Hampi- The Forgotten Capital

27th Jan 2017

January 26, 2017 was a long weekend, so I was looking for good holiday destination. I was thinking of Hampi and suddenly one of my friend, Sagar asked me about Hampi trip. Hampi was in my triplist, so I could not resist myself.

Hampi was a historical capital of VijayNagar empire, situated on the bank of Tungabhadra river. Then wealthy, glorious capital is now reduced to a small village of Bellary District of Karnataka. The nearest Bus station/ Railway station is Hospet.

I started my journey on 26th January from Pune. There are lot of busses from Pune / Mumbai to Hospet/ Hubali. I took VRL from Pune around 12 noon. (I booked a bus to Hospet. Instead, you can book a bus till Hubali, then take another bus to hospet). Ideally, bus takes 9 hours to reach Hospet. So around 9 am I reached to Hospet. You can get bus (State transport) or auto rickshaw from Hospet. Bus ticket was Rs. 10. Auto could be quite costly. We (My friend Sagar & I ) took a shared auto which charged us Rs. 30 per head.

Day 1

Hampi is just 20 KM away from Hospet. We reached to Hampi at 10 am. Hampi is a small village. It has two parts across the river. There are many hotel in main village as well as other side of river. In Summer you can cross the river by walk, but in rainy season there are ferry services which will drop you to other side with minimal charge. As our hotel was prebooked , we directly went to the hotel (It was other side of river. This area is know as Virupapura Gadda or Hampi Island).

After breakfast, we started our Hampi exploration (around 12 noon). Hampi can be broadly divided in Five sections.

1. Virupaksha Temple & Hemkuta Temple Complex

2. Matanga Hill, Achutraya Temple, Varaha Temple

3. Kings Palace & Hajara Rama Temple.

4. Vitthala Temple and Kings Balance

5. Anjaneya Temple & Pampa Sarovar

Day 1 :

Group 1 Monument complex :

The first place was, off course, VIRUPAKSHA Temple. The 14th century Lord Shiva temple is situated on the banks of Tungabhadra River. This active ancient temple is also World Heritage Site. Temple is best example of Vijaynagara architecture. The Temple 'Mandapa', 'Shikara' and small gopuras has great sculpture work. You will enjoy the great architecture and artwork of temple.

In front of entrance, there is market place with Monolithic Nadi facing temple. Next to the temple,you will see the Hemakuta hill monuments. These are group of temple complex which displays vijaynagara style of sculpture.

Then, we went to Krishna Temple. It is located on the village border & will take 15 to 20 min by walk. We preferred walking as auto was bit costlier. This is also know as Balkrishna temple and is a Vishnu Temple. After Krushna Temple, there is Badavilinga Temple, which is Shiva temple. Again its just 15 min away from Krishna Temple.

Group 2 Monuments Complex:

From Badavilinga Temple, we took an auto to Kings Palace & Hajara Rama Temple. Here you will visit Underground Shiva temple, Nobel men's quarters, Royal Darbar, Hajara rama temple and Zanana Mahal.

All these monuments are at walkable distance, you can cover these in 2-3 hours. History and archaeology lovers dont miss the Hajara Rama Temple, Kings Darbar and lotus Mahal.

At Zanana Mahal there is entry ticket which is valid at Vithhala Temple.

Group 3 Matunga Hill:

Around 5 PM we returned to main village and started to Matunga Hill (This is opposite Virupaksha Temple. This is best sunset point in Hampi. No matter where you are, just go to Matunga Hill for Sunset. This will be the unforgettable moment your trip.) There are two roads to climb. One from virupaksha temple side and second from backside starting from Achutaraya temple. Second one is safe one but it is time consuming. (Front road has rough road without rellings and side barriers. Too adventures !!!).

As we were staying at Hampi Island, we crossed the river before dark (You have to. There will be no ferry service after dark or you can not cross river in dark. very dangerous. )

After returning back at hotel, we had a dinner and enjoyed at countryside (You will like it. There are good enjoyments at this side like music, dance...).

Day 2 :

Group 4 Anjaneya Temple & Sanpur Lake :

Next day, we hired a bike to go to Anjaneya Temple. The Hotel owner will rent you a bike (Negotiate before you rent). Anjaneya Temple is other side of river (near Anegudi ). Its a 20 min journey by bike. Again, you need to climb 600 steps before you reach at the top. This is sunrise point. also there is Hanuman Temple (Belief is this is birthplace of lord Hanumana, a hindu deity. ) Pampa lake is nearby hill. There is another option to Pampa Lake. Its Sanapur Lake which is 30 min away from Anjaneya Hill toward hospet.

Around 11 am, we again crossed the river & went to Vithhala temple (By Auto. Auto took Rs. 100. over costly.) Vithhala Temple complex is world heritage site. Auto/ cab will drop you near eRickshaw point from where you need to go to the temple complex by eRickshaw (Rs 10 per person.)

Group 5 Vithhala Temple Complex :

Vithhala temple is the famous archaeological site. Its architecture gopuram, Mandapa is a classic example of Vijayanagara architecture. In the courtyard you will see Stone Chariot which is also known as Garuda Shrine. Outside the complex you can see Kings Balance, and Market Place. Also there are other temples as well which reminds us glorious period of Hampi.

Group 3 Achutraya Temple Complex :

After spending 3 hours at Vithhala temple, we returned to Main Village (Virupaksha Temple). Then we went to monolithic Nandi statue. Its a Nandi carved out from monolithic stone. Behind Matunga Hill (Near to Nandi), There is Achutaraya Temple Complex. It includes Achutaraya temple, Bazar Complex, Varaha Temple, Ranganatha Temple and other small temples.

Instead of returning by same route we went to Sree Kodandarama Temple (It river side temple). Near river side, we did boating and spend some time around (Ask fishermen for boating as there is no formal boating service.) Around 5 PM we returned to Hampi Bus station via tunnel route (This is shortest route from Varaha temple to Main village).

Here my Hampi trip concluded.