Hampi Experience: The Bus from Bangalore reached nice and early, a little before sunrise, so we walked down to the Tungabadra River.There was a vendor selling really nice chai for Rs 10 per glass. We hung around by the rocks looking at temple priests performing rituals and watched with peaceful smiles as the temple elephant came by for a good rub down.We had about 2 hours to kill, as the ferry service starts at 730am, and we were going to stay on the other side of the river. The early parts of the morning in February are wonderfully pleasant.It does get hot between 1130am and 330pm.There are plenty of guest houses on the town side of Hampi if you prefer to start your day earlier than 730am and if you want to hang around late. The last ferry is at 530pm. If you're a backpacker,can rough it out and love History, make a bee line for Hampi. For a history and archaeological buff like me, this little town was a big treat.
Food, sight-seeing and shopping: Ah food.glorious food. The restaurants in Hampi serve mostly European and Israeli cuisine. If you really really want to eat Indian fare, there are a couple of places in Hampi Bazaar which have some on their menus. The menus are almost identical at all these places.During our 2 day stay we ate mostly at Bobby's (on the other side of the River).. friendly very friendly service, calm and peaceful atmosphere and great food. Do try the French Breakfast and the breads they bake. Drop in to Shanti Cafe (a reggae inspired psychedelic setting with excellent fare) for cold coffee and chocolate cake. It's to die for.Have dinner at the Mango Tree, but do try and get there around 530 or 6pm. The view is brilliant. and the restaurant is just one BIG surprise.
Visit all the ruins.Pick up a map at a local store at the bazaar. Each one has a story not to be missed. On the first day we got a trusted auto driver who took us around and generously shared with us, the historical events that shaped this incredibly satisfying town. We hired bicycles on the second day to visit the places we really wanted to spend more time at. It was a hard thing to do, as most roads leading to the sites are uphill, and the weather was not exactly our best friend.But for the adventurous, its awesome! Do carry enough drinking water and make sure your camera batteries are well charged. Also make sure the wheels are filled up and in good order. There are no repair shops anywhere.
Hampi is great for shopping if you like casual street wear. It's a great place for cotton. If you find something you like and its not in your color or size, the shop keeper will tailor it for you. Most of them have the sewing machines right there.Brightly colored bags and lambani jewelery are in abundance. You can get souvenirs at stores near the Virupaksha Temple. Bargain to your hearts content!If you like notebooks or fancy stuff made of handmade paper, a little book store at the corner of the cobbled street running by the side of the temple is worth a visit.
Activities & things to do: The main attraction at Hampi is to visit the ruins of the Vijaynagara Kingdom. There are plenty of ways to take a tour. You can hire almost any kind of vehicle. The best way to get around is by auto or motorbike. If you're the adventurous kind, do hire bicycles or simply walk.
Food is great if you like to experiment. You will get a wonderful variety of European and Israeli dishes. Nothing we ate was anything short of yummy!
Do shop.. it's therapeutic :)
Take loads of pictures. It's worth it.
Even if you're not staying on the other side of the river, take a ride on a coracle if you can and if you're game. The ride is not insured though!
Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: From Bangalore, Hampi can be reached by bus or train. All trains and most buses go till Hospet. You need to take another local bus or an auto to get to Hampi. The train ride is said to be longer than necessary, so if you're strapped for time, take a bus. Do make your bookings (both journeys) in advance.
Accommodation is plenty. I suggest not to make reservations ahead. The norm is to get there and check out 2 or 3 places and take a call.
Hampi has frequent power cuts, so make sure your phones and camera batteries are well charged.
Wear lose light cotton clothes and good comfortable footwear. You will be walking about quite a bit.
Be careful of touts.. these include guides,auto drivers and middle men working for guest houses. Avoid carrying valuables on this trip. Drink plenty of water to avoid getting run down by the heat.You must carry good sun screen , a hat and shades.
There are lots of monkeys at the ruins. They are not friendly!
HolidayIQ.com is a premier holiday information portal powered by India's first & biggest travel community; enabling travellers to first discover numerous vacation choices, then plan holiday trips in full detail and finally, share holiday experiences with millions of other travellers.