2011 promises to be a good year too. And we decided to kick-start it with a prominent destination. Well, to be more honest, we didn’t really plan it that way. It was almost an impromptu plan. The deciding factor was an Ad in the papers announcing the Hampi Festival. Usually, the Hampi Festival happens during November of every year. But this time round it was moved to January to coincide with the 500th year of the coronation of Emperor Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara kindgdom.
An overnight train from Bangalore will bring you to Hospet, the nearest railway station to Hampi, 13 kms away. Now Hampi is world-famous tourist destination, and like every popular tourist place in India, people will try to trick at the drop of a hat. Hampi is no exception. There are many options reach Hampi from Hospet. You could take a taxi, Autorickshaw, shared 7-seater autorickshaw or bus. Depending on the size of your wallet, you can choose your ride. The Autorickshaws cost a whopping Rs 100-125, whereas the shared 7-seater rickshaw costs a mere Rs.15.
Accommodations in Hampi is nothing spectacular to talk about. There are a handful of houses-turned-guesthouses that takes care of accommodating the tourists. You cannot but wonder that these guesthouses are overpriced, especially what with the Hampi Festival shooting prices through the roof. We paid Rs 750 for a lousy room in Santhosh Guesthouse, which according to a banner is recommended by “Lovely” Planet. But their roof-top restaurant is probably the best in this sleepy town. All guesthouses/ shops/ restaurants are located in a single street leading to the Virupaksha Temple. There are however good hotels in Hospet, if you want to stay comfortably.
We spent two days in Hampi and that’s how I’ll classify the blogs here that way: Day I and Day II.
Day I started with us renting a bicycle for Rs 50 a day which in hindsight was a complete waste of money for that day. We went about exploring the Tungabhadra side of Hampi. On this side of Virupaksha the major attraction is the Vittala Temple, the King’s Balance, the Pushkarni, the Achyutaraya Temple, Matanga Hill, Hemakunta Complex, Lakshmi Narasimha Temple and the Anjeyanadri Hill among others. Well, the list doesn’t end there but those are what we could cover! And yes, if you are a budget traveler you can cover all this on foot/coracle.
Day II we covered Virupaksha Temple, Krishna Temple, Underground Temple, the Noblemen’s quarters, Royal Enclosures, Zanana Enclosure, Lotus Mahal, Elephant Stables, Mahanavmi Dibba, Hazara Rama Temple and the Stepped Tank. Hiring a bicycle or moped is an absolute necessity here.
Words of Caution:
- Negotiate with all vendors before doling out money.