Hampi, an ancient village situated in the northern part of Karnataka was once the seat of Vijayanagara kingdom. Situated on the banks of Tungabhadra River, the UNESCO World Heritage Site was one of the most visited group of monuments of southern India. Spread over a vast area, the ruins of Vijayanagara kingdom included the iconic Vitthala temple, Virupaksha temple, queens palace, elephant house to name a few. Hampi has a lot to offer beyond the ruins and temples. Here are five things you can do in your Hampi trip:
1. Waterfall trek: My personal favorite and a perfect half day itinerary began on the back side of Virupaksha temple. The narrow road there leads to the banana plantations. In around 3 km the roads turns into a trail through the plantation on to the banks of river Tungabhadra. The last stretch of the trail is through the boulders of river. One can swim in the natural pools and enjoy the waterfalls around.
2. Daroji Bear Sanctuary:
Situated at a distance of 30 km from Hampi, the sanctuary is home to Sloth bears, wild boars, leopards, and dears. Special permit is necessary for a jeep safari inside the park. The viewpoint inside the park provided a panoramic view of the park where sloth bears were roaming around in sluggish pace. At around 2.00 pm in the afternoon they are served with jaggery by forest officials. It is a good time of the day to spot the wild animals. Carrying a binocular is a must if you want to have a close look.
3. Sunset points:
Hampi is renowned for its spectacular sunsets. The hilltop views provide a panorama of the village and the ruins. There is goodcrowd on these spots and often some of the locals and tourists play live music. It is better to reach early and take a good spot over the rock. The best spots are Matanga hill (also the most crowded), Hemakuta hills, Anjenadri Temple and Achyutaraya temple.
4. Exploring the Bazaar/ Market and local cuisines-
The market was once one of the most happening places in Hampibuzzling with numerous shops selling gift items, clothes and mementos. It has several restaurants serving local delicacies as well as international cuisines. The market area has been mostly shifted to other side of the Tungabhadra river as per UNESCO norms.
5. Rock climbing:
The rocky terrain of Hampi is a perfect setting for adventure enthusiast for rock climbing. Although bouldering is strictly banned in the temple and ruin premises, a local climbing guide can take you on a day tour to some remote rock face and test your climbing skills.
Read the photo story of the Vitthala temple, Hampi- Click here