Hampi, India is a place of indescribable beauty and magnetism. It is a protected UNESCO World Heritage site, Hampi. If a place holds the spirit of those who have lived there, then it has been continuously inhabited with harmony since pre-history, and every person who is lucky enough to visit is the inheritor of the full accumulated mass of that spirit. It was the bustling capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, which ruled over South India from 1336 to 1646 AD. Many of the buildings and temples of the powerful Vijananagara remain pristine, nestled among jungle and boulders in a valley along a river. The temples are extraordinary artifacts of Indian antiquity; roam at will among them, reading the multitudinous stone carvings, and you will find personal treasures that speak directly and only to you. The pace of life here is slow; each day, the rising and setting sun makes the place dance in the light; a performance that has been repeated millions of times, and yet is never tired. Within the ruins themselves, near the main temple, which still functions as a place to worship the goddess Kali, a small town has arisen to provide for the needs and desires of the people who come from all over the world to see Hampi. You’ll find a broad range of accommodation, wonderful South Indian food, and meet kindred spirits from all corners of the traveling world.
Things to do in
Although there are many things to do in Hampi, there is only one thing to do in Hampi: Explore. You can buy a single ticket to gain entrance into the three most notable temple sites. If you have the budget, it is nice to do so, to support the efforts of UNESCO in their preservation of the landmark. However, if you chose not to, you will still have a huge expanse of wonderful ruins to explore at your leisure, and you will not feel that you have missed out on the Hampi experience. The best way to explore the ancient city is to rent bicycles in town for fifty rupees (about a dollar), and make a circuit around the site, stopping at whim. Scavenger hunt: try to find the Hampi Badavi Linga.
If you’re a climber, it is nice to summit one of the hills in the area. The landscape around Hampi is distinct; it is comprised of massive singular boulders, which seem to have fallen from the heavens rather than risen up from the ground. If you chose to go up the hill behind the Monolithic Bull temple (which is exactly what it sounds like, a massive stone bull that sits in the shade), you will get an excellent 360 degree view of the lush Hampi valley, and you can find a cave which houses an ancient and well-worshipped Shiva linga. Hampi is populated by priests and holy men who live among the ruins and care for the ancient idols.
All the hotels in Hampi are for backpackers. When you arrive, shop around for rooms; you’ll vind good rooms from Rs 200. If you need AC or television in the room, stay in the nearby city of Hospet
Budget Hotels in Hampi
Santhi Guest House—a quiet courtyard to relax with a golden chillum, Hampi
Vicky’s Guest House—one of the larger in the village
Midrange Hotels in Hampi
Sri Lakshmi Golden Beach Resorts—a wide range of rooms
Luxury Hotels in Hampi
—another reasonable and convenient option