Hampi is a unique destination since it offers both natural and cultural beauty. This place has fascinated me so much that I actually went there to explore and experience the wonders this it has to offer. Here I come up with a list of things that will make your Hampi trip easier and worthwhile. You require a couple of weeks or months to experience whole of Hampi, but if you're hoping to go there for a shorter duration, these are the things you shouldn't miss out on.
1. Visit the temples in Hampi
Yes, I really mean it. As cliche as it may sound, the Vijaya Vittala Temple and the Virupaksha Temple is worth a visit. Each pillar and each sculpture has a story to it. With a history that runs back to centuries, on studying the temple architecture you will that it has a global influence. Many visitors from all over the globe came to the Vijayanagara Kingdom ever since it existed.
2. Explore the ruins and boulders around Hampi
If you truly want to get lost in this 15th century town, then you need to go past what is easily accessible and walk right along the middle of the ruins. The experience really kicks ass. Some important ruins are the Queens Bath, Elephants stables, Lotus Mahal etc. Hampi offers a lot of beautiful and photogenic boulders. No, I really mean it when we say photogenic boulders. And these are just minutes away from the main temples. So, go check them out and indulge in some bouldering if interested.
3. Take a coracle ride in the Tungabhadra River
A coracle is a round local boat and it is maneuvered in arcs. It is a lot of fun and a great way to experience the Tungabadra river. The coracle service shuts by 5.00 p.m. So make sure you go before that. There are choracle services right behind the famous Virupaksha Temple.
4. Watch the sunset
What is the point of all the rocks if you cannot see the colors of a sunset? Just climb whatever you can climb and watch the orange sunlight fall on the ruins and change the colors of the entire town. It is one of the easiest things to do in Hampi. Famous places to experience the sunset: Matunga Hill, Hemakutta Hill.
5. Ride a bicycle or a luna around Hampi
Hampi roads are made for bicycles and lunas! Just rent a bike (which is available at all corners of the town) and ride without stopping at least for an hour. Let the sights and sounds of the town blend into your ride.
6. Go across the Hampi river to the hippie island
Cross the river and go to the Hippie Island where you will find cheaper places to stay and way more peace. The guesthouses here are small cottages or huts with basic amenities like bed, electricity and bathrooms only. There's no phone connectivity on this side of Hampi, but some guesthouses offer WiFi. You can just relax with friends or read on the hammock in the balcony facing the river or lush green fields. The motor boats behind Virupaksha Temple take you to the village of Virupapur Gadde.
7. Relax near the Tungabadra river, also known as the Hampi River
Just lie down alongside the river and look up at the sky. If needed, pick a slightly secluded spot to enjoy clear skies, slight breeze and the sight of water.
8. Go see the rural side of Hampi
Hampi is not all about the ruins and it is a shame if you do not see any of the pristine sights of the village. Flanked by farms, trees and general greenery, the sights are worth a vacation all by themselves. The fruits in Hampi are so fresh and sweet. Also try the amla with salt and spices sold at any corner.
9. Take a walk around Hampi
There is no better way to experience a place than to walk. You get the experience the deep crevices of an area, the sense beyond the visual, something you would not do if you did not walk. Walk around and explore to do justice to this eclectic place.
10. Chill out at the Riverside Cafes in Hampi
Restaurants in Hampi are unlike any part of India. They are thatched huts where you leave your shoes out and laze on the cushioned floors as you sip on a drink and interact with global hippies.
Hope you have a great trip to Hampi!