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Majestic Ruins, Coracle Rides And Cycling Tours At Hampi

    What Is It?

    Hampi is a small village in Northern Karnataka famous for the beautiful ruins dotting its landscape; a reminder of the once-striving Vijayanagara Empire. It is also a religious town—the Virupaksha temple hosts a natural Shiva linga worshipped by thousands from southern India.

    How To Get There?

    Take a flight to Bangalore, and the easiest way to go from there is by road. Buses and trains run from Bangalore and Mysore to Hospet every day. From the Hospet bus stop/train station, one can take an autorickshaw or a public bus to the Hampi gate.

    What To See/ Do When You Reach

    Hampi is not the best place if you want luxury travel; it is beautiful in its barren-ness. For miles, you may not see anything other than huge rocks and ruins. But if you’ve ever been fond of history or architecture, this is a trip worth taking.

    The main bazaar area stands as a witness to bygone eras when spice and gold would be traded by the locals. With the temple on one side, and the monolithic bull {a huge two-story bull structure, signifying Nandi—Shiva’s vehicle—standing at the end of the bazaar} on the other, there’s a lot of history to take in here.

    Treks are recommended if you want to see the old temples, bazaars, old palaces and ancient mandaps {ceremony halls} on your own. We also took a 3-hour long cycling tour which took us around the ruins and ended with a scrumptious lunch typical of Karnataka.

    Where To Stay?

    For die hard meat eaters, stay in Anegundi on the other side of the river. It’s the mini-Goa like place where you can sit by candlelight, eat wood-fired pizza and talk to travellers from all over the world. If you like your hotels to be cleaner and bigger, though, stick to the old Hampi side. To cross the river, one can use the ferry or the coracles {highly recommended}.

    Rooms all over Hampi and Anegundi are basic in the amenities they provide. Most hotels have no hot water, and some rooms are just a cot to sleep on. Do you research before you go there, and save yourself all the surprises.

    The locals you meet here are warm and friendly, though a tiny bit curious. They’re also fluent in English, Russian, Spanish, and more.

    Best Time To Visit

    December to February. Any other time is unthinkably hot. A lot of travellers we spoke to have been tackling the summer heat by jumping into the river and swimming till the sun sets over the ruins in the distance.