Home ยป Travel Stories ยป Hampi : A journey to the lost kingdom – Part 1

Hampi : A journey to the lost kingdom – Part 1

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Hampi, a UNESCO world heritage site, was the center of the Vijayanagara empire in the 14th century in the banks of the Tungabadra river. According to Hindu mythology, it is also believed to be the Vanara kingdom, Kishkinda. It is located in east-central Karnataka, India.

How to reach Hampi?

We started our journey from Bangalore to Hampi on the “Hampi express” starting from Mysore to Hubbali. We booked our tickets almost a month back through Indian Railway Website. As budget travellers, we always try to look for the cheapest mode of transport and believe us Indian Railways is the best option if you can plan your trip early. The nearest railway station to Hampi is Hospet Junction where we got down. We boarded the train around 10.00PM and reached Hospet Junction by 7.30AM.

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Hospete Railway Station

Once we stepped out of the Railway station we saw a crowd of Taxi and Auto drivers who will try to persuade you to take their services. But since we had already planned to use only the public transport, we went on to take a KSRTC bus to Hampi, which was about 14 km from Hospet. You can get a public bus in front of the railway station itself and ticket costs are very cheap. Do remember that Hampi does not have ATMs, so any cash withdrawals must be done in Hospet.

The ride to Hampi is quite a dusty one. A few minutes into the ride you can spot the ruins of the great kingdom. The transition from the town to a completely rustic setting is absolutely amazing. The last stop was Hampi Bazaar, where you can see a lot of small shops and eateries. We had our breakfast from one of these shops which are pocket-friendly.

We booked our stay through Airbnb, at Padma Guest House which was just two minutes walk from Hampi Bazaar. You can also book through Booking.com through out affiliate link for best deals in Hampi. There are few ways you can explore Hampi. Cycles, Bikes and Autos are the main medium to travel and explore. Since we had only two days, we decided to make the most of it and rented out an Auto which costed us Rs.1000 (~ $14) per day. We met a nice guy named Vali, who took us around in his Auto and told us all the beautiful stories of Hampi and each of the monuments we visited.

Sites to Explore : Day 1

Our first stop was at the Underground Siva Temple, is dedicated to Prasanna Virupaksha an avatar of Lord Shiva. It was discovered in the 1980s till when it was buried underground. It is located near Noble Men’s quarters, another attraction nearby.

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Underground Shiva temple
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Inside Underground Shiva Temple
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Noble Men’s Quarters

Next, we were taken to Viewpoint near the Mohammedan Watch Tower, from where you can see the vast field of excavated ruins and the Dannayaka Enclosure. The enclosure is believed to be the city’s administrative area whereas some believe it was the military training grounds.

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Mohammeden Watch Tower

Then we took a walk through the enclosure towards Hazara Rama Temple. The temple gained the name Hazara Rama meaning a thousand Rama owing to the multiple depictions of Rama throughout the temple walls. Many of the carvings narrate the story of Ramayana.

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Hazara Rama Temple
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Carvings at Hazara Rama temple
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Inscriptions at Temple Walls

The next stop was Art gallery where you can find a collection of pictures comparing Old and New Hampi, also a collection of excavated statues and their timeline. The art gallery is situated in a walkable distance from The Zenana Enclosure.

The Zenana Enclosure comprises of the Queen’s Palace, Lotus Mahal and Elephant Stable. We have to purchase an entry ticket here which can also be used to visit the Vijaya Vittala Temple. The Entry ticket cost is different for Indian nationals and others. The first structure was the basement of The Queen’s Palace, which is one of the largest excavated palace bases in Hampi. A unique feature of the structures in the enclosure is their Indo-Islamic style of architecture. The Lotus Mahal is the main attraction of the enclosure which was used by the royal ladies for recreational activities. You also come across multiple watchtowers here. A short walk from here will take you to the Elephant Stables, which housed the royal Elephants.

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Basement of Queen’s Palace
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Lotus Mahal
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Corridors of Lotus Mahal
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Elephant Stables

Next, we saw the Secret Council Chamber, where the king used to have his meetings with his council. There are remains of public execution spots, which are hard to identify without the help of a guide. The next attraction is the Stepped Tank (Pushkarni), which was used by the royals for religious purposes. You will be able to see a canal which brings water from Tungabhadra River. If you walk a little bit you will find a wonderful stone platform called Mahanavami Dibba, where the Dussehra celebrations used to take place.

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Stepped Tank
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Mahanavami Dibba

The Queen’s Bath which was also built in the Indo-Islamic style was the bath chamber for the Royals. You can find beautifully arched corridors around the structure and a deep bath. If you look carefully yo can see the canals which come from Tungabadhra River.

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Queen’s Bath

We decided to take a lunch break, since it was already 2.00PM. We went to a a restaurant named Pink Mango at Kamalapura. You can also take out money from the only ATM nearby.

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Lunch at Pink Mango Restaurant

Read Part 2 Here

Route Map

Hampi Day 1 Route Map

Things to Remember in Hampi

  • Use public transport to reach Hampi from Hospet Railway Station, you will get direct bus from Hospet railway station to Hampi. Else take a bus upto Hospet bus station and catch the bus to Hampi from there.
  • Book your stay through Airbnb or use Booking.com (Our Affliate Link) for good deals!
  • You can call Vali who took us around in his auto (He is a great guide too!!) – +91-9481002655
  • There are no ATMs in Hampi, Nearest ATMs are at Kamalapur & Hospet
  • Ticket rates at Zenana Enclosure: Indians – Rs. 40 & Others – Rs. 600
  • The Pink Mango restaurant (Kamalapur) is a great place for lunch and relaxing.
  • Keep hydrated as the Hampi weather is extremely hot and sunny.
  • Get some of the best tender coconuts at Hampi!

Read about our Bangalore – Chunchi Bike Trip here

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