Songs on Stone - An architectural kaleidoscope called Hampi !

6th Feb 2016

Not really apt for a weekend trip to Bangalore, Hampi is a place to be explored at leisure; you can stay for weeks together if you are high on history/architecture ( and have the time to indulge yourself ! )

A lot has been said and written about this capital of the erstwhile VijayNagar empire; an ancient architectural marvel which keeps on surprising us with new findings every now and then ! I'll keep myself to summarizing the necessities which might be useful for your first visit, lest my mind starts wandering once again amidst those ruins !

So, here it goes:

Hampi is roughly 350 kms from Bangalore. The road, I've heard is quite fine all the way. For a weekend trip, however, it's best to take the overnight train ( No. 16592; Hampi Express ) all the way to the nearest town ( Hospet ). Hampi is roughly a half hr drive from there, and I'm sure you'll enjoy it with the early morning sun lighting your way !

Where To Stay: Abodes have been put up on both sides of the Tungabhadra river that flows just adjacent to this now tiny hamlet. On one side, we have the Hampi Bazaar area just beside that famous Virupaksha temple. Stay here if you want to partake of the early morning and evening rituals. Convenient but basic home-stays, including some which provide food as well ( of the local as well as the continental variety ), dot the bazaar, and so do small home establishments which dish out only the local fare for you. I must not forget to mention the famous ‘Mango Tree’ restaurant which is on this side of the river as well, and dishes out Israeli, Mediterranean cuisine among others.

Our choice here was the Venu Guest House, 9448191626; booked through Satisfactory service and a decent bargain as well !

I must warn, though, that there won't be any liquor and non-vegetarian food served on this side of the river.

And this is where the other side comes handy ! Virupapur Gadde, as it is called, also has more stay and dining options as compared to the Hampi Bazaar area, and there is a touristy flea market feel to it ( mini-Goa of sorts ). Certainly more fun !

What to do: Explore ! That's what you have come here for. Hire a bicycle or take one of the auto-rickshaws ( tuk-tuks ! ). You can't drive your own vehicle, so park them somewhere safe. Virupaksha temple has a parking that can be used.

Apart from the monuments, I'm sure there's some leisure time to be had in V. Gadde. Daroji sloth bear sanctuary can also be visited for feasting your eyes on some greenery, especially after the rains. I read a recent news about a tiger sanctuary being planned close to Hampi. You may want to research on it !

When to go: Only in the winter season, and immediately after the rains, which means Sept-March. Nov-Jan should be the best months. Even the slightest hint of an approaching summer should have you running helter-skelter in search of solace, for the sun is merciless here !

I have a much detailed account on my website below:

It includes a map towards the end as well which can be quite helpful.

So long, but not before allowing you a glimpse of the spectacle that is Hampi !