On the second day, I rented a scooter that cost me Rs.250 for a day from Uramma homes. It made my commute a lot easier. I started at 6 am in the morning and the first place on my list was Anjeyanadri Hill. From here on, few colleagues from work joined me for the rest of the day and it was super fun.
Anjeyanadri Hills: From my cottage, I followed google maps and with little help from the locals, I was able to reach the foot of the hill. This place is believed to be the birthplace of Hanuman mentioned in epic Ramayana and has a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman on the top of the hill. There are two trails to reach the top. I took a deserted route and landed in a no man's land. After a quick chat with the locals around, figured this trail was better and easier to climb. The main route is usually crowded and needs you to climb 500 or more steps. The trail that I took was lesser known to travellers with approx. 425 steps to climb to the top of the hill. I was sceptical at first, considering I was the only one on this route. However, as I moved forward, I gained confidence and got comfortable with the climb because the directions were marked clearly with the countdown of the number of steps to go. This encouraged me to keep moving. I was able to reach the top in about half an hour without any trouble. The panoramic view from the top was like a flintstone setup but just covering a much wider area. The view was spectacular.
Pampa Sarovar: Pampa Sarovar is a short ride from Anjeyanadri hills. This beautiful pond is considered sacred because of its mention in Hindu mythology. Quite popular in India for its religious significance.
Sanapur Lake: We headed to Sanapur lake which is also less explored place in Hampi. People try cliff jumping here sometimes. The ride from Anegundi to Sanapur lake will take you back in time. There were long stretches with boulders and ruins of the temples/forts on both sides of the road. The lush green paddy fields with coconut trees in abundance was a treat to the eyes. We parked our bikes and started walking down towards the lake. The locals there offered us to take a coracle ride. The usual cost is Rs.50 per head but they will charge a bomb. Be careful and try to get a good bargain. A coracle is like a bowl-shaped basket boat rowed with one paddle. These boats can be spotted in every crossing point in Hampi. These boats have been in use since the time of the Vijayanagara Empire. We took one of these rides for about 30 minutes across the swirling water and this was one of the best experiences here.
The Hippie Island: Virupapur Gadde or 'The Hippie Island' is quite famous among travellers. It is referred to as Hippie Island as this land is surrounded by the Tungabhadra river on all sides. Hippie Island is home to tons of backpackers, solo travellers and all kind of travellers who are looking for a laidback vacation, to relax amidst nature, to meet like-minded people, to eat, enjoy and repeat.
On the way to the Island, we saw the remains of a Bukka's Aqueduct located near Anegundi. Water was carried from Tungabhadra to Hampi from here. Every piece that we crossed us took us by awe.
Sunrise and Sunsets
The sunrise and sunset are surreal here in Hampi. You can get a mesmerizing view from different places in Hampi. Some of the places that should not be missed during sunrise or sunset are mentioned below.
Hemkutta hill is one of the ancient group of temples situated on the hilltop. It is a short climb towards the south of Virupaksha temple. There are a lot of other places as well apart from the ones mentioned above.
Do not forget to find your favourite sunrise/sunset spot in Hampi.
Best time to Visit Hampi
The weather of Hampi is hot and dry most of the year. It is advisable to visit Hampi between November to February when the temperature is moderate. Monsoons should be avoided as the boulders will be slippery and the river crossing might not be allowed due to increased water levels in Tungabhadra. Early monsoons should also be okay to plan a trip to Hampi.
How to Reach Hampi?
Flight: The nearest airport is Jindal Vijaynagar Airport (VDY), located near Bellary. It is around 40km from Hampi. Currently, Trujet is the only flight operating from Bangalore/Hyderabad. You can hire a taxi to Anegundi/Hampi and it will cost around Rs.2000, which is an expensive deal.
Train: The nearest railway station is Hospet junction (approx. 13 km from Hampi). There are regular trains for Hospet from major cities and towns. After reaching the station, you can hire a taxi or take a bus or book an auto to reach Hampi. The bus fare is only Rs.15 and is the most economical way to reach Hampi. You might have to wait for buses at times and it might get crowded. A rickshaw from Hospet to Hampi will cost you around Rs 150-200.
Bus: Many buses are running from Bangalore to Hospet, Hampi & Gangavathi daily. It costs around Rs.600 for a 7 hour overnight journey. I had booked GPR travels (Non-ac sleeper) and the last-minute ticket cost me around INR 800/-. The bus was decent and comfortable for an overnight journey. While returning, I had booked Greenline (Non-ac sleeper) which was horrible. Maybe the AC ones are better for this service provider but in Non-ac, the sleeping arrangement was way too discomforting.
If the plan is to visit Anegundi first then consider taking a bus to Gangavathi or contact your hotel to arrange a pick up from Hospet/Hampi.
Where to stay in Hampi?
From my experience and feedback shared by fellow travelers, I was able to list down a few places that could be considered for a stay in Hampi. The stay options at Hampi bazaar side are cost-effective. Rooms are available starting from Rs.500 per night with basic amenities and comfort. Across the river, the stay options are little expensive yet reasonable enough for the experience.
Lakshmi heritage tourist homes
Rocky guest house
Gopi guest house
The Hippie Island
Shanti Guest House
Mowgli Guest House
The Goan corner
Uramma Heritage Homes
Kishkinda Heritage Resort
NOTE: There are other luxurious stay options around Hampi and Hospet which can be considered as well. I suggest exploring the above options to get a feel of living among the ruins of Hampi.
Must try eateries in Hampi
Gowthami restaurant/ German bakery
Gopi roof restaurant
Tip: You will find a bunch of women serving yummy traditional South Indian breakfast in Sagar hotel. Do not miss the Paddu and chutney from this place.
Important things to remember
There are 3 boat crossing points and the last boat departs at 5:30/6:00 pm. Plan your day accordingly to avoid paying big to Rickshaw walas. Mobile network is extremely poor, so it is better to keep away the electronic devices and keep the closed ones well informed. There are no ATM's in Hampi. The nearest ATM can be found in Anegundi, Kamalapur or Hospet. Please carry your medications, if any, for emergency purpose.
Travelling solo in Hampi was my most cherished experience. I found the people helpful and it is quite a safe destination for all the solo female travellers out there. A minimum of two days is required to explore Hampi in case you have a tight schedule. Travellers do chill here for more than a week. If time is not a constraint then you should consider visiting Badami caves along with Pattadakkal and Aihole by hiring a taxi. I have saved this for my next trip to Hampi.
I suggest not to have any fixed itinerary while planning a trip to Hampi. Once you reach Hampi, rent a bicycle or a scooter, explore around. You will be stunned to see every new place and get lost in the stories of the past. Soak up all the history, stories, myth and engulf in the magical land of Hampi, this place will never let you down!