A complete travel guide to Hampi

Is Hampi Worth Visiting? Complete Travel Guide to the Fascinating Heritage Site (2024)

Experience the allure of Hampi, where ancient ruins intertwine with vibrant culture. Discover why this destination is a must-visit, offering a journey through history and adventure. Uncover the secrets of Hampi’s fascinating heritage sites and immerse yourself in its timeless charm. Find out if Hampi is worth the journey and embark on an unforgettable exploration of this captivating destination.

Hampi holds a special place in my heart as one of Karnataka’s most captivating destinations for lovers of ruins, history, and culture. Having visited twice, I continue to uncover new insights with each visit. The timeless ambience and the preserved essence of bygone eras make Hampi remarkable.

A complete travel guide to Hampi
A complete travel guide to Hampi

PIN for later reference – Is Hampi Worth Visiting?

PIN for later reference - Is Hampi Worth Visiting?
PIN for later reference – Is Hampi Worth Visiting?

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  • The prices mentioned in the post are valid only at the time of publication. Ensure that you check the booking websites for up-to-date information and prices.
  • My opinions and views are unbiased. If the post is a collaboration, then they are specifically mentioned.
  • Ensure that you check the relevant websites for up-to-date information on COVID protocols.
  • For any adventurous activities, please note that there is a risk that can be dangerous. Ensure you read the terms and conditions recommended by individual agencies and do them at your own risk.
  • For visas, it is best to see the embassy website for changing rules.
  • While using the recommended guides, auto-drivers or taxi drivers, do your due diligence and trust your judgement.

About Hampi

Hampi, nestled in the Karnataka state of India, is a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its Group of Monuments. Once the thriving capital of the 14th-century Vijayanagara Empire, this fortified city attracted traders from distant lands, making it possibly the wealthiest town in India. Tragically, after succumbing to defeat by a coalition of Mughals, Hampi lay in ruins, its monuments bearing witness to a bygone era.

The best time to visit Hampi is during the winter, from November to February, when the weather is mild and pleasant, making it ideal for exploring the sprawling ruins and scenic landscapes. The annual Hampi festival in November further enhances the visitor experience with its cultural performances, music, and art exhibitions.

Also, Read why Karnataka must be on your bucket list

Exploring Hampi’s vast array of monuments and nearby Anegundi requires ample time. To fully immerse oneself in the historical treasures of both locations, a minimum of three full days is recommended, with a dedicated day reserved for exploring Anegundi.

Did you know that Hampi is one of the places where you can see Karnataka’s Dance Form, Yakshagana?

About Vijayanagara Empire

Referred to as the Karnataka Kingdom, the Vijayanagara Empire was founded in 1336 by the brothers Harihara I and Bukka Raya I of the Sangama dynasty. Situated in the Deccan Plateau of South India, the empire derived its name from its illustrious capital, Vijayanagara. Renowned for its luxury, the empire captivated European travellers with its wealth and prosperity.

Important Information

  • Hampi’s fame largely rests on its ancient ruins, resulting in many structures and statues being damaged or destroyed over time.
  • Entrance to most monuments in Hampi is free of charge.
  • Visitors should anticipate intermittent internet and network connectivity in the area.
  • Please note that only vehicles with yellow plates are permitted within Hampi.
  • Due to the vast size of specific enclosures, exploring Hampi often entails significant walking as it’s the primary means to see these historical sites.
Paper map of Hampi
Paper map of Hampi

Temples and Ruins of South Hampi

Sunrise on Mathanga Hill

Mathanga Hill stands as the pinnacle of Hampi, offering unparalleled vistas, especially during sunrise. The ascent to the summit spans approximately 2 kilometres, rewarding trekkers with breathtaking panoramas encompassing Hampi town.

Sree Virupaksha Temple

One of the temples still used for worship and intact in Hampi is the Sree Virupaksha temple. Built in the 7th century by Lakkan Dandesha, the temple is dedicated to Lord Virupaksha, a form of Shiva.

Virupaksha temple
Virupaksha temple

Saasivekaalu Ganesha

Carved out of a single rock, the Saasivekaalu (mustard seed) Ganesha is around 8 feet tall and built in 1500 AD. It is a cute monolithic statue of Lord Ganesha and is kept in the open pavilion.

Saasivekaalu Ganesha
Saasivekaalu Ganesha

Lakshmi Narasimha and Badava Linga

At a height of 6.7 metres, the Lakshmi Narasimha is the monolithic fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The Narasimha idol is seated on the giant coils of Adishesha, the sacred snake of Lord Vishnu. As per Lithic record, the statue was consecrated by priest Krishnabhatta in 1528 AD.

Lakshmi Narasimha
Lakshmi Narasimha

Just next to Lakshmi Narasimha is the Badava Linga. Standing tall at 3 metres, the Badava linga is also a monolith of Shiva Linga. According to legend, the Badava linga was commissioned by a poor woman.

Badava Linga
Badava Linga

Akka Tangi Gudda

Akka Tangi Gudda (meaning Stone Sisters in Kannada) is a natural arrangement of gigantic rocks standing at the site for ages. According to legend, the two rocks were two sisters who once visited Hampi during its glory. They became jealous and started talking ill about the town. The reigning deity came to know about this and turned the two sisters into stones. It is also called the Jealous sisters of Hampi.

Akka Tangi Gudda
Akka Tangi Gudda

Hazara Rama Temple

Built in the 15th century, the Hazara Rama Temple was once a private temple for the Kings of the Vijayanagara Empire and is dedicated to Lord Rama. The temple has stunning relics of the stories and scenes from the Hindu mythological story of Ramayana.

Hazara Rama Temple
Hazara Rama Temple

Zenana Enclosure

Zenana enclosure is a structural complex that has tall walls on four sides of the complex. The structures are in the Indo-Islamic style of architecture.

Zenana Enclosure
Zenana Enclosure

Lotus Mahal

Also called Chitrangini Mahal, the Lotus Mahal is a two-storied structure used as a residue place for the royal family of the Vijayanagara Empire. It was specifically built for the women of the royal family.

Lotus Mahal
Lotus Mahal

Elephant Stables

Constructed in the 15th century in Indo-Islamic architectural style, the Elephant stable was built as a stable for state elephants. It has eleven large domed chambers interconnected with arched openings.

Elephant stables
Elephant stables

Tenali Rama Pavilion

Very close to the Archaeological Museum and Zenana enclosure is the Tenali Rama pavilion. The small stone structure reminds visitors of the notable and funny poet Tenali Ramakrishna, who wrote poems about the Vijayanagara Empire.

Archaeological Museum

Dedicated to the ruins of Hampi, the archaeological museum is a great place to see all the excavated structures and sculptures.

  • The museum is open between 10 AM and 5 PM every day.
Archaeological museum
Archaeological Museum

Royal Enclosure

The vast fortified Royal enclosure was the seat of power for the Vijayanagara kingdom. It housed as many as 45 buildings and spread over 59000 square metres.

Queen’s Bath Place

Used by the king and his wives, the Queen’s bath place is an outdoor pool with fantastic architecture of pillared corridors and decorated windows.

Queen's bath
Queen’s bath

Sree Vitthala Temple

Famous for the stone chariot and musical pillars, Sree Vitthala temple is my favourite temple complex in Hampi. Built during the 15th century, the Vitthala temple is one of the largest temples in the Vijayanagara Empire. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in the form of Vitthala.

  • Temple is open between 8:30 AM and 5 PM every day.
  • The ticket purchased for the Zenana enclosure can be used here.
  • The main gate is around 1 kilometre from the temple. Only some carts, driven by women, can drop visitors from the gate to the temple and back for a small price (INR 20 for one way).
The Stone Chariot in Vitthala Temple
The Stone Chariot in Vitthala Temple

Seven Bazaars of Hampi

Back then, there were seven bazaars (markets) in Hampi where traders would shop for various things, including precious gems. Today, they all lie as ruins where some platforms can be seen. The names of the seven markets are:

  • Krishna bazaar.
  • Paan Supari bazaar.
  • Virupaksha bazaar.
  • Achyuta bazaar.
  • Vittala bazaar.
  • Malyavanta bazaar.
  • Varadarajammana bazaar.

Temples of North Hampi (Kishkinda)

The best way to go to Kishkinda is by crossing the Tungabhadra River from South Hampi to the other side on a coracle or a ferry. The ferry is shared, and the one-way crossing costs INR 30 and 50. And the coracle ride is private, and the cost for one-way crossing is between INR 150 and 200.

Once you cross the river, you can hire a two-wheeler for INR 500 per day or an auto rickshaw for INR 1500 per day. The owner of the two-wheeler rentals here is nice and friendly. To hire a two-wheeler, you need to produce your valid government ID.

Anjanadri Betta

Known to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman, the Anjanadri betta is a fantastic place to visit. A small temple at the peak also has a floating stone supposedly used to make Rama Sethu. It is also a sunset point and provides panoramic views of the Tungabhadra River.

  • The visitors have to climb 575 steps to reach the peak.
  • Plenty of parking is available, and the parking fee is INR 5 for a two-wheeler.
  • Be careful of monkeys; there are a lot of them.

Chintamani Temple

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Chintamani temple is famous for the spot where Rama had aimed and shot his arrow to kill Baali during the fight with Sugreeva. The temple is located right on the banks of the Tungabhadra River, and one can go down to the river to sit by it and enjoy the cool breeze.

Chintamani temple
Chintamani temple


Previously known as Kishkindha, Anegundi is a village on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. According to mythology, Anegundi is the place where monkeys lived in Ramayana.

Shabari Cave and Pampa Sarovara

Shabari’s Cave is where Shabari, the devotee of Lord Rama, used to live and perform her tapasya. It is right next to Pampa Sarovara, a lake in the Koppal district and is considered one of the five sacred lakes in the district. Pampa is where Goddess Parvathi performed penance to show her devotion to Lord Shiva.

Sahabari cave
Sahabari cave

Sanakpura Lake

A beautiful place to ride a coracle is Sanakpura Lake. It is a small lake formed by the backwaters of Tungabhadra Dam. With spectacular sunset views, it is a perfect place to relax and wind up the day.

  • The coracle ride costs about INR 350 to 500 per person for 30 minutes.
  • Watch out for otters. I saw a couple of them.

Cafes of Hampi

Mango Tree Café

One of the most famous cafes in Hampi, right next to Virupaksha temple, is the Mango Tree café. The ambience, staff and the food are all very nice. I visited this café several times and had a great time each time.

Mango Tree Café
Mango Tree Café

Whispering Café

A very chilled-out and unique café is the Whispering café. It is on the other side of the Tundabhadra river in Anegundi. The seating arrangement is on the floor with beds everywhere, providing a very relaxed atmosphere. The food is delicious and keeps up the mark, too.

Food at Whispering Café
Food at Whispering Café

Shopping in Hampi

Banana Fibre Products

I accidentally discovered the banana fibre products in Anegundi. The local women of the village have been employed to make banana fibre products such as handbags, bowls and toys. This is to provide employment to the women and empower them.

The ropes are created using banana stems. And these ropes are, in turn, used to weave and make products. A lot of manual effort and hours go into making a single product. Even though the products are a bit expensive as they are manually made, they are beautiful and worth buying.

Banana fibre products
Banana fibre products

Hampi Bazaar

Hampi Bazaar is a popular store where auto drivers take visitors for shopping. They have a variety of products, including special oils and scarves. The banana fibre products are also sold here but at an elevated price. Hampi Bazaar is great for buying souvenirs and other things, as everything is available under one roof.

Local shops

Hampi has a lot of local shops that sell souvenirs, clothes, books and other things. The shopkeepers sell the products at a higher price, so ensure to haggle.

Hampi local market
Hampi local market

Traveling within Hampi

The best way to commute is by hiring a two-wheeler. However, there is only one bike rental company in Kamlapura, as the government have stopped all the other bike rental companies. The guy renting out the bike at Kamlapura is arrogant, so I decided to commute to Hampi in an auto-rickshaw.

Auto Driver Details

I was in touch with many auto drivers but used the services from Anil Kumar (picture below). He was very friendly and knowledgeable. I liked the way he managed and took care of me. I highly recommend him for travelling to Hampi.

  • Name: Anil Kumar.
  • Contact number: +91 93808 74964.
Auto driver in Hampi
Auto driver in Hampi

If Anil is not available, then you can use the below auto drivers too:

  • Vijay: +91 73534 45992.
  • Basava: +91 63618 31968.
  • Bimesh: +91 73489 09857.

Stay in Hospete and Hampi

I have listed the below accommodation options sorted by cost (descending from expensive to budgeted).

Evolve Back Luxury Resort

The most expensive of all the options mentioned is the stay at Evolve Back Luxury Resort. Located 4 kilometres from Hampi, the Evolve Back Luxury Resort is a mini Hampi, replicating the entrances, stone-paved boulevards and hallways.

  • The cost for a room is around INR 25,000 to 28,000 per night.

Vijayashree Resort and Heritage Village

The second time I visited Hampi, I stayed at Vijayashree Resort and Heritage Village. Spreading across 20 acres of land, this property is located about 20 kilometres from Hampi. The rooms are spacious and well-maintained. It is a beautiful place to stay if you have your vehicle to commute to Hampi. Even though I enjoyed my stay, I did not cherish the food. I felt the food was limited and tasteless.

  • The cost for a room is around INT 5000 to 7000 per night.

Gopi Guest House

If you are a budgeted traveller, staying in Hampi is the best choice. Gopi Guest House is right next to Virupaksha temple and is a great place to stay. The room is small, but the guest house is very conveniently located.

  • The cost for a room is around INR 750 to 900 per night.

Pushpa Guest House

Pushpa guest house is cheaper than the Gopi guest house. It is a small place where backpackers or budgeted travellers can stay at affordable prices. It is also conveniently located near Virupaksha temple.

  • The cost for a room is around INR 500 to 750 per night.

How to Get to Hampi?

By Air

Hampi does not have an airport of its own. The nearest domestic airport is at Bellary. The Bellary airport is around 60 kilometres from Hampi.

By Road

Hampi is around 340 kilometres from Bangalore, and it takes about 6 hours by road to reach Hampi. The route has toll roads and is towards Nelmangala.

  • Note: Only yellow-plate vehicles are allowed inside Hampi.

By Public Transport

Hospete is the closest town that is accessible by public transportation. Hospete is around 20 kilometres from Hampi. Many trains and buses operate between Bangalore and Hospete.

Is Hampi Worth Visiting?

Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage site nestled in the heart of Karnataka, is an example of the glorious Vijayanagara Empire that once reigned over South India. With its awe-inspiring Group of Monuments, Hampi is a destination that beckons travellers from far and wide, inviting them to explore its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning architectural marvels.

Founded in 1336 by the visionary brothers Harihara I and Bukka Raya I of the Sangama dynasty, the Vijayanagara Empire flourished as a beacon of wealth, power, and innovation. Its capital, also known as Vijayanagara, served as the epicentre of a thriving civilization that attracted traders and travellers from across the globe.

Today, Hampi is a living testament to this golden era of South Indian history. The ruins of Hampi’s majestic temples, palaces, and marketplaces transport visitors back in time, offering a glimpse into the empire’s grandeur and magnificence. From the iconic Virupaksha Temple to the majestic Vittala Temple with its famed stone chariot, every corner of Hampi is steeped in history and mythology, waiting to be discovered.

But Hampi is more than just a repository of ancient ruins; it is a vibrant living heritage site that pulsates life and energy. The local communities that call Hampi home add depth and character to the visitor experience, offering insights into traditional customs, art forms, and way of life.

Hampi is undoubtedly worth visiting for anyone who is passionate about history, culture, and adventure. Whether you’re an avid explorer, a history buff, or simply seeking solace amidst ancient ruins, Hampi promises an unforgettable journey through time and tradition.

Is Hampi Safe for Solo Female Travellers?

Hampi is very safe for solo female travellers. I travelled to the place alone during my second visit, and all the people were friendly and nice. However, I had a problem at the Hospete bus stop, where a man tried to make unnecessary gestures. I complained to the person at the information desk, after which I was made to sit in the office till my bus arrived. In Karnataka, if you have a problem, the best solution is to be vocal about it so the people around you can help you out in the situation.

Download the Emergency Plus app for any unforeseen situations. The app does not require a mobile network; it shows your location. This is useful to inform the emergency services in case of any emergency.
If you are a tourist, always have good comprehensive travel insurance to cover yourself in case of any emergency.

Closing Notes

Hampi must surely be on your list when you visit India. It is a place to be if you love history and architecture. I highly recommend Hampi, one of the must-visit places in Karnataka.

Have you visited Hampi? What did you love about that town? Let me know by writing to me at Solopassport@gmail.com.

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Is Hampi Worth Visiting? Complete Travel Guide to the Fascinating Heritage Site (2024)
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    PIN for later reference – Is Hampi Worth Visiting?

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    PIN for later reference – Is Hampi Worth Visiting?