Hampi is not a place – it is a feeling. Once the capital of the mighty Vijayanagar empire that stretched from Kalinga to Kanyakumari, the landscape of Hampi is dotted with several relics from the past. Known by the name of Kishkindha in the ancient times, Hampi attracts many visitors from all over the world.
In fact, on your trip to Hampi – you might run into people who keep coming to this place time and again. Whether you are a bunch of friends out on the road or a solo traveler, Hampi would surprise you, mesmerize you and enthrall you.
Read on to find out what makes Hampi the perfect long weekend destination for winters.
Time Travel is a Reality
Why Hampi is a UNESCO world Heritage site becomes evident as you arrive here from Hospet. The moment you set your foot in Hampi, you would realize that time travel is a reality. All around you will be named and unnamed symbols of a lost civilization, and you would begin to wonder if you are still in the 21st century.
The Never Ending list of Heritage Sites
The Vijay Vitthala temple, the Virupaksha temple, Lotus Mahal, Royal Enclosure, Achyutaraya temple – these are some of the many famous heritage sites in Hampi. The intricate architecture can captivate your attention for hours.
While these are the places on the popular tourist circuit, there are several other lesser known pieces of lost history in Hampi. Armed with their maps and guidebooks, history buffs keep flocking to Hampi in their search.
The Unique Landscape of Hampi
If you do not believe that something as dry as barren granite rocks could make a place beautiful beyond words, then do visit Hampi. The boulder strewn landscape of Hampi makes it a uniquely mesmerizing destination of India.
Also, the roads from Hospet to Hampi, and from Hippie Island to Anegudi possess a charm of their own. Paddy field, banana plantations and coconut trees perched against the backdrop of beautiful brown boulders is Hampi really a place or a beautiful figment of our collective imagination?
Secret Waterfalls and Lagoons
Unknown to many people are the secret waterfalls of Hampi. When monsoon leaves the land, the Tungabhadra river is no longer wild and torrential. Part of the river bed dries up revealing beautiful rocks, and part of it gives rise to secret waterfalls and lagoons where one can chill and relax. Ask locals for Foreigners’ Fall, and you can reach one such place after a walk through a banana plantation and the dry river bed.
Coracle Ride on the Tungabhadra River
When you are satisfied after covering the heritage sites of Hampi, cross the Tungabhadra river on a coracle boat to reach Hippie Island. Plonk yourself on this circular boat and watch the slow rhythmic motions of the oars- enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Don’t worry, be Hampi!
Forget Your Worries in the Hippie Island
Say Hakuna Matata, as now you are in the Hippie Island. Cast your worries aside, find yourself a cozy room in one of the many guest houses and lie down on their hammock with a copy of your favorite book. Rent a two wheeler and explore the island and beyond, at your own pace!
Cliff Dive or Swim, or Both!
The Sanapur lake, easily accessible from the Hippie Island area, invites you for leisurely swimming and thrilling cliff-diving opportunities. If you are in a mood to relax, just spread out a mat on the lakeside and enjoy the site of the calm water and the coracle boats floating on it.
Make Bold Attempts at Bouldering
Bouldering is a form of rock climbing with bare essentials – namely, climbing shoes, crash mat and chalk powder. The boulder laden landscape of Hampi makes it the world’s largest site for bouldering, though it has not been utilized to its full potential.
Beginners can attempt bouldering in Hippie Island easily – a stay at The Goan Corner would help you jam with fellow climbers and rent crash mats. Alternatively, Thimma from Thimma’s Climbing shop can act as your instructor and give you all the gear for six hundred bucks per person.
Cafes and Conversations
Enjoy a varied fare that ranges from the humble Aloo Paratha to the fancy Falafel. Almost all the cafes have Himachali staff, as the tourist season of the two destinations fall during opposite time of the year. So expect great North Indian food along with a wide range of continental dishes.
Nargilla Café and Restaurant,The Goan Corner, Laughing Buddha Café are some of the good eating places in the Hippie area. While in the heritage area of Hampi, a traditional South Indian Thali at The Mango Tree is a necessary indulgence.
Sunsets and Sunrises
There are quite a few places in Hampi that offer stunning views of sunrise and sunset. Climb Matunga Hill or Hemakunta Hill on the heritage side of Hampi to catch glimpses of the rising sun.
Also, the mesmerizing sunset visible from the top of the Monkey Temple on the other side of Tungabhadra is definitely worth the 575 steps climb. Beautiful aerial view of the Hampi landscape is another reason to head to these points.
If you don’t feel like hiking or climbing many stairs, simply head to the Rishimukh plateau in the Hippie Island area and see the afterglow of the setting sun by making minimal efforts.
How to Reach Hampi
The nearest railway station/bus stop for reaching Hampi is Hospet in Karnataka, from where one can take an autorickshaw ride to reach there.
The nearest domestic airports are Bellary and Belgaum. And like every year, this year too Hampi will have the Hampi Utsav from 3-5th November, 2018- a festival showcasing the rich art and culture of the region along with the added attraction of rural sports.
Maybe Hampi is not a place, but an intoxicant – because time spent in Hampi makes the heart crave for one more trip! So haste no more, for a visit to Hampi means getting high on happiness!