Recently went for an ambitiously planned three day tour of Hampi, Aihole, Patadkal and Badami caves. It is very difficult to put all three days on one page and hence am going to write a series of posts on Hampi.
First one being Hampi overview, a gist of the three day tour.
Second is Hampi an architectural wonder - must visit places of Hampi
Third is Hampi for the religious - covering the Anegudi side of Hampi and its importance
Fourth is Aihole, patadkal and Badami caves.
We boarded the Hampi express from Bangalore in the night. It was an overnight swift journey and woke up to see the bellary railway station painted in red. Bellary town is famous for its iron ores and there were 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 three days to cover Hampi, Anegudi, Aihole, Patadkal and Badami. Having a car seemed to be more handy to finish majority of places in the three days.
We picked up the below map 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 those who are religious 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 small stretch marked as 'walk' in the map. This is a small 2 to 3km walk from Vittala temple to Virupaksha temple. This stretch can be covered only by walk and it is a scenic walk along the river and a must do.
Most of the hotels in Hampi were lined up on the other side of the river. There is a motor boat ferrying people and bicycles from one bank to another. This stretch with numerous home stays, guest houses and souvenir shops run by Indians and foreigners looked a bit out of place and commercialized. I felt stay at Hospet or on the ruins side of Hampi is much better with nativity. To commute within Hampi, there are options of two wheelers and bicycles which can be hired. We had a car. Whatever be the mode of commute, lot of places require to be covered by foot. Most of the ruins are in clusters. So we reach a place in our vehicle and then explore by foot, it doesn't really matter if it is two wheeler or car.
It is handy to have 4 days for the trip. We reached the first day around 8am and hence to start our tour it became around 10am. On the first day we covered from Virupaksha temple to Vittala temple by road and everything on the way. By the time we returned it was around 8pm. Vittala temple takes long time to cover. It is better to finish Vittala temple by 5pm in the evening and reach the sunset point by 5.30pm.. If you are luckier you get to see a clear sun set view, if you are lucky you get to feel the breeze and have a wonderful time on the rocks. The next day we started as early as 7am and headed off to Aihole, Badami and Patadkal. We rushed and covered it in a day. But then it is better to have 2 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, Anegudi side and covered the walking stretch from Virupaksha to Vittala temple. We chucked the bear sanctuary as we heard it is not really worth the time. Looks like you will sit on one side of the hillock and watch bears getting fed on another side and there is a specific time during which bears will be fed and you need to make it at that time. Thungabadra dam was also dry and we just saw it on the way while passing through the highways. Looks like water will be released only on August 15th.
What to eat at Hampi - we enjoyed our meals of jowar roti with enne gai (brinjal curry) with many accompaniments of shengai podi, gurellu podi, curd pickles and onions. Also famous is the kadak roti which is like the papad version of jowar roti. It didn't fancy me as much as the jowar roti with enne gai. The breakfast was also yum with idli, dosa and paddu along with chutney and sambar. Another yummy snack was kardant. On the way to Aihole is a small town called Amingad where every street there is shop for kardant. Kardant is a sweet rich with dry fruits and nuts and it can be stored for a month. Rest of the food was as usual north karnataka oota :)
What to buy - Plenty of souvenir shops are lined up. Lot of colorful junk stuff lined up to attract foreigners. Did not by any stuff from there. But you do have options to buy.
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