Recently, I went for an ambitiously planned three-day tour of Hampi, covering Aihole, Patadkal, and Badami caves.
It is challenging to put all three days in one go, and hence I am going to write a series of posts on Hampi.
The first one is an overview of Hampi giving a gist of the three-day tour.
The second write-up is on the architectural wonders of Hampi — must-visit places of Hampi.
The third speaks of the religious aspect of Hampi — covering the Anegudi side of Hampi and its importance.
The fourth one is about Aihole, Patadkal, and Badami caves.
We first boarded the Hampi Express from Bangalore at night. It was a quick overnight journey. We woke up to see the Bellary railway station painted all in red. Bellary town is famous for its iron ores, and there was a goods' vehicle passing around the station, loaded with the red sand. Indeed a beautiful sight!
We got down at Hospet and had our rooms booked at Hotel Malligi. We hired a car for the rest of three days. Having a car seemed to be handier to finish the majority of places in the three days hassle-free.
We picked up the map (given below) from hotel Malligi and covered everything in it!
Hampi is divided by the Tungabadhra river. The top of the map, which is the other side of the river, is called Anegudi. Anegudi is much more ancient than Hampi. This part is for religious people, as you will not find much architecturally beautiful temples here.
The other side of the Hampi has all the Vijayanagara ruins. There is also a tiny stretch marked as 'walk' on the map. This is a small 2 to 3 kilometres walk from Vittala temple to Virupaksha temple. This stretch can be covered by walking, and you must take a walk for the scenic beauty it has to offer.
I felt that the stay at Hospet or on the ruins side of Hampi is much better with a homely feel. To commute within Hampi, there are options of two-wheelers and bicycles which can be hired quickly. We had a car.
Whatever be the mode of commute, a lot of places require to be covered by foot. Most of the ruins are in clusters. So we reached a place in our vehicle and then got down to explore it on foot. Honestly, it doesn't matter if it is a two-wheeler or a car, ultimately you have to explore on foot.
It would be more convenient to have four days at your disposal to see every nook and corner in Hampi.
We reached around 8 am on our first day. Hence by the time, we started our tour, it was 10:00 am.
On the first day, we covered Virupaksha temple to Vittala temple by road and everything on its way. By the time we returned, it was around 8 pm.
Vittala temple takes a long time to cover. It is better to finish the Vittala temple by 5 pm and reached the sunset point by 5.30 pm. If you are lucky, you get to see a clear sunset view. If you are more fortunate, you get to feel the breeze and have a wonderful time on the rocks.
The next day we started as early as 7 am and headed off to Aihole, Badami, and Patadkal. We rushed and covered it in a day. I would suggest that it is better to have two days for this. For Aihole is also like Hampi with many ruins and we can spend considerable time there. By the time we returned, it was 8.30 in the night.
The next day we covered Anjanadri hills, the Anegudi side, and the walking stretch from Virupaksha to Vittala temple. We skipped the bear sanctuary as we heard it is not worth the time. You would have to sit on one side of the hillock and watch the bears getting fed on another side at a particular time. You have t be there at that very time.
The Thungabadra dam was also dry, and we just saw it on the way while passing through the highways. It seemed like water would be released only on August 15th.
What to eat at Hampi -
We thoroughly enjoyed our meals of jowar roti with Anne gai (brinjal curry) with accompaniments like shengai podi, gurellu podi, curd pickles, and onions. Also famous is the kadak roti, which is like the papad version of jawar roti. It didn't fancy me as much as the jowar roti with enne gai.
The breakfast was also supper yummy with idli, dosa, and paddu along with chutney and sambar. Yet another yummy snack was kardant. It is a sweet rich in dry fruits and nuts and can be stored for a month. On the way to Aihole is a small town called Amingad where every street there is a shop for kardant. The rest of the food was as usual north Karnataka oota :)
What to buy -
Plenty of souvenir shops are lined up around these touristy places. A lot of colourful junk stuff has been lined up to attract foreigners. I, however, did not buy any stuff from there.
Read through the rest of the Hampi series to walk through Hampi.
Hampi Series II - An Architectural Wonder/Wander
Hampi Series III - Hampi for the Religious