Hampi is a paradise for those seeking an offbeat trip with a slice of history. Here are some must-do things while in the land of boulders.
1. Get blessed by Laxmi, the elephant at Virupaksha Temple
Meet the friendly and obedient temple elephant, Laxmi at the famous Virupaksha Temple. She loves to gorge on bananas and grass, all day. Her caretaker decorates her daily with kumkum after a bath at the nearby Tungabhadra River every morning. The sight of Laxmi bathing and obeying her caretaker as he asks her to move every time is spectacular. Go meet this magnificent creature. Let her place her trunk right above head and get blessed.
2. A ferry ride on the Tungabhadra
The ancient Tungabhadra river divides Hampi in two parts. The hippie island and the ruins. The sight of the River Tungabhadra with the boulders in the background and greenery makes it a soothing place. It’s advisable to stay at the hippie island as it’s more relaxed and a good place to chill. There are paddy fields in the background and plenty of cafes to explore. To explore both sides, you need to take a ferry ride. The ferry ride is pretty short, yet exciting. It’s also a good way to chat with locals and other travelers. One way cost is Rs. 20 and Rs. 30 if you are carrying a large backpack. The last ferry is at 5.30 P.M. So jump into that boat and feel the fun as you ride the river.
3. Experience a coracle ride
Apart from the ferry ride, the coracle ride is something not to be missed. It is native to Hampi and rarely found in other parts of India. Get your bargaining skills going as these locals will try and demand money as high as Rs. 200 for a one-way ride. Also, the ride is pretty short on the Tungabhadra river and is to cross from one side to another. Instead, head to Sanapur Lake and try a coracle ride there. It’s for a longer duration compared to the one on the Tungabhadra river. Also, the rower spins the coracle ride leaving one feeling trippy which is part of the experience.
4. Visit the ruins
It is said that city of Hampi has more historical ruins than Rome. The mighty Vijayanagara empire was once, one of the richest empires in the world. Hampi is the site where the empire flourished. When emperor Aurangzeb came to power in 1658, plenty of religious sites, temples and structure were set ablaze and demolished. Even after these destructions, the ruins of Hampi will take you back in time with its stories and facts, send your imagination back to the 14th century.
5. Movie night
The hippie island of Hampi, have quite a few cafes. These cafes are a great place to chill and relax. These cafes host movie nights every day. They keep a slate board outside and update the name of the movie daily. These movies are chosen tastefully, thanks to the influx of foreigners and are played around 7-8 pm. So lay down peacefully and watch a movie with dinner served right at your table.
6. Jam sessions at the cafe
To keep attracting more customers, the cafes at Hampi are bringing in more to the table. Apart from movies, they have jam sessions, bonfires and sometimes travellers just start dancing during a jam session making the night more lively.
7. Feel the greenery
A mix of brown from the boulders and green from paddy fields and endless banana plantations is what the Hampi landscape has to offer. The landscape filled with boulders and green fields are so soothing. Escape the city stress, head to Hampi and lose yourself and let greenery calm you down.
8. Sunset at Monkey Hill
Anjana hill also known as Monkey Hill is a pilgrim place in Hampi. It is said that Lord Hanuman was born here. The temple is located at a hill top and there are two ways to reach. Although both routes involve a large number of steps, the scenic beauty once you ascend is spectacular. It gives you a panoramic view of Hampi. Famous for its sunset, Monkey Hill is a place not to be missed in Hampi. Watch the sunset while sitting at one of the boulders and unwind.
9. Get social
Hippie, Happy, Hampi. It all started with a group of foreigners who wanted to visit the ruins of Hampi and ended up staying at a local’s home. Since then, tourism has bloomed and now there are plenty of home stays and cafes. These cafes have trippy neon paintings, a relaxed sitting arrangement, music playing throughout the day and food served all day long. These cafes are a great place to interact, get social and meet fellow travelers. Mango tree near Virupaksha Temple serves great Indian food, Goan cafe, Nagarila and Evergreen cafes on the Hippie Island are perfect to socialise and treat your appetite.
10. Experience cycling or moped riding
Cycles, scooters and mopeds are easily available on rent in Hampi. Ditch the auto-rickshaw for once, hop on to a cycle (RS.100/day) and explore Hampi at your pace. If cycling is not your thing, one can hire a moped (RS.200/day) and accelerate your way to the awesomeness of Hampi and ride across green fields.
So, it’s time you tick off Hampi on your bucket list
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