Hampi, the land of Boulders has tonnes of things to do over an extended weekend. Here is a list of 21 mainstream and offbeat things which we at TLOW feel are a must do for everyone who backpacks to Hampi.
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The best way to explore the 13 ruins of Hampi is by cycling around. Non-geared cycles are available everywhere at very economical prices. Off-routing and exploring the rugged trails is only possible with a cycle.
If adventure is what you’re looking for in Hampi, then Bouldering is the thing for you. Across the river in Hampi, bouldering is a bustling activity where one can try their hand at a one day course or even enroll for the bouldering camps which range from two to four days. Bouldering is a must do thing for all adventure junkies in Hampi.
Sunset at Hemakuta Hill
We all have seen the sun setting a hundred times in our life but the view of the setting sun from Hemakuta hill at Hampi is something you’ll never forget in your entire life. The climb to the top of hill takes around 7-10 minutes and once you reach the top the view of the sun setting beyond the horizon of endless Boulders and banana plantation is simply breath taking.
Selfie at Monkey Hill
No trip today is complete without a selife and the Hanuman temple across the Hampi River which is more fondly known as Monkey Hill by the locals and tourists is the perfect place to fake an epic selfie with the entire background showcasing Boulders, banana plantation and the Hampi River.
Lemonana at Evergreen
A good refreshing drink to try out when the heat in Hampi gets a bit too much to handle is the Lemonana which is noting but crushed ice, lemon and mint. It might not sound like much but one sip of the Lemonana and your depleting energy levels will be recharged.
If you like the taste of conventional Pastas then you will absolutely love the home made Pasta served at a small home run restaurant called Suresh. The pasta is available in both white and red sauce and has mashroom, olives, cheese and other veggies mixed in. What makes this pasta unique is the shape, its flat, thick and long. The spicy spices which are added make the pasta a must try.
The town of Hampi is well known for its vegetarian Thalis (meals) the best are served at Mango Tree and Suresh. The Thalis generally consist of dal, rice, one or two vegetable dishes, roti and yogurt.
Alcohol is banned in Hampi, but across the river which is considered as the Hippie side of Hampi, beer and non-vegetarian food is easily available. So travellers can beat the heat by sipping on a bottle of beer but be prepared to shell out around double the cost of the MRP.
From Hippie kurtas, baggie harem pants and cotton loose dresses to jewellery made of beads and silver the flea market in Hampi has a huge variety for travellers to shop. There are also shops selling Buddhist antiques and hand made leather books. Bargaining is a skill that will come very handy while shopping in Hampi.
Idli and Dosa
Hampi unlike the rest of the South Indian places has only a handful of Idli and Dosa stalls, but the food served there is amazing. A must try Idli stall is on the road leading to the Queen’s bath, this Idli stall has no name and is amidst the endless banana plantation. The stall which is more of a shed is run by a middle aged husband and wife duo and serves easily the best Idli, Dosa and Bhajiyas in Hampi.
Virupaksha Temple in Hampi which is the main temple in the town houses a elephant inside the temple complex and if you offer Prasad to the Elephant he thanks you by keeping his trunk on your head which is considered as blessings by the locals.
Roof top dinner
Hampi has plenty of roof top cafes which some really good Indian and Continental food clubbed with some really good ambiance, music and most of all free Wi-Fi. Gopi and Hampi roof top cafe near the temple area are good. Sasi and Evergreen cafe across the river are also good for the points mentioned above.
Chill by the Dam
When you’re across the Tungabhadra River on the other side of Hampi consideredthe Hippie side of Hampi, a trip to the Tungabhadra Dam is something worth considering if time permits. The Dam is located around 5-6 km from river crossing point and is in the opposite direction of the famous Monkey Hill. Tungabhadra Dam has a very peaceful feel about the place and is good place to sit, chill and unwind. Please don’t try swimming in the Dam.
Picture with Magic Shiva men
Around the temple town side of Hampi near the flea market area, you will see a clan of three or four middle-aged men roaming around in bright orange attire from head to toe, a couple of Rudrasksh malas around their neck, a turban around their head and peacock feathers attached to the turban. These bright coloured men call themselves the Magic Shiva men and go around posing for pictures with travellers. Once the picture is clicked they soon pull out a small note book and ask for donations.
Sweet coconut water
The best and the most economical way of beating the heat in Hampi is to have plenty of coconut water. The coconut water in Hampi is extremely sweet and the coconuts are huge. Coconut vendors can be found at every nook and corner of Hampi. So every time you feel thirsty you will surely find a Coconut vendor. The local name of coconut water is Eliner.
Sun rise at Matanga Hill
If you are a morning person, then keep a 5 am alarm and go to see the Sun rise at Matanga Hill and if your not a morning person still keep and alarm and try going for the sun rise because just like the sun set at Hampi, the rising sun is a special which is totally worth waking up in the morning for. To reach the top of Matanga Hill is a small 20 minute hike from Hampi Bazaar.
Experience a home stay
While travelling the best way to get a real feel of the place is through locals and what better way to experience that than to stay in the homes of the locals. Just like many of the backpacker places in India Hampi too has plenty of home stays. Staying in the home stays works out both economical and will leave you with memories for a life time.
Along with coconut water in Hampi another good way to refresh yourself is by trying out Goli Soda which literally translates to marble soda. The drink gets its name from the small marble ball which is used to keep the soda fizz intact in the bottle. The soda is prepared by mixing a combination of lime and masala.
Circle boat ride
The traditional circular light weight boats called Coracles which were the only way to cross over from one side of the Tungabhadra River in Hampi to the other side before the modern day motor boats were brought into use are still found in Hampi. They make a short joy ride but owning to their light weight they have the tendency to capsize with even the slightest of movement on the boat.
Send a post card
In today’s day and age, we all have smart phones which can send pictures to any part of the world in under three seconds but these same pictures can also be deleted in the same time. So buy a post card from Hampi Bazaar write a special message to your loved one and post it to them. It will take a lot longer to get to them but they will surely value it more than a Snap chat or a Whatsapp instant picture.
Ride a Moped on the Hippie Island
If biking is your thing then hire a moped (gear-less scooter) for a day in Hampi and explore the temples and ruins. But sadly now Mopeds are only available across the Tungabhadra River on the Hippie island of Hampi since October 2014. The Mopeds were stopped since they were not registered as tourist vehicles so their rental has been banned.
To join us for our next Hampi trip click here.
Hampi is a place to do fun things and when you are down there, make sure that you do not miss out on these things. Fun in this land, is incomplete without trying this out.