The Hampi Hippie Island: Virupapura Gadde, Karnataka
Virupapura Gadde is a small village located just across the Hampi River. Virupapura Gadde has a very laid-back feel to the whole place and the main reason for this is because of the Hippie foreign backpackers who make this place across the Hampi River their home during their stay at Hampi.
This village of Virupapura Gadde is easily accessible from main land Hampi via a short seven minute motor boat ride. The motor boats are non operational during the monsoon since the water level of the river rises and crossing the river is not safe. During the monsoon, the only option of getting across the river is to hire a auto-rickshaw or taxi and drive 40 km to the other side of the river.
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For the rest of the season the motorboats operate at regular intervals. It is important to note that the last boat leaves from Virupapura Gadde to the Hampi town side by roughly 5:30 pm daily and missing the last motorboat will leave you stranded on the wrong side of the river for the rest of the day. To avoid this mishap it is advisable to ask boat operators or the locals the timing of the last motorboat for the day as the timings tend to change every alternate day.
The village of Virupapura Gadde has only a handful of sites. A few of the must visit ones are the Hanuman Temple on Anjenaya Hill which involves climbing up 572 steps and is believed to be the birth place of Hanuman; the Pampa Sarovar is also worth paying a visit to. Hampi Lake which is about 5 km from the main road is a must visit place.
The locals of Virupapura Gadde just like the locals from Hampi are very friendly and fluent in English so communication will not be a problem for anyone travelling to the other side of the river. It is advisable not to communicate with them in Hindi since many consider speaking in Hindi an insult especially the older generation.
The best way of getting around the village of Virupapura Gadde is by hiring a moped. Mopeds can be hired from both the Hampi side of the river and from Virupapura Gadde. It is better to hire mopeds based on which side of the river one is staying at. These mopeds can easily be transported across the river on the motor boats.
Accommodation at Virupapura Gadde is in plenty but mostly backpacker huts and guest houses that cater more to the foreign Hippie backpackers than for Indians. The rooms are very basic with noting more than a bed and a fan. Accommodation is very affordable at Virupapura Gadde but since all the major ruins are located around the Hampi Bazaar side it is better to stay near the bazaar rather than at Virupapura Gadde and travel across the river daily.
Virupapura Gadde has plenty of cafes and shacks that are only built up and operation during season from the months of October end to mid-March. Many of these cafes are joint ventures by Indians and foreigners who come to India as travellers and fall in love with the place and then decide to make India their home. The cafes serve both Indian and western cuisine. Many of the shacks have karaoke nights and live bands. Beer is easily available is most of the shacks.
Owing to the fact that Virupapura Gadde attracts a lot of Hippie backpackers, weed a form of cannabis i.e. marijuana has made its way to the other side of the river at Hampi on the quite but keep in mind that smoking such stuff is illegal in India.
Virupapura Gadde is the side of Hampi where most of the bouldering activities take place. Many guest houses even rent out necessary gear for bouldering and it is also a great place to meet other rock climbing and bouldering enthusist.
Virupapura Gadde is the perfect place for Hippie backpackers to stay in Hampi, where the post Goa hangover still lingers on, typically after the New Year’s season. Virupapura Gadde is not a place for families and normal tourists to stay since this place is full of only Hippie backpackers.
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