Before you dismiss Hampi as just another spiritual Mecca full of temples, we give you 10 reasons why Hampi is so much more than that. Hampi is an 'Experience the place' than 'See the place and strike off your bucket list'. It is the kind of place that speaks to your senses. It has a certain vibe, charm and eeriness (in a good way) that is just magnetic. Be prepared to be enamored by its different yet intriguing beauty that will throw you into a spell that you do not want to get out of. Pack your bags and head now. You will come back with a lot of memories, stories and fuel to keep you going until your next trip to Hampi.
A Different Kind Of Beauty
Nothing looks more attractive than decaying beauty. If withered, fading beauty appeals to you, this is your go-to place. This captures 'wabi-sabi' beauty in its finest form. It is the kind of beauty that is not in your face, but the type that is patiently waiting to be explored. If something can look good even it its ruins, it is Hampi. Every crack has a tale to tell; every crevice has a secret to spill. Just listen intently.
For The Much Needed 'Me-Time'
Do you want to space-out for a bit? This is the ideal place to nestle and engage in some major introverting. Almost every cranny of Hampi is conducive for this. Rent a cycle for a day and tread off the beaten path and find yourself a suitable spot to snuggle behind a massive boulder or sit happily amidst the ruins or meditate under a tree full of monkeys. (No, the monkeys do not disturb you or hurt you). It is the kind of place where day-dreaming is the norm. It is considered absolutely normal to dream all day, slip into a reverie and not a fly is going to bother you.
For Those Who Don't Mind The Tiring Walk
Like walking? Hampi is best explored by peregrination. The walk may lead you to a silent conduit, or a suspicious cave or a sunny hilltop, which in all likelihood will be missed if you hire an auto or take a motorized vehicle. Since, it is best experienced by foot, come here with a lot of time on hand.
Brush Up Your History
Was history your favorite subject in school? Does the past intrigue you? If yes, Hampi is your kind of place. Get a guide who will help fill you up with some interesting insights about Hampi, which used to be the Vijayanagara Empire, centuries ago. To your pleasant surprise the guides speak pretty neat English and ramble a bit of French too. If you are a foreigner, they are going to throw in some accent too which surprising is not so repelling. It is important that you get the right guide, as some of them barely scratch the surface and give out half baked knowledge. Alternatively, it would be best to pick a book on the history of Hampi, thumb through the pages and get teleported to an era that was strikingly prepossessing. A lot of books are available in the book stores in Hampi Bazar.
If you are pursuing architecture or have an eye for detailing, this is the place for you. The Stone Chariot which is an exemplary monument of Hampi, is truly an architectural spectacle. Even a hundred photos would not do justice to capture the beauty that it is. You can spend hours just admiring this iconic relic, forget studying the intricate carvings. This is just one among the 200 odd monuments which are equally striking. The Virupaksha temple, Hazara Rama temple, Lotus Mahal, Queen’s Bath, Elephant Stable and Pushkarani are some of the notable monuments of architectural significance.
For The Archaeology Enthusiasts
Does digging the ground leave you digging your brains too? Hampi is a haven for archaeology aficionados. It is very likely that you may spot a few archaeologists in the arena and if you get lucky you can engage in a tête-à-tête with one of them. Renowned archaeologist, Mr. Prakash Nayakanda is often seen giving lectures here. Be there at the right time and you could freeload on some archaeological gyaan.
For The Nature Lovers & Adrenaline Junkies
The never ending paddy and banana plantations are what make Hampi's landscape, of course apart from the massive boulders dotting the entire city. One of the most popular choices of stay is Shanti guest house. Every cottage has a patio overlooking the picturesque green fields.
Although, Hampi is not predominantly known for its adventure, rock climbing is slowly catching up. One could also trek the Matanga hill and Hemakuta hills. They make for fine sunset points. If not anything, crossing the Tungabadhra River by sitting in a coracle which poses a good possibility of tossing you into the river on a bad weather day is an adventure in itself.
A Rendezvous With A Sadhu
Feeling empty and need a quick refill? Confide to a Sadhu or just have a breezy conversation. Some of the coolest Sadhus reside in Hampi. They speak your language without leaving you intimidated. One round of discussion and you will begin to feel like it is a ‘Shanti’ (Read peaceful) day.
Hub For Meeting New People
The quintessential traveler would not feel complete without meeting new people and hearing new experiences. Hampi will not disappoint with this, too. It has people pouring in from all places, mostly on a quest, some of them looking for answers and some to forget the questions. They are interesting faces with different backgrounds. Many with stories to tell and many others who want to create stories. A brief chat with them will help you gain perspective and if you are lucky you may find answers to some of your questions through them.
For The Free-Spirited
There is a certain vibe about Hampi that goes back to the ‘basics’. Do not expect plush accommodations in Hampi. You will find just the bare-essentials. A hammock or a swing is the fanciest thing you will find in a guest house. It embraces minimalism and celebrates freedom. It is the kind of set-up that is for travelers and not for tourists. It is for people who observe, listen and let the joy of stillness surround them.
Where to stay
Stay in Hampi is quite cheap. It also depends if you happen to visit the place during the season. (October-Jan)
Mowgli guest house, Shanti guest house and Hema's are quite popular and come recommended. The room tariffs during an off season could go as low as Rs 100/- per person and as high as Rs 1000/- per room during the peak seasons.
Looking for budget hostels? Look no further, here is a list of the best in the county.
Heading out of town for the weekend? Check these waterfalls off your list.
Have a long weekend and have no idea where to head? This list will help you decide.
Do tell us about your experience in Hampi. Is it your kind of place, too? Tell us in the comments below.