Updated: Feb 11, 2019
Hampi is UNSECO World Heritage Site situated in Hosapete Taluk in Bellary District of Karnataka State and is 12 KM away from Hosapete. Hampi is known internationally for its finest historical sites of ancient age in the world and thus attracting tourists within country and outside. It was the initial capital city of famous Vijayanagar Empire. It is 350 kms from Bangalore and takes 8 hrs drive to reach here, roads are mostly in good condition expect few batches. I have visited twice both in the month of February as during October to February is the best season and temperature levels (12°C to 20°C) also stay pleasant in this time. I took Bangalore -Ananthpur route but you can take Bangalore Chitradurga route but after Chitradurga roads deteriorates as road widening project is going on Chitradurga -Hosapete route.
Banglore – Ananthpur-Ballari- Hospate (350 Kms)
You can find couple of good hotels in Kamalapur Village near Hampi or Hospate town but if you are looking for conveniences then Hosapete has many options. There are multiple ways of getting around Hampi town from hiring cycle, bike, autorikshaw ,buses and taxi.From Morning 6 Am to 9 PM City buses are available every 15 minutes from Hosapet. Places of interest in Hampi are located far away from one another and scattered in different directions .
Hampi is paradise for photographers because of undulating rocky terrain, beautiful temples, ruins of palaces which makes no other place in India. Both my trips were decided completely to photography and even for tourist there are so many things to see and explore as it will take you to different era.
Once you have arrived Hampi,After lunch head towards Hemakuta hills for sunset. The view of setting sun and ruins of temple is amazing. Hemakuta has may temples like Kadalekalu Ganapathi, Hemakuta jain temple and Hemakuta hanuman temple. You can look down into the bazaar and Virupaksha temple towering 165ft high. This place gets crowded in evening and main entrance gets closed after 6 pm.
There are so many sites of interest around Hampi, the must visit ones are Hemakuta hills,Vittala temple,Virupaksha temple,Royal Enclosures,Queens Bath,Lotus Mahal,Elephant Stables,Ugra Narasimha and Tungbhadra River.
Next day you can plan to visit Vittala temple after breakfast as visiting early will not make you to stand in long queue for electrical vehicle /ecofriendly buggy from parking lot. The distance from Vittala temple to parking lot is one Km. Vittala temple is the most extravagant architectural showpiece of Hampi and dedicated to lord Vishnu. In front of the temple you will find world famous Stone Chariot and it is made of rough Quartz. In these stone chariot pictures of soldiers, hunters, the arabs have been depicted. Phalpurja Mantap and Kalyanamantap are two other magnificent architecture around Vittala temple. On my first visit in Feb 2018 i visited this temple just before sunrise and devoid of any tourist and had fun in photographing this temple. All the major tourist attraction in Hampi opens around 7 Am and gets closed by 6 PM.The entrance ticket to Vittala temple also includes the entry to Zanana enclosure and you should preserve it.
The Zenana Enclosure was a secluded area reserved for the royal ladies of the Vijayanagar Empire. The highlight of the Zenana Enclosure is the Lotus Mahal and elephant stable. Lotus Mahal built in Indian and Muslim style of architecture and there is a beautiful garden nearby where you can relax. The enclosure had three watch towers. The presence of these three watch towers indicates that the enclosure was a protected area that offered privacy to the royal women of the Vijayanagar Empire, including the Queen. Elephant stable was meant for royal elephants and there are eleven stables which are interconnected with small doors.
Ugra Narasimha, Badavilinga, Virupaksha temple and banks of Tungabhadra rivers should be the places to visit in the evening. Ugra Narasimha is the largest statue in Hampi and depicts Lord Narasimha in a terrifying or angry form. his monolithic structure, which is 6.7 m in height and made up of single stone. Badavilinga is the biggest of all linga in Hampi and nearly 12 feet in Height. It is always in water as canal passes through this temple.
Virupaksha temple is located on the bank of the river Tungabadra is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is main temple in Hampi. According to history, this temple has been functioning uninterruptedly ever since its inception. On the back side of the temple there are steps and you will see dark chamber and is on way to banks of Tungabadra river. Spend your evening in the banks of Tungabadra river and enjoy sunset, you can also take coracle ride /Steamer if you want to go other side of the river.
There are some places which I have not explored yet like Anegundi, Tungabadra Dam and Mathanga hills which I have planned to visit next time. It is said minimum 3 days is required to fully explore Hampi.Don’t forget to visit Hampi Bazar which located next to Virupaksha temple that spreads for more than one kilometer. I did not get time to explore fully and had only lunch in famous Mango tree restaurant.
Hampi has a lot to offer to Photographers and Tourists and should be in your next travel wish list.