A graduation trip of 10 days requires Tony Stark's willpower to be pulled off successfully. As 6 students in the last semester of graduation, budget, prior commitments and a hell lot of variety travel preferences were constraints that was going to decide our dream graduation trip. Recounting the eventful and adventurous itinerary across Karnataka and then Goa (yes it happened in the first try), I will be publisbing the trip in 3 parts.
Initially having decided upon Ooty Coonoor and Goa as our destination, the rain gods washed off the itinerary making way for the spellbinding surprise Karnataka held for us. We rerouted and on the first day embarked at Guntukal railway station. A word of warning to those who are mislead by the name of the station, it was indeed a most spectacularly clean station with amenities like that of an Airport. Supremely well connected to all major and even minor stations of southern and western India, we could easily find a local train to take us to Hospet, the gateway to Hampi, which is the first part in this 3 part trip. So dive in for a glimpse of the kingdom of Vijayanagram and Tenali Rama.
The train taking us to Hospet passed through Bellary, where you could behold majestic forts and hills from the train itself. After a rather simple yet rewarding train journey, we reached Hospet, a city at a mere distance of 14 km from Hampi. Cheap but supremely authentic breakfast dosas and bisi bele bath in hotels in Hospet are a must try. Finding a Hotel near the KSRTC Bus Stand or taking the Bus Stand Dormitories itself at hourly rates are the best and cheapest options if you have a day to explore Hampi.
GOING AROUND : HOW?
We took a bus leaving for Hampi at a rate of just 15 INR to reach Hampi in 20-30 minutes. It leaves you at a bustling local market in Hampi at the entrance of the famous Virupaksha Temple. Hampi has ruins spread over 20sq.km and it is best explored on a rental bike or an autorickshaw which charges ₹800 approximately for 6 people. Rental bikes are limited in number hence early booking helps.
WHAT TO NOT MISS IN HAMPI!
Some of the most spectacular ruins in Hampi that you should not miss are the following:
The Idol of Nataraj, Lotus Mahal, The Zenana Tower, The Elephant Stables, Underground Shiva Temple, The Vitthala Temple.
The arches of the Lotus Mahal held our gaze for long and the complex with a single entry ticket of INR 40 house the mystic Zenana Tower and the Elephant Stables along with a museum. After spending a considerable time in this Instagram worthy complex, we went to our last destination before a lunch- The King's Seat and the Queen's Bathe and Quarters. The King's Seat is unmissable due to a royal view of the Hampi ruins. Climb up the stairs and you can see the entire vast expanse of Hampi, probably just like the king used to. It's also an amazing location for some breath taking photographs. If you are a fan of architectural arches, the Lotus Mahal and the Queen's Bathe provide an ample for your satiety. Both differently intricate, it makes for an intriguing study.
It was time for lunch by the time we had seen all of the above, and we were taken for a sumptuous lunch at Hotel Hampi. What makes the experience endearing is that you have to sit on the floor with cushions and mattresses made into a beautiful rustic seating table for a group.
Post lunch was more reserved for soothing activities.
Thus the next stop was the banks of River Tungabhadra, a region famously called the Kishkinda, the legendary kingdom of Hanuman in the Ramayana. A walk down rocky hills with playful monkeys leads you to the river where the famous Coracle Ride was on offer. Coracle rides in Hampi have been pretty talked about, however this is an experience which comes at a hefty price of ₹300 per person. Hence we decided to stay put and simply laze on the banks for a while.
At the end of our day in Hampi, we hiked up the Matanga hill and boy! What a stunning surreal sight it was. The main road leading to the majestic Virupaksha Temple lined with coconut trees along the line shine with a beautiful golden at the sunset hour. A day in Hampi surely cannot be complete without viewing the sunset over the ruins.
We clamoured down and walked along the main road which was busy with a pristine temple vibes in the evening. You can enjoy lime soda on the way and check out the little local trinkets and chandan stones.
Despite being smitten, We had to catch the last bus back to Hosapete at 6:30 PM, a breezy 40 min ride back to the town. Stay tuned for the next leg of our trip in the upcoming parts.