Hampi was pending on my wishlist from a long long time. Whenever I used to read travelouges of others about Hampi, it only used to raise my interest in the place. So finally, after my marriage, when I told to my husband about the wish, it became our common goal to visit the place soon. But having odd traveling modes available, it was required to plan in advance and to wait for a long holiday. Finally hubby took initiative and arranged to get his leave approved joint with a weekend, and this is how we finally made it.
The nearest Railway station to reach here is 'Hospet' and from Hospet it's an approximately half an hour journey to reach here. If you choose to come by airway, the nearest airport is in Hubali, but again from Hubali, it's not that near. There are bus services from particular cities and again not all trains haults at Hospet. Considering the odd travel options, it's required to pre plan for HAMPI or opt to go through travel companies, arranging tours for HAMPI.
We tried hard to get vehicle on rent either bike or car from Goa, but they do not allow you to take vehicle outside of Goa because of permit issue. Finally after a lot of Google, I found one non AC Karnataka State Govt. bus from Panaji, departing at 8.00 p.m. on Sunday.
From no guarantee of leave - Getting late for bus from Madgaon to Panaji - to almost missing a bus of Hampi (when we went to buy some sundry eatables after reporting our names, bus departed, even when there were few minutes to the departure time)- we defied all the odds to start our journey and had a sigh of relief when we evantualy caught a moving bus after chasing it almost for 500 meters.
At morning when we woke up, I was thrilled to see stone structures place to place on our way. After a hault at Hospet, our bus stopped at Hampi Bazar and we were surrounded by stone monuments all over. I was overexcited and overjoyed as usual. It was a bank of river Tungbhadra which was dividing Hampi in 'Virupaksha Temple area' and 'Hippie Island'. Thus, You have two options to stay, but better to settle for Hippie Island.
In peak season, it would be wise to pre book your guesthouse because otherwise you have to accept left over options. From Virupaksha Temple area to reach Hippie Island you have to go by a motorboat which charge around 30 Rupees per person. The question to my sound mind - 'why they didn't build a bridge instead, because distance was hardly 200 meters from this coast to other. The water is deep, so you cannot cross a river without boat unless you know swimming ( which is a bad idea actually).
We enquired for rooms as our booking for hotel got cancelled in the last moment (as we opt for pay later option 😂 ).Some well known guesthouses were fully occupied. Finally, we got one, at one of the Gauthami guesthouse. Room was basic but clean. Here you cannot expect big hotels with room service. You get here guesthouses with basic amenities. All guesthouses mostly having their own restaurants with laid up set up or sitting arrangement which is popular here, having wall paintings of lord Shiva or Buddha or associated with Indian mythology. Restaurants here having variety of food options like Italian, continental, French and so on.
Here, we also rented a scooter for Rs. 300/- per day. But we cannot take it to other side of river where all the main monuments are situated. So on our first day to explore the Essence of Hampi we opted a budget option of Rickshaw which is anyway popular among tourists here. We almost saw all the main tourist attractions like Vitthala Temple complex comprised of famous Chariot temple which is also featured on new currency note of Rs 50/- , An underground Shiva Temple said to be once covered under mud and found by researchers later, The Giant Narsimha Statue, Queens Bath, Lotus Mahal, and other remains. It's really not possible to finish in a day off course, but after taking enough of pictures and witnessing a pleasant evening we returned to our room satisfied.
Yes, it was an evening I was waiting for. At Night Hippie Island becomes Goa minus dance clubs, casinos and sea shore. We spotted a happening place to eat as well as to have a good time, and went there. With pillows-cushions around and music being played it was a soothing night after a sunny hot day. When we returned to our room, it was 2.00 p.m. but we both thoroughly enjoyed.
Next day, we decided to explore this side of river. So first of all we climbed Anjaneya Parvat, which is believed to be a birth place of Lord Hanumana. No need to say it is also, believed to be a Mythological city of Kishkindha. "Kishkindha - where monkies rule" 🐒. After climbing 500 steps we were there on the top of the hill. We went to see a sunrise actually, but it was late. Anyways the view from here was beautiful. We could see from here all Vijay Nagar Empire, Green long laid Rice Fields and Sugarcane Farms and curvy river Tungbhadra boardered by iconic mountains of stone. After that we also visited Anagundi village having remains of Royal Palace, Pampa Sarovara and a Dam. We had a coracle boat ride this time and also spent a long time by a canal soaking our legs in cold moving water and splashing water on our faces and doing absolutely nothing but enjoying a moment.
Sameer was interested in visiting Bear sanctuary situated here, so later we hired a rickshaw to visit it, which was around 35 Km away from Hampi. Well we didn't need to leave unsatisfied as we spotted bears on binaculars boorowed from other elder tourist couple and then of Sanctuary authorities. Sameer was lucky indeed to even spot a Leopold in the same frame while watching bear.
After having food at Mango tree restaurant we hurried to catch our bus. On return journey rickshaw driver was telling us ghost stories in the area with much interest - how he spotted ghosts here and all, but sadly I was too worried about bus, as we were late, so I asked him to shut it up and instead concentrate on the speed . Finally, we cought a bus on a dot time.
Though it was a plan in all hustle bustle, I was very happy and bid bye bye to the ancient royal capital city with a promise that I will come here again to spend more time and to indulge in the rich history.