Hampi in the southern Indian state of Karnataka is a small heritage town with a magnificent past for it holds the ruins of the fabulous Vijayanagar Empire, one of India’s most powerful Hindu empires. Once a prosperous trading centre, Hampi today is an impressive rock strewn landscape, with abandoned markets, grand temples, and long-forgotten stables showing the passage of time here. A strange and magical place, Hampi – a World Heritage Site – is one of the most beautiful towns in Karnataka.
How to Reach Hampi?
By Air : The closest airport to Hampi is at Bellary, 77 km with regular flights from Bangalore and Goa. Belgaum airport (190 km) is also another alternative for those wanting to fly to Hampi. For better flight connectivity, Bangalore International Airport, 353 km away is a good option.
By Rail : Hampi can be accessed by train as the nearest railway station Hospet, (13 km away) is well connected by rail. There is an excellent service from Bangalore. There are frequent bus services from Hospet (30 minutes) to Hampi.
By Road : It is convenient to get to Hampi by road directly from Bangalore ( 353 km) or other parts of Karnataka or even the neighbouring states ( Goa is 10 hrs away)., There are plenty of bus services available. Since this is a major tourist destination, any number of car-rentals will be happy to provide you with a car and driver for the trip. You can hire the car and take it around the entire northern circuit of Hampi-Hospet-Badami-Gulbarga-Bidar-Bijapur, which will make the trip that much more comfortable and fun.
Best Time to Visit Hampi
The best times to visit Hampi are the month of October - November. October is festival season when the entire country celebrates the festival of Dassehra commemorating the victory of Ram over Ravana, good over evil, as told in the epic Ramayana. The weather is also cool and a gentle breeze sweeps the countryside. November has the annual Hampi Festival to offer.
Things to do in Hampi
Hampi’s things to do list roll out a lot of options for sightseeing and shopping. Hampi has many sites to see – temples, bazaars and other ruins, which will keep you captivated for hours. Buildings in this region are an exotic mix of Hindu and Islamic styles and the result is high vaulted domes and striking carvings.
Go for a ride in a coracle across the Tungabhadra River and visit Anegondi to travel around various small temples. If you are interested to see the complete picture of Hampi’s present and past then pay a visit to the Archaeological Museum (Kamalapuram) that has models of the ancient Hampi town. You can collect a plenty of hand-crafted items and enjoy a simple and basic vegetarian food prepared in local hotels and restaurants.
Places Near Hampi
Some of the interesting places near Hampi are mentioned below for your convenience.
Bijapur (235 km) is still very Muslim in flavour. Once the capital of the Adil Shah dynasty (1489-1686) who had broken away from the kingdom of the Muslim Bahamanis who had ruled parts of south India. Bijapur has scattered remnants of its legacy, most famously the gigantic mausoleum of Mohammed Adil Shah called the Gol Gumbaz.
Badami (175 km) was the capital of the Chalukyan Empire that governed a large part of the Deccan between 4 AD and 8 AD. It’s now a small town set amidst lush fields against a red sandstone ridge that looms up behind. Aihole and Pattadakal nearby have similar character: samples of the earliest the earliest forms of Dravidian temple architecture, and sculptures in rock cut caves. Badami has four sets of caves cut out of the red sandstone ridge. The magnificent carvings inside these, some representing myriad forms of Shiva, the Destroyer, and some representing Vishnu, the Preserver, make Badami a must-visit place.
Bidar (378 Km) was the capital of the Bahamani kings from 1482 and later passed into the hands of the Barid Shahi dynasty. There are some beautiful specimens of typical Muslim art and architecture to be found here. Bidriware or silver and black metal ware is a local craft made mostly using Islamic motifs, set in a dark background of blackened zinc, tin, copper and lead to create the most striking ashtrays, boxes, bangles and such.
Gulbarga (673 km), the Bahamani capital before Bidar has a wonderful old fort and some beautiful mausoleums and mosques.
Hotels in Hampi – Choice is Yours
There are numerous hotels in Hampi ranging from 3-star, 4-star and 5-star deluxe to budget hotels.