There are a lot of amazing things to do in Hampi especially if you love a bit of history. I Finally visited Hampi after planning for almost 3 years. it was on the top of my bucket list and always had to be postponed mostly because of rejected leave applications. I am a bit of a history buff myself. Many people around the world visit Hampi solely due to its beautiful archeological monuments and history.
Hampi was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its beautiful sculptures, monuments, and history. The city was the gem of the Vijayanagara Kingdom. It is the best place to visit in Karnataka.
This ancient city is situated on the banks of the river Tungabhadra in Karnataka. Famous for their monuments, the Virupaksha temple, Vittala temple, Lotus Mahal, Stone Chariot are some of the best places to visit in Hampi. You can find many beautiful temples around the city which are must-visit in India.
Let’s dive into my list of amazing things to do in Hampi, Karnataka without any further delay.
Things to Do in Hampi, Karnataka
1 – Visit the Famous Virupaksha Temple
The Virupaksha temple is the center of attraction for all in Hampi. It is hard to miss out on your visit to this beautiful city. If you happen to come to Hampi via local bus then the bus would drop you off near this temple. The temple is visible from a far distance. The height of the tower is around 164 Ft high. The eleven-story tower is called the ‘ Bistappaya Tower’.
Virupaksha temple has also been declared as a Heritage site. The architecture of the temple dates back to the 14th Century. The ticket price to visit the temple is 5 INR, 50 INR for the camera, and 500 INR for the video camera
2 – Vittala Temple
If you choose to explore Hampi from its secondary entry, you will visit the Vittala temple first. It’s a long walk to the temple from the drop-off point. Although there are caddies available to take you to/from the entrance of the temple.
The Vittala temple is one of the most beautiful sculptures of Hampi. The foundations of this temple are truly majestic and are constructed on a polyhedron foundation. There is a famous structure of the Stone Chariot which can be seen on the 50/- INR bill.
The monolithic pillars have been subtly sculpted. There are beautiful figures of lotus, angels, swans, goddesses, yoga postures, horses, and others etched nicely. The entry fee is around 50 INR for Indians and 100/500 for others. There are camera/videography charges extra.
3 – Sanapur
It happens to be my favorite place to chill out in Hampi. Sanapur is a natural island created by the great Tungabhadra river in the Heart of Hampi. It is also known as the Hippie island. You will have to cross the Tungabhadra river via ferry to reach Hippie island.
The island is full of beautiful sites and should be on your travel list. The Sanapur Lake, Sanapur Waterfall, Anjaneya hills, Anegundi, Pampa Sarovar, Sunset point on Hippie island hills, are some of the best places to visit in Sanapur, Hampi.
Sanapur is an island with a small population that is mainly dependent on rice as their staple diet. Hence you will find rice paddy fields throughout the island. I would recommend you explore the rice paddy fields in Sanapur.
4 – Hike the Matanga hills for Sunrise/Sunset
The hike to the Matanga hills brings you a 360 view of Hampi and its nearby surroundings. Some travelers recommend hiking the Matanga hills for Sunrise and Hemakoota Hills for Sunset.
Matanga hills are one of the most famous places to visit. The mesmerizing views it offers after the hike cannot be missed. I climbed the Matanga hill for the sunset and it took me around 20-30 mins to reach the top. The hike is fairly easy but needs to be careful at some spots due to the steepness. You will find markings of the directions to the top put down by locals, so it’s simple to find the route.
Hiking to the top of the Matanga hill is one of the best things to do in Hampi
5 – Lotus Mahal
The Lotus Mahal is my favorite monument in Hampi. The symmetry and the architecture of the Lotus Mahal are pleasing to the eye. Visit the Lotus Mahal early in the morning or later in the evening. The monument looks very beautiful during this time of the day.
Try to visit Vithala temple and Lotus Mahal on the same day, as the ticket cost you pay to enter Vithala Temple gets you access to Lotus Mahal too. The Lotus Mahal, also known as the Kamal Mahal or Chitragani Mahal is one of the most beautiful architecture in the Zenana enclosure region.
The Monument looks like an opened lotus bud, hence the name. This 2 storied building is well-structured asymmetrically. It is a must-visit place in Hampi.
6 – Elephant Stable, Hampi
This incredible structure was built to provide shelter to the royal elephants of the Vijayanagar empire. The structure is very impressive and lies outside the zenana enclosure.
The elephant stable is an amazing example of Indo-Islamic architecture. This also suggested the value of royal elephants in that era. The stable had a large enough chamber to accommodate two elephants at a time.
You can still find the stable in a firm condition even now. It has been more than 600 years since it was constructed. The stable is one of the few non destroyed structures in Hampi.
7 – Pushkarni
The Pushkaranis in Hampi are the sacred water tanks that are attached to the temples. Most of the major temples here have a pushkarni built near them.
The pushkarnis were a prominent feature of the ruined town.
The sacred tanks were related to various rituals and functional aspects of the temples and the people surrounding the temples. The tanks were considered to be sacred places by the people of Hampi in ancient times.
Even today the pushkarnis is a big attraction for the tourists who visit to explore the ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire.
8 – Meet and take blessings from Laxmi – the Elephant
Lakshmi is the most popular elephant in Hampi. You can find her at the Virupaksha Temple. Many devotees visit to seek blessings from Lakhsmi as she is considered Holy. This is because the elephant resembles the elephant God – Ganpati.
You can feed or donate for the blessing from Lakhsmi. There are limited timings where Lakshmi can be met. Usually, mornings are the best time to visit. It’s a lovely experience to meet Lakshmi.
9 – Explore the Hampi Archeological Ruins
This should be your main goal – To explore Hampi. There are many amazing things to do in Hampi rather than visit your regular tourist sites. Hampi is declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a reason, it’s more than just architecture but its culture, history, and much more.
Ticking this historical place off my bucket list after almost 3 years of failed plans and other reasons. Do visit Hampi and witness its beauty for yourself. The Monolithic bull, Stone Chariot, Ugra Narsimha, Monolithic Shiva Linga, Pataleshwara Temple, Hazara Rama Temple, Kadalekalu Ganapathi, Moola Virupaksha Temple are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Hampi, Karnataka.
10 – Foodgasm
Explore different cuisines from Karnataka. You can be surprised by the food culture in Hampi. There are many authentic restaurants in hampi and Sanapur you can visit for the traditional taste of Karnataka.
Most of Hampi is vegetarian, but you could also get non-veg food too. The vegetarian dishes are mouth-watering and I would surely recommend you to try the Veg thali.
To conclude, just explore and have a great time in Hampi.
Places to Stay in Hampi
Hampi is a very popular place to visit amongst backpacking travelers. You will find many hostels and local stays for cheap prices per day. There are few farm stays that offer good food and stay options at affordable prices.
Whereas, you can also find 5-star resorts and hotels to stay.
I stayed at Stay Chill Hampi in Sanapur. The place has a great vibe and food. The staying huts would have been better but it was a good stay for free nights. You can visit the Sanapur waterfall from here as it’s just 2 minutes walking distance from the resort.
Here are some snaps of the place I stayed in Hampi.
How to Reach Hampi, Karnataka
Karnataka is easily accessible from all the major cities in India and abroad. Hampi lies in the heart of Karnataka.
You can take a flight from any city to Hubballi, Bangalore, or Mangalore airport. You then have to take a local or tourist bus to Hampi. The ride is almost 450km from Mangalore, 340km from Bangaluru, 170km from Hubballi.
In India, many major cities are well connected by trains. If you choose to travel by train you can get down at Hubli and then make your short journey towards Hampi.
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