I can’t believe I’ve written two posts on Hampi without even mentioning what there is to see there! If you haven’t read them yet, check out my Royal Enfield ride to Hampi and a little about it’s hippy-trippy vibe.
The weather was unbearably hot when I visited in February. We crossed the river in a deceptively tiny boat who’s motor painfully spluttered while pushing along 5-6 bikes and 10 people. Walking through the city would have been fun if the weather was cooperative… but since it was scorching, we decided to hire a rickshaw.That turned out to be a really good decision because it saves so much time not having to search or ask for directions and we were thankful of the moments of shade it provided when we travelled. Secondly, autorickshaws charge depending on how much time you have on hand and what you want to see. If you tell them you have all day and want to see everything, you will have to pay around Rs. 600 which is not bad at all (could even be Rs. 400 if you haggle!) The drivers are very friendly and will give you a guided tour for an additional charge.
Virupaksha Temple will probably be the first stop. It predates the existence of the Vijaynagra dynasty yet still functions today. With it’s faint aroma of coconuts and incense, it stands at 160 feet at the end of an old bazaar lined with shops and is the only temple with its own elephant. Beware of people telling you that you need to pay to take pictures inside – it’s not true at all.
Ugra Narasimha Statue or Lakshmi Narasimha as it is more popularly called is a huge statue, slightly comical looking monolith. Narasimha, being half man and half lion is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, sits on a coiling snake and is protected by the serpent’s seven heads. A few steps away is another monolith, one of a ShivLinga that’s partly submerged in water.
The Lotus Mahal is one of my favourites because of the gorgeous architecture and cool, peach coloured stone. Just adjacent to it is a row of elephant chambers that still smell like elephants. This massive structure could hold a dozen elephants in their own separate “rooms.” Both the structures are noticeably cooler, almost like it was air conditioned. I spent a good 15 minutes sitting in one of the elephant enclosures because it was so peaceful and smelt like elephants. A pretty little watch tower is situated in the same enclosure.
Sister Rocks – You’ll inevitably find yourself face to face with two gigantic rocks in Hampi. Legend has it that two sisters visited Hampi and inspite of it’s beauty, belittled the place. They instantly turned to stone by the Hampi Gods who destined them to never leave the land. One of the rocks recently split in half and locals believe that it is because one of the sister’s lives had ended.
The Queen’s Bath – Another magnificent piece of work, this massive has corridors that surround a gigantic pool where the queen used to bathe. Open to the sky, this luxurious bathing area has lookout points from where the royal maids used to wait. Yet another public bathing area is called the Ancient Bath, an octagonal shaped platform with tiny steps and small bathing space that looks like it would have been too cramped for the public.
Vijay Vitthala Temple – Extravagant and stunning, this complex holds the icon of Hampi – a stone chariot. It is called the Garuda, the celestial vehicle of Lord Vishnu. Another fascinating feature of the temple is the musical pillars – hundreds of stone pillars that produce musical tones when tapped. I could have easily spend an hour here, people watching – but it was too hot and was the last, exhausting stop.
Visit the birthplace of Lord Hanuman – Although not technically in Hampi, the Monkey Temple on Anjaneya Hill in Anegondi is something you need on your bucket list. 600 excruciating steps will lead you to the top of the hill that’s crawling with monkeys. Once we reached the summit, you can jump from boulder to boulder and reach the edge from where the scenery is breath taking. My knees were jelly at this point and I was so out of breath it wasn’t even funny. It’s one of the most preferred spots that tourists come to in order to watch the sunset.
Tip – Keep your belongings close… the cheeky monkeys make off with items that rouse their curiosity.
There are a handful of other smaller shrines and temples to be seen like the Balakrishna Temple, Hazaar Rama Temple and Achyutaraya Temple that won’t take much time to visit.Also, don’t forget to ride in a coracle (round boat)
You can visit all the monuments by buying only one ticket that costs Rs. 10/- outside any of the temples. Some of them are free.
That wraps up my adventures in Hampi. Have you had any there? Comment below and tell me about it!
Cya next time!