The Ultimate Food and Travel Information Guide to Hampi, Karnataka, India
Hampi is the UNESCO World Heritage Site located in east-central Karnataka, India. Found on the bank of Tungabadra River, Hampi has more than 1600 remains spread across 26 square kilometres. According to UNESCO, Hampi was the last capital of the last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar. The architecture is purely in Dravidian style but was captured and destroyed by the Delhi Sultanate.
Weather, Seasons & Best Time to Visit
Hampi due to its geographical location seems hot but, the because there is less pollution, the air feels cold and fresh. The temperature might go up to 33-degree celsius but, if you travel in rainy and winter season, you will not feel much of heat. The best time to visit Hampi is between September and February. Many locals say that Hampi looks more beautiful in Rainy Season but, I cannot clarify that.
Cost of Living
Hampi is a budget destination to travel but not the cheapest. You can stay for just 700 rupees as a backpackers and 500 rupees per day for food depending on which part of Hampi you want to sojourn. Transportation costs might be on the higher side as the locals might try to rip you off but, if you hire a bicycle, then the expense might significantly be reduced.
Best Area to Stay
According to me, Hampi can be divided into three parts namely
Hampi Ruin Area - The Hampi Ruin area has good decent homestays. Most of the guesthouses are little costly as it is a proper touristy spot. Now if you are travelling to explore Hampi then stay in the Hampi ruin area but if you are on budget travel then you can stay on Hippie Island as most people suggest or New Hampi as I suggest
New Hampi - The New Hampi is around 3 kilometres from the main Hampi. New Hampi has a lot of guesthouses which are new and cheap. I found cheaper & good properties in New Hampi than on Hippie Island. You get mobile network also in New Hampi.
Hippie Island - Hippie Island is not an island but a location across Tungabadra River. To describe the location, it like goa with more hippie farangs smoking up Ganja. Hippie Island has many good guest houses but as an Indian, this place wouldn't give you good memories as the locals won't support you at all.
Choosing the Best Hotel
As I said in the previous section, selecting a place to stay depending on the area you select. Hippie Island guest houses are huts or cheap accommodations. New Hampi would be my favorate area to stay, and I stayed at RKS Homestay, lovely room and very sweet owner.
What is in Hippie Island?
Most of the people who come to Hampi want to explore Hippie Island thinking that its a dreamy land. Let me burst your bubble, Hippie Island is just another chilled place with more foreigners than locals. The place has a couple of nice cafes serving continental cuisines mainly Israeli food. Many blogs and youtube talks about open Weed Market but it is not true. Locals will not serve you marijuana in any form but as a foreigner, you can easily buy it. If you want to try then I would suggest you have Special Lassi which contains marijuana and you can get it in and around Sanapur Lake.
Important Sightseeing Destinations
Hampi has more than 1600 remains spread across 26 square kilometres. It is not possible to see it in one day, however, I would also recommend you to stay not more than 2 days as you might get bored. So with so many things to see, Krishna temple complex, Narasimha, Ganesa, Achyutaraya temple complex, Vijaya Vitthala temple complex, Pattabhirama temple complex, Hemakuta group of temples, Lotus Mahal, can be highlighted and must-visit sites. Do not miss to see and experience the musical pillars at Vijaya Vitthala temple and an inverted shadow of the gopuram at Virupaksha Temple. Of course, other things like Monolithic Stone Chariot, Pushkarani, grand bazaar street, Vasantotsava mandapa, Kalyana Mandapa and Utsava Mandapa etc.
What & Where to Eat?
Hampi doesn't have any kind of traditional food, therefore, you can pretty much everything from English Breakfast to humus. A lot of people online had suggested Mango Tree but I didn't find anything different in this place. You can have food anywhere, nothing seems to be interesting. If you are in the hippie island, do try idli and dose from the street vendors, cheap and best.
Hampi Utsava, Hampi Festival or Vijaya Utsav is one of the largest and the only celebrations which takes place in Hampi. The festivities take place every year with performances by many cultures, traditions dancers. The monuments will be lit up in colourful lightings and it is a sight to see.
This is probably the most important section about Hampi because many people might plan out wrong by reading other blogs online. To be frank, most of the blogs are wrong about a lot of things. Let me summarize for you in points.
Hire a cycle to roam around or just walk in Hampi and not an Auto. The auto guys will ask you for 800+ rupees for just 3-4 hours of ride to around 10 different places which are not far.
Hippie Island is not a place to stay, there are good places around the world. You can visit the island for a day just to experience.
Boat ride stop before 8 PM, therefore, do not make the mistake of overstaying on the hippie island. Also, the boat ride becomes 50 rupees after 5 PM and 20 rupees before 5 PM (extra 20 for backpacks).
Locals will not help you to find marijuana, however, you can score it near Sanapur Lake. And you can try Special Lassi at Rock & Chill Cafe near the Lake.
Do not forget to see the Sunset & Sunrise!