Driving from Bangalore to Hampi on a Weekend? We have shared everything you want to know…
History has to live with what was here…
As I run down my hands on the intricate carvings of the ruins that tell tales of the bygone era, thousands of thoughts swim in my head, I can imagine the traumatic yet magnificent past. I can hear the music coming out of the mysterious musical pillars. I can imagine soldiers fighting to prove their bravery, dance being performed by the queen in an open platform stage, crowds cheering. The laughs and laughter of women gossiping while taking a bath in a huge octagonal bath place. The king performing rituals at the underground Shiva temple surrounded by dozens of diyas. ( oil lamp — usually made from clay)
Everything looks so real yet is so unreal. I could imagine an entire civilization coming to life for a split second.
Oh hello, HAMPI!!, yes we are talking about you, and you are magical!!!
Hampi was the capital of Vijayanagar empire during 14th to 16th century AD, ruled by four dynasties from 1336 AD to 1565 AD.
It was during the regime of King Krishnadeva Raya (1509-1529 AD) of the Tuluva Dynasty the empire was at its peak. The kingdom was rich in wealth, wisdom, and literature. It was the center of the civilization. People were happy and content with life — music and dance were part of their lifestyle. Horse trading to women trading, Vijayanagar empire had it all. After his death, his successors and rulers fought among themselves and that gave an opportunity to the Deccan Muslim confederacy to besieged the capital.
People were massacred , everything was destroyed , the treasure was looted from palaces and temples. And the year 1565 was the year when Hampi was turned to ruins.
Today, everything is in crumbling state and the boulder-strewn landscape looks straight out of a history book. The ruins scream about the unread pages of history which are now buried in dust and left behind are the mysterious and untold stories.
Hampi — a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1986 and many efforts have been taken to restore the lost glory of the place.
If you follow us on Twitter and Instagram you might already know that we went on a road trip from Bangalore to Hampi. Since this was our first visit to Hampi, we did not want to stretch ourselves and visit everything it has to offer. Well, we are planning to be back in Hampi again this November.
– Road Trip: Bangalore To Hampi –
We intended to start by 4 AM but by the time we were up and ready it was around 8:30 AM, so we got a little traffic on the way. But nonetheless the drive was awesome and we were at Hampi by 2:30 pm. The route we took was via NH4 and Kudligi. Barring a stretch of 70 KMs, the rest of the route was amazing and was also pretty scenic towards the end of the journey.
On the way to Hampi – A small scenic lake where we stopped for some photo ops.
– Stay –
This trip was completely planned by Sam and no doubt he wanted a relaxing trip than a hectic one. Since we were supposed to go to Kashmir and our plan was canceled at the last minute due to the JNU row, we ended up at Hampi. A long weekend and last minute bookings meant most of the hotels were sold out or were extremely pricey.
Hyatt Place Hampi is not exactly at Hampi but is at a distance of 27 KM from Hampi. If you have your own commute then we would recommend you to stay here. Cabs can also be booked from the hotel.
Another perk of staying at Hyatt Place is that you can also explore the Vidyanagar township on a bike and visit the famous 3D Museum that houses tons of photographs of Hampi.
The satellite/topographical image of Hampi region
The numerous photographs on display.
A small souvenir shop.
If all of these does not interest you, then you’d plan to stay at Hampi or Hospet. Most of the websites suggest staying at Hospet as there are not many luxury stays at Hampi. But if you are on a backpacker budget there are numerous quirky hotels/ hostels at Hampi.
Check HERE for more deals and offers on hotels in Hampi.
– Places to visit in Hampi –
Hampi is vast, and to explore each and every corner you need ample time to soak in the beauty and explore at your own pace. But due to the crunch of time, we were very clear about the places we wanted to visit.
So, we ditched the sample itinerary and started exploring on our own with the help of the map we picked from the hotel reception desk.
If you are a history buff, the charm and mystery of this place will entice you.
Below are all the places we were able to squeeze in a day on our visit to Hampi.
We reached Hampi in just 30 minutes by car from the hotel. As we pulled our car in through the gates, all we could see was barren landscape strewn with huge boulders and a few temples popped out from the landscape at a distance.
Our first stop was the Chandrasekhar Temple which was off the touristy trail and we were the only souls around. On the first glance, the temple looked similar to the temple in Lepakshi. The only difference was that these temples do not have any idols in them. The inner sanctum of the temple was lit by a sunbeam peeping through the opening on the ceiling of the temple.
Each and every pillar of the temple is adorned with intricate carvings and the architecture is sure to impress anyone and we were no different.
Intricate Carvings on the pillars of Chandrasekhar Temple
This happened to be our second stop of the day and just 500 meters away from the Chandrasekhara Temple. The structure looks dilapidated from a distance but once you enter the structure you can immediately recognize the shape of an octagon. One can visualize what a beauty this place would have been back then.
Picture this – A small pond filled with water, falling from the aqueducts on the ceiling, surrounded by stoned pillars and a sitting area in the middle. Swimming pool ages ago looked something like this …
Saraswathi Temple 2
The Saraswathi temple is located in the same complex where the Octagonal Bath and Chandrasekhar Temple are located. The temple is perched on top of a small hill.
Like the Chandrasekhar Temple, the pillars of this temple is also laden with intricate carvings and not a single pillar have been spare.
Queens’ Bath :
Queen’s Bath is another impressive accolade. The architecture of the Queen’s bath is a mix of Hindu and Islamic style. The center of the structure is 8 feet deep and was used as a swimming pool by the Royal Family. Access to the first floor is restricted to visitors as it is literally falling apart.
Canals and drainage have been designed intelligently for fresh water to flow in and the used water to flow out of the structure.
Vittala Temple :
The temple with dazzling architecture. Nothing can obscure the sheer beauty of the temple.
As one delves deeper into the temple one discovers the mysterious musical pillars, temple walls littered with symbols, endless corridors, the famous stone chariot and a huge courtyard. Each and every corner qualifies for an interesting tales.
As our guide regales the fascinating stories of each and every nuance of the temple. We stand gasping in disbelief. We try to listen to the various musical notes coming out from the pillars. Legend has it that ages ago dance were performed from the various sound produced by the pillars. Archaeologists did try to investigate to find out the origin of the music but alas they could not fathom the mystery.
The pillars are rock solid and are not hollow from inside but the different musical notes it produces on tapping is strange and mysterious.
Hampi where music comes out from stone pillars
The stone chariot with the Mandapas in the background.
The musical pillars of the temple.
The famous Stone Chariot of Hampi
At a short distance from the temple — towards the river is the Purandradasa Manatapa. It is a small structure which was used by sages to meditate and is considered to be holy. From here, you can see the famous stone bridge and Hanuman temple perched top on Anjeyanadri Hill — birthplace of Hanuman.
View from the Manatapa
Hampi is definitely a work of art
River Side Ruins
Ruins. Ruins & More Ruins … Sad but true. All these beautiful structures are in bits and pieces now. It makes you both sad — seeing the condition now and proud — thinking about such architecture brilliance used to exist.
As you walk past the ruins, you can’t stop thinking about the fascinating lifestyle that the people led back then.
Anjaneya Hill & Temple
Anjaneya hill — famous as Kiskinda – the birthplace of Hanuman is just across the Tungabhadra river. A small whitewashed temple perched on the top of the hill and could be reached by the zigzag trail that leads to the temple.
PS: We are planning to explore more in Nov.
You can still find the remains of the abandoned stone bridge over Tungabhadra river. The bridge used to connect Anegundi to Vijaynagar.
One of the most popular attractions of Hampi and can’t be miss at any cost. The royal center was placed where most of the trading and celebrations used to happen.
An 80 square feet high platform is a tiered structure embossed with different symbols like horses, Chinese men, elephants, swords etc.
There is also an underground secret chamber which was used by King to conduct secretive discussions.
The recently discovered stepped tank is also quite popular for photo ops. The tank was built from the blocks of black schist stones. It is considered sacred and was usually used for religious activities by the royals.
Watch towers were used by guards to keep an eye on the intruding enemy.
Also known as Chitanrangi Mahal. It is a two-storey building built of mortar. This was mainly used by queens to relax.
Interesting fact of this architecture is that it had a cooling system in place. The water from nearby well was pumped in and was sprinkled all around the place to keep it cooler from the sweltering heat.
Royal elephants were also treated well. They had their own beautiful place to rest. There are total eleven stables interconnected.
The building is built of stone and mortar and has beautifully carved arches.
Underground Shiva Temple
Not visited by many, the underground Shiva temple is one of a kind. The tottering, gutted structure used to be a beautiful temple and was built below the ground level.
Due to its structure, most of the time the sanctum and other parts of the temple are underwater. Entry is free and the temple closes at 5 pm.
The temple was frequented only by the Royal household.
The ramshackle structure on your way to underground Shiva Temple to Ugra Narasimha is the Noblemen’s quarters.
Natural creation of two huge boulders leaning towards each other.
Legend has it that there were two sisters were turned to rocks on making a derogatory remark about Hampi.
The sister rocks can be found near Pataleshwara temple.
Close to Bdavi Linga is one of the biggest idols in Hampi. Its height is 22 ft and was carved by a Brahmin during Krishnadevaraya’s regime.
The majestic statue has been vandalized and disfigured by the invaders.
One of the must visit places in Hampi. This huge Linga is the one of the biggest of all Lingas in Hampi made up of black stone and nearly 12ft in height. The inner sanctum has no ceiling.
Kadalekalu Ganesha Temple
This 15ft tall statue carved out of a single boulder is one among the largest sculptures in Hampi and is quite a popular tourist attraction.
Matunga Hill & Veerabhadra Temple
It is considered to be one the best places to watch the sunset. Make sure to reach here by sunset and marvel the changing of skyline into riots of colors.
The view from the top is breathtaking.
Among the number of imposing ruins that are interspersed stands the imposing Virukapla temple which was our last but one stop at Hampi.
By the time we reached, the temple was bathed in the last sunrays of the day and looked surreal with all the intricate carvings.
It is one of the oldest temples of Hampi and has been renovated umpteen times. The temple has a huge complex and various idols of different god and goddess are dotted inside the complex.
Our last stop of the day was Hampi Bazaar which was loaded with trinkets, eateries, street side stalls selling an array of souvenirs.
After gulping from the side stall, we headed straight to the hotel where a delectable dinner buffet was waiting for us.
As we retire the day engrossing in the fascinating tales, we promised to be back soon and explore places in and around Hampi.
Hampi – “A dream made up of stone”
To be honest, we were stuck in awe admiring the architectural marvel and taking in the mysterious and interesting tales.
You can reach to almost all the places by car.
You can hire bikes( Cycles) and moped at a price of 100/ per day and 300-400/ per day.
You can also hire a tuk-tuk to cover the trails.
Where To Stay
Check Hotels in Hampi or in the below search box for some amazing deals on hotels in Hampi.
Where To Eat
Grab a map and plan your itinerary well as most of the places closes by 5/6 pm
Vittala Temple is huge and buggy services are provided from the parking place.
There are no proper shops and restaurants as you cover the trail. You might find few coconut seller or ice-cream vendors at few significant places. Pack something to snack around.
Don’t miss the amazing sunsets at Matunga Hill.
Bus No. 301 starts from the Hampi bus stand which is right in front of the famous Virupaksha temple.
Hire a government authorized guide to know more about every nuance of the temple.
We would highly recommend having more days on hand to soak in all the beauty and splendor HAMPI has to offer.