Hampi had been a long pending destination in our bucket list. It is known that winter is the best time to visit as during summer the place is very hot and difficult to explore. This was the last long weekend of the winter and we were sure not to miss this opportunity. But this time we were not alone, another family of close friends were our partner in crime.
We started our journey sharp at 6 am and decided to take the route via Anantapur-Bellary. Got updates from team bhp that some constructions happening in the other route via Devangere.
After crossing Nandi Hills our breakfast stop was at Kamat Upachar, Ballagere. Just loved the fresh early morning cold air of winter and the cup of hot coffee!
Later we continued NH44. This is a 4-lane National Highway and though the other route via AH47 offers 6-lanes; I would say this road is better to drive due to much less traffic. The road is in perfect shape and I was able to cruise at 120+ in most of the places, occasionally touching 140. Within 2 hours we reached Anantapur and then took left towards Bellary. After this the road condition transformed to OK from great and then bad after we crossed Konapuram. Beyond Bellari it became pathetic! Bad road and large number of mining trucks slowed down our pace.
Original city of Hampi does not have much hotels. It is part of the effort from government to save the world heritage site from getting spoiled. So, most of the people stay either at Hospet; nearest town from Hampi or on the other side of Tungabhadra river. Those who prefer luxury choose Marriott in Bellary ( JSW Township ) ,but considering the distance and condition of road we did not book it.
By 2 PM reached our accommodation, Sai Plaza which is in other side of river ( also known as Hippie Island). This place is like a little version of Goa sans Sea and Booze. There are plenty of budget guest houses and stays along the strip and most of the tourists are foreigners. Our guest house was bang on the opposite side of famous - The Virupaksha Temple and we got a clear view from the restaurant.
Hungry like anything we just dropped our luggage at room and went for lunch. Food was good and reasonably priced. We wanted to cross the river by ferry after lunch and explore some part of Hampi. But the hotel guys suggested to keep it for the next day as the last boat from the other side is at 6 PM and we don't have enough time to do anything over there. One advice to everyone; Hampi is such place which demands and deserves time and patience. They suggested us to visit Anjandari Betta a.k.a Monkey Hills. Besides being famous for spectacular sun set view, this place is believed to be birth place of Lord Hanuman (the Monkey God mentioned in The Ramayana and other Hindu mythologies).
A short drive of 20 minutes took us to the foothills. This site seemed to be a major tourist destination. For some; main attraction is awesome 360-degree view of Hampi and others wanted to offer pilgrimage to the Hanuman Temple situated on the top of the hill. To reach the top we had to climb up 600 steps. Though it is not steep or dangerous but the number 600 itself is a sheer challenge.
After reaching top we found lots of devotees offering prayers in the Hanuman temple. We sat on the rock for some time and watched the sunset. It was a great sight to see! There were hundreds of tourists sitting on rocks to view the same and this is one of the famous sunset viewpoints of Hampi.