Route from Bangalore to Hampi
Bangalore --> Tumkur --> Chitradurga ( on National Highway 4)
Chitradurga --> Hospet( on National Highway 13)
We started from Bangalore around 12 o clock at midnight and reached Hampi around 10 am. We would have probably reached a couple of hours earlier, but we were stuck in Bangalore traffic from midnight till 3 o clock in the morning and it was raining cats and dogs leading to a terrible traffic chaos in the outskirts of the city near Tumkur Road.
Anyways after reaching Hampi we started looking for a place to stay. It seemed everything was booked for the weekend and we have arrived as unwelcome guests. Just to give a brief idea , Hampi has very little lodging facilities. It is mostly guest houses which are just normal houses payable for guests. As such the facilities are bare minimum. On top of that Hampi being on the UNESCO World heritage site there are lots of visitors from Europe and Americas, Japan etc who have no idea about rates in India and have pampered the localites a bit with their $$s. As a result we also ended up paying 500 Rs (INR) for a clumsy room for the night. We were just happy to see it had a attached bathroom and a mosquito net and above all a comfortable bed. It was called the Santosh Guest House , just beside the parking lot at the entrance of Hampi Bazar(Bazar means Market).
After getting fresh we saw it was best to have some brunch ( breakfast + lunch) at the local shops inside Hampi Bazaar. Here I need to mention that all shops in Hampi have only vegetarian items( at least we did not find any non-vegetarian).We settled for a restaurant called Geetha Restaurant which had a table giving a nice view of the road inside the bazaar leading to the gate of Virupaksha Temple.
We had some nice hot chapatti sabzi ( bread with mixed veg curry ) and similar poori sabzi all of which was prepared there and then and was steaming hot and very fresh. 3 Pooris + sabzi = 30 Rs2 Chapatti + sabzi = 20 RsTea was very costly at 12 Rs a glass which was of gigantic size so 6 of us had 3 glasses of tea divided by 2.It was a very nice meal except for the constantly buzzing flies and the occasional sound of monkeys jumping on the corrugated roof top of the restaurant.Incidentally it seemed if you are adventurous then you can get anything from Israeli salad to Tibetan momo here.

The Sacred Center itinerary
Virupaksha Temple --> Hemakuta Hills & Hemakuta Temples --> Kadalekalu Ganesha --> Krishna Temple --> Krishna Bazaar and pool --> Sasivekalu Ganesha --> Back To Hampi bazaar
VIRUPARKSHA TEMPLE : Here you have to first enter the first gate and leave your shoes. Then there is a entrance fee , which was not needed for us somehow after they took 100 Rs for 2 cameras. (Unfortunately it is some absurd amount for foreigners - which is very bad)Virupaksha Temple is very nice and its an active temple and even today lots of people still pray and give pooja. I saw few more deities this time than I saw last time a few years back. But the old elephant is still there ( not sure if its the same one that I saw on my last trip). This time it was busy blessing people in exchange of cash.
After Virupaksha Temple we walked to see the Matangi Tank beside the temple which seemed to be in fact part of the temple complex itself.Then we moved to the right of the Virupaksha Temple to see the Hemakuta hill and its temples. It was a dull cloudy day so we enjoyed the trip on the stone very much. After some photos we moved downhill on the other side just in front of Kadavekalu Ganesha. Unlike Hemakuta which was barren and devoid of people this was right on the main road and hordes of excited tourists thronged the area. We moved towards the Krishna Temple which again gave us a serene feeling. With hardly a soul inside the temple , we enjoyed its wonderful structure and its present day inhabitants some squirrels like messengers of God playing in the compound without disturbance or fear.
Next we moved to see the market place beside Krishna Temple and a pool long deserted by civilization where we caught our breath a little and moved on to see the Sasivekalu Ganesha. Here again there was a big crowd. It is very ironic that people till date still crowd the ruins of the temples which have deities inside them and ignore the ones where the idols are probably destroyed. But the best thing to note is that we did not need to leave our shoes except Virupaksha Temple( and latter at Kodandarama Temple)
After this long round in the afternoon we sat for a cool drink of lime soda in a local restaurant and enjoyed the chatter of the local people.
Hampi Bazaar --> Straight to Monolithic Bull --> Take stairs and some trek to Achyut Raya Temple --> There is a small trek to a mountain top which we skipped and headed towards Courtesan's Street leading to Kempa Bhupa Marg --> Kodandarama Temple --> Varaha Temple --> River Tungabhadra was overflowing.
Some of us were too tired so they decided to rest , the rest of us walked towards Monolithic Bull. There was a film shooting going on here and lots of curious onlookers gathered to witness that. I was busy taking some photos on the stairs beside the Monolithic bull when a lathi wielding guard asked me to clear the line of sight of the camera. That pissed me off badly , film companies are always welcome as long as they do not disturb normal tourists and play loud music completely devastating the feeling one gets amongst such ancient ruins.
Ignoring the elite crowd of movie buffs I moved forward and fished a short trek to AcyutRaya's Temple which was best when I came here last time. This time the ruins were cleaned and the temple structures were organized and its certainly going to be the next tourist hotspot.
One point I wish to mention here of what we witnessed here was that some Japanese girls were being harassed by some local lads. I couldn't understand what went on between them but it seemed that the local lads were too keen to get photos with the Japanese girls which got a bit ugly when some perverted snob got too close for comfort.
On the left of The Courtesan's street there was the Kodandarama Temple beside that was the furious Tungabhadra river already flowing over its brims.We spent a quite time there and moved to see the Varaha Temple which was a deserted place. After that we decided to have a rest on the banks of the river where it was furiously gushing and we could see fish jumping in its furious waters.

End of day 1We had some trouble finding a proper restaurant in Hospet. Finally we had dinner in a restaurant called Manasi Garden Restaurant which was quite good.
Sacred Center continued Day 2
Hampi Bazaar --> Straight to Monolithic Bull --> Take stairs and some trek to Achyut Raya Temple --> There is a small trek to a mountain top which we skipped and headed towards Courtesan's Street leading to Kempa Bhupa Marg --> Kodandarama Temple --> Varaha Temple --> Further to King's Balance --> Vitthala Temple --> Inscribed Vishnu Temple Back by the same route to Hampi bazaar
On day two we had to leave early. We wanted to stay another day but we were informed that it was booked so they cannot spare us. However they were nice and offered us to keep our luggage. We however kept it in the car we had come in.After a great breakfast again we set off again from Monolithic Bull. We saw the Achyut Raya Temple again and then passing the Varaha Temple we again sat down beside the Tungabhadra. This time we saw a fisherman catching a good booty with his expertise.
Then we moved on and saw the King's Balance on the way. Next we saw the Vitthala Temple, the temple with musical pillars. But unfortunately that part was cordoned off due to maintenance work.However still we enjoyed the temple and then had a short walk beside the Tungabhadra river where we saw the Inscribed Vishnu Temple.
Then we walked back to Hampi bazaar again ,same route we had come.
We had a heavy lunch at Geetha Restaurant. This time we had rice items.Veg+Egg fried Rice/ Plain Rice / Dal Fry /Alu Fry / etc. 6 people with a lot of cokes and a lot of food it was very good and cost us about 500 Rupees total.
After Lunch we bid goodbye to Hampi Bazaar and took our cab directly to Royal Center
Royal Center Itinerary
Hazara Rama Temple --> King's Audience Hall --> Underground Shrine Chamber --> Mahanavami Dibba ( A pyramid like stone structure)Royal Enclosure
Next we moved to the Zanana Enclosure Ranga Temple --> Lotus Mahal --> Elephant Stables --> Queen's Tomb
NOTE: Same ticket that we bought in Vitthala Temple is valid here also
We started the Royal Center a bit late, I knew we needed another day for this but then due to bookings in the lodgings we had to leave. We got some other places to stay , and even saw few foreigners staying in very shabby places , open nets on the verandah and all but we decided to return to Bangalore at night. So the first thing we did was to reach the best place in Royal Center the Hazara Rama Temple which was indeed a beautiful piece of art. It had stories on all its walls and pillars. From there we moved on to the Royal Enclosure and I was thrilled to see the underground shrine chamber.
While my friend's sat on the Mahanavami Dibba I hovered around the royal bath and its huge stepped tank which was definitely a treat to watch and the aqueducts which brought water to these tanks.
After this we took a shortcut through the fields to Zanana Enclosure. It is a guarded enclosure where we found the tickets for the Vitthala temple were still valid here. First there was the Queen's tomb and near the walls were the huge primitive guard towers. But the best thing to notice here was the Lotus Mahal which surely looked beautiful even in the late afternoon.
The elephant stables were huge and on another side was some archaeological exhibits. I was photographing these happily when someone informed that photography was prohibited. Its sometimes seems so silly that government bodies like ASI can prohibit you from taking photos of Lord Ganesha idol of the 15th Century which is lying open without any care.
Bygones ,we moved on after a refreshing drink of green coconut water to see the Ranga Temple , somehow the guard did not let us inside.
Just as we were planning what to do next it started raining buckets. We ran into the shelter of our cab and then sped towards the Tungabhadra Dam which we wanted to see. Getting down at the entrance we had to buys tickets of 5 rupees each , which was not clear why we have to buy tickets to see a dam and no one collecting the money was a government official. But then it seemed to be the law of the day.
After a lazy stroll we walked back to the cab and started off for Bangalore. Midway we haled once at Chitradurga for dinner in an empty deserted restaurant.
Apart from the tyre puncture and the very slow driver we reached home safely at 6 o clock in the morning. It was a wonderful trip per head at only 2500 Rupees(INR) approximately per head.
The sites to watch out for
Best site for maps and details : http://www.hampi.in/
Other good site : http://www.karnatakatourism.org/hampi.htm
For more queries contact me for free gyan.

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