Rise of the Hampi Kingdom

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Hampi in January? I had been to Hampi earlier in September and it was extremely beautiful. It’s probably the best time to visit Hampi; is what I had been feeling all along. Totally green and cloudy, perfect for photography

My friend wanted to try out his new camera and surely there is no other place better than Hampi. I was a bit hesitant at first for January but nonetheless we did a “go for it”
To be honest, Hampi didn’t disappoint in January at all

Reaching Hampi is a little task. It is very easy for Bangalore / Goa / Belgavi people to reach there but for us Mumbaikars a bit of a hectic transport leads you to the Historical World of Hampi

How to reach Hampi:
There are daily trains from Mumbai to Hubli and Hubli to Hosapete. From Hosapete you will easily get a cab or auto rickshaw to Hampi
If you can drive a car or ride a bike, there is no need to take the train from Hubli to Hosapete. You can opt for Self Driven car / bike easily available at Hubli

There is a daily train from Dadar leaving at 09:30 pm and reaching Hubli at 12:40 pm
Daily train from Hubli leaving at 1:30 pm and reaching Hosapete at 4:00 pm

If you are unable to get tickets for the train from Dadar, there is a train which leaves daily from LTT (Kurla) at 06:45 pm and reaching Hubli at 11:20 am

A sleeper class train ticket will cost you around 600 per person : Mumbai to Hosapete. That’s very cheap

The above mentioned trains pass through Pune

Hampi by Bus:
Yes, direct buses go from Mumbai to Hosapete however they are costly. These are AC sleeper buses and will cost around 1200 per person one way

By Air:
The nearest airport to Hampi is at Hubli. From here you can take a cab to Hubli bus station or go directly to Hampi

The best way to reach Hampi from Mumbai is by personal car / bike or a direct bus to Hosapete. If changing trains is not an issue, opt for the train as it will be the cheapest mode of transport

Few things before you plan a trip to Hampi:
– Hampi is a village. You may call it a small town but it still is a village
– People in Hampi are friendly and helpful
– They speak good Hindi and English
– Hampi does not have an ATM
– Hampi does not accept electronic payments at most places. Carry cash
– As it is a village, within Hampi there are no residential structures more than 1 floor
– All accommodation places within Hampi are Home stays; so expect least luxury with a high chance of insects ruining your sleep in case you keep your doors / windows open at evening
– Do not consume alcohol at their home stay
– If you come by private vehicle, you need to park it at the bus stand for a fee of 10 per day. You cannot take the car inside further till your home stay. Keep the receipt
– Respect the locals and the monuments
– The food in Hampi is ONLY Vegetarian. Having said that, the food is extremely mouth watering and the local dishes are a must try
– Hampi might be a village but the police laws are strict. Do not attempt any illegal behavior
– Do not use a tripod – as it needs permission. However, you can use hand held DSLR. Strange but true
– Do not attempt aerial photography – as it needs permission. No drones allowed
– Be a responsible traveler. If there is a law, we must abide to it
– If you need upscale accommodation, go to Kamalapura
– After February 15th till end of June, Hampi is a hot desert. Go only if you can bear the heat
– Best time to visit Hampi: September to February

“But I saw my friend’s Instagram posts, chllin’ out having beer, smoking stuff, eating fish and chicken in Hampi. What’s all that about?” – We will come to this later


2019-january-ballari-hampi
Hola, I am watching you 😀

You must have recently heard about the New York Times “List of 52 places to go in 2019”. Well, even though Hampi was popular in India, it’s now an International destination at #2 on this list. Hence the title: Rise of the Hampi kingdom just like old times


A general Itinerary to Hampi from Mumbai is of 2 nights. This much time is enough to experience Hampi. Try not to plan your Hampi trip on a long weekend or a Karnataka holiday as there will be more people

My plan is kind of to just lead these 3 people. Oh I forgot to mention, five days before we were off to Hampi, 2 more friends joined in. Everyone wants to go to Hampi these days 😀

Day 1:
We reached Hubli by train, had lunch near U mall and took a car on rent. Divided in 4, a rented car turned to be a good option
We reached Hampi by 5:00 pm and checked in to our home stay

Uncle at Sudha home stay welcomed us and the room was very good. Clean and neat with Western toilet and hot water all day. This is by far the best bet in Hampi
Check it out: Sudha home stay

After a warm bath, we visited the Virupaksha temple. The temple was closed but we could roam its premises. We also encountered the elephant who was on his way to his stable. An elephant out of no where, was alarming

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Mango tree is a famous dining place in Hampi. There is no way to avoid it while you are in Hampi. Whether you go for breakfast or lunch or dinner, you will surely like the ambiance and the food

Our dinner was at Mango Tree. Well who could have guessed that 😛 😛
We had their thali, their famous coconut lassi, a pizza and some starter items

We slept early for an early morning trek

Day 2:
We woke up at 5:00 am to trek the Matanga hill. Matanga hill is a famous spot in Hampi to enjoy a perfect sunrise. A series of steps and boulders takes you to the top in around 30 mins. Its a bit steep though and make sure you carry a torch. This trek is not for people with knee joint or respiratory issues

The early you get here, the better spot you get to watch the sunrise. Some longer staying tourists do this trek almost daily. Why? Because the sunrise is one of the best you will ever see

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2019-january-ballari-hampi

We came back to our hotel and took a warm bath. My friends wanted to savor the pan cakes at Mango tree. I was more interested in South Indian street food. We decided to do both

The Nutella pan cake with papaya juice was a blast of everything you need for the breakfast. After that, we checked out a road side eatery named Shanti. Uncle made super awesome Indian pan cake, I mean Masala Dosa and Onion Uttapam. If you like steamed idlis and dosas; do check this place for breakfast and try to go early

Options to navigate in Hampi:
– on foot – free!!!
– using rented bicycles – around 150 per day – Strong Legs go for this
– rented Mopeds or scooters – around 300 per day without petrol
– Auto rickshaw – around 1000 for full day

While in Hampi, almost everyone will recommend you to take a Guide. Even a guide will recommend you to utilize his services. I never take guides because I don’t believe their stories. For years and years I used to believe the statue at Dona Paula jetty in Goa is dedicated to a couple who died there or committed suicide. It’s not the case!!!
If you too believed that crap story search for it or check this Instagram post

Should I take a guide while in Hampi?
– If you are with a group of friends or a family, Yes you should take a guide
– They have a Rate card with them but make sure you bargain
– Guides are entertaining

My friends insisted we take a guide. It was entertaining for sure but no idea about how much of his information was True. We visited most of the well known monuments in Hampi. Some pictures to do justice to these beautiful ruins. There are pros and cons to everything. It’s up to you how you weigh your decision of taking a guide

Coming to the point of Ruins. Everyone starts off with an introduction of Hampi as a place of Ruins. The prime attractions in Hampi are not actually Ruins. These are monuments resurrected by the ASI. Over the years, all these monuments were broken or fallen or buried under their own weight. In 1984-86 something, researchers took the pains of Rebuilding the monuments based on local and historical knowledge. This effort is highly commendable. Bringing up an area of around 25 kms totally in Ruins to somewhat closer to how it must have been in the 15th century is out of the world effort. Please do not damage these monuments in any way

If you visit the Museum, you will get enough information. Whether you take a guide or not, do visit the Museum at Kundapura. They have explained it all in written, below each picture. Photography is not allowed without permission in the Museum

Places we visited today:
Matanga hill, Monolithic bull, Royal Enclosure, Kamalapura Museum, Queen’s Bath, Octagonal bath, King’s landing, Hazara Rama temple, Elephant stables, Lakshmi Narasimha temple, Saasivekaalu Ganesha, Hemkunta group of temples, Vijaya Vittala Temple, Sacred Scary Banyan Tree

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2019-january-ballari-hampi

By evening we were exhausted. We had our dinner somewhere I don’t remember. Tonight’s stay was at Anegundi, the other side of the river

PRO Tip:
Don’t take services from people who don’t understand your language. Like example, if a boat man is trying to say something like Boat ride, make sure you both have understood the price and that he must bring you back to the same place where you started. Misunderstandings might cause trouble

Hampi has two sides. Below the Tungabhadra river and above that. The part above the river is known as Anegundi and Hippie island and it seems no laws I mentioned above are applicable there

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What to expect on Hippie island and Anegundi:
– Non-vegetarian food
– Alcohol (mostly a single brand beer)
– Goan shacks like restaurants
– Electronic music
– You can even get non vegetarian food in the home stays on this side

Day 3:
After a super good and tasty breakfast, we visited the Koti Linga site. If you ask about this place, people will recommend you to take a costly boat ride. You can easily jump on a few stones and reach here for free. The google maps pointer is correct and some people on the way will help you for sure

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Coming back we visited Sanapur lake. Sanapur lake is a huge water reservoir and if you know swimming, if you really know swimming, go take a dip

Post lunch we visited a Sunset point on the Hippie island

Check out this video in HD for a dramatic sunset

 

We loved the home stay so much, we stayed here for one more night. It’s kind of a row house with 3 rooms. 6-8 people can easily stay here. If you have a group of 6-8 people, I highly recommend you to stay here. The owner Murali is a friendly person
Check it out: Murali house

The cherry on the top is, the neighbor Aunty cooks delicious food both veg and non-veg. For both days we had amazing breakfast made by her and a chicken dinner on the 2nd night. I don’t think you will find such tasty home made food anywhere in Hampi

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You must have noticed, the pictures have a lot of greenery in them. Well thanks to the winter banana plantations and coconut trees. Should I visit Hampi in winter? Surely Yes!

How much would it cost for a Solo budget traveler trip to Hampi: (Mumbai as the start point)
– If you choose sleeper class train tickets (to and fro): 1200
– Food while on train (to and fro): 300
– Hosapete to Hampi (to and fro): 100-150
– Hampi monuments one day pass: 40
– Bicycle rent (2 days): 300
– Stay in Hampi (2 nights): 1200

Leaving food and any other services you use like (guide/boat ride etc), you have a solo budget Hampi trip in INR: 3190

Day 4:
Our train to Mumbai was at 10:00 pm today. Just because we had a rented car, we decided to go further to Badami. We wouldn’t have done it by public transport

Our visit to Badami was a quicky! But we were so amazed by the caves and the tall walls, I am surely going here again sometime soon. Badami needs more time to explore along with the nearby places of Aihole and Pattadakal

That’s the end of my long write up. If you would like to see more images and places, please do follow our Instagram account: movingmarathastudios

Some pictures from Badami

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2019-january-badami-caves-badami


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