The ruins of Hampi are a well known UNESCO world heritage site, and is called as the sister site to Machu Pichu in Peru. Closer to our homeland, it is a part of the Vijayanagar dynasty and boasts of beautiful architecture and craftsmanship.
We were four girls, who set out on an almost impromptu trip to Hampi. We boarded a train upto hospet from hyderabad, took an auto to reach Hampi which is 12kms away from the station.
Now, the experience you want to have is primarily divided into two parts of the place. River Tungabhadra divides the place into Hampi and the 'other side'.The other side is a village called Virupapur Gaddi. I suggest staying in Hampi for a night, since the last ferry between the two places is at 5pm, and it just restricts things that you can do in Hampi. Like watching the sunset/sunrise from the matunga hill, or being a part of the evening aarti at the virupakshi temple. Hampi is more religious while Virupapur Gaddi is more spiritual.
While in hampi, do not opt for an auto or a tourist guide who will want to show you all the "spots". I urge you to rent a bicycle, which you can easily get from the market in Hampi. Buy a city guide with the map, and venture out on your own. It is just an satisfying feeling, to cycle uphill, panting and cursing yourself, but as you come to face the ruins, the architecture there is a pump that you will. A rush, which no tour guide can give you. The booklet will give you a brief history of each ruin, and the cycle will let you explore at your own wish!
It might take you one or two days to cycle around the ruins, depending upon how much you want to spend at each place, and absorb the destroyed beauty. I would sit down with my sketch pad, and draw or just sit absorb in the grandeur, the skill at that time, and ponder my mind to a hundred things. Let the place take over you. Dont make rules or time yourself. The ruins will give you a sense of peace, you will be lost in the right place, in another time.
Experience the vitthala temple which is the most extravagant architecture in the ruins that is certified by UNESCO!If you go early morning to the virupakshi temple, you can experience a shower by lakshmi, the temples own elephant!
Once you have experienced hampi, go to the other side and experience the more 'hippie' side of the ruins! Shanthi guest house was our host for 3 days at the 'other side'. Their hospitality and food is extremely nice. We booked a hut, which had a clean attached bathroom, basic amenities and more importantly just opens to the paddy field.
We rented moped's at this side to explore the place. One should go to the hanuman temple, one has to climb about 500 steps, but apparently the view is spectacular. We could not witness that, but the drive around is equally addictive. A stretch of well built road, lined with palm trees, boulders and mountains. The landscape will mesmerize you and urge you to get lost, and yet you will find yourself. We drove to the tungabadra dam. Here one can enjoy a ride across the dam in a croacle. We also spotted a few people cliff diving here, and learnt that it is a popular spot amongst the foreigners to cliff dive and swim!
It is extremely important that one must travel to Hampi for two reasons.
1. The goverment is going to get rid of all hotels, restuarants, homestays, the bazaar and maintain the place only as the ruins, which will force people to stay in Hospet.
2. One must experience the life there, in hampi and the other side to know the tales from the locals, to live in the ruins. It is a different eery feeling that will leave you wanting more when you say goodbye.