Hospet (around 12 km from Hampi and 20 min drive) as it offers more comfortable accommodations. Below are the hotels where we stayed on our two trips to Hampi: