A day in The Hippie Island – Hampi, Karnataka (I)

A UNESCO World Heritage site in Karnataka, India. It holds a lot of Indian mythological and architectural importance. It is said Lord Hanuman was born here (we trekked on this hill – read ahead), there are pillars when tapped, emits an instruments sound!

By 1500 CE, Hampi-Vijayanagara was the world’s second-largest medieval-era city after Beijing, and probably India’s richest at that time, attracting traders from Persia and Portugal. The Vijayanagara Empire was defeated by a coalition of Muslim sultanates; its capital was conquered, pillaged and destroyed by sultanate armies in 1565, after which Hampi remained in ruins.

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Hampi at a glance

Hampi Itinerary Map – Credit www.hampi.in

Hippie Island of Hampi

Day 1

We were 3 travelers who boarded a bus from Mumbai, India at 7 PM to Hospet, Karnataka and reached Hospet at 8 AM the next day.

At Hospet, several auto guys were waiting for their rented rides. One of them offered us to take to Hampi (10km ride) for INR 320 /- for the three of us.

The auto ride ended at the Tungabhadra river which divides Hampi into two parts. One side is of the ruins and temples, the other is The Hippie Island.

We took a ferry (INR 10 without luggage, INR 30 with luggage) to cross this river. It took us 10 minutes for it to be filled with people a minute to cross the river. The boat starts from 8:00 AM till 5:30 PM. There are coracle boat rides till 8:30 PM but they charge around ~INR 300.

The mighty Tungabhadra River

We had booked our accommodation a month ago in Waterfall Guesthouse. Three of us paid a total of Rs. 1200 /- per night for basic amenities – a room where 3-4 people can sleep, free wi-fi, an inbuilt toilet, and a bathroom.

The owner Mr. Ramu (+91 9482786942) spoke good English and hence there was no communication problem. He had sent an auto-rickshaw guy to pick us up once we crossed the river. The auto cost was included in the amount we paid for the rooms. It was a 3-4 km drive from the river.

A group of 3 backpackers came the next day and got a similar room and same facilities at Rs. 750 /- per night for three people.

There were cheaper rooms available which had common toilets and bathrooms.

Check other accommodation options.

There were many foreigners who stayed there. There were people from Russia, a family from Iran, etc. The menu had several and delicious varieties in meals. They had 4-5 cuisine options. The average rate for a portion of Pasta was Rs. 200 /-, Sandwich Rs. 100, Coffee Rs. 20, etc.

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Our meal eating joint. #hampi #nofilter

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Waterfall Guesthouse – Our jaws dropped when we saw this dining area

As we were on a budget trip, we carried our breakfast, had it here and left quickly to venture around!

We hired a scooter from here at INR 150 /- per day rent + Rs. 90/- for a liter of fuel. Three of us sat on this beast and left to explore the other side i.e. the Hippie side of Hampi.

They didn’t allow triple seat because it would damage the scooter. But since, 2 of us didn’t know how to ride a scooter, they let us hire it on a condition to not damage it. We left to explore the Hippie Island!!!

The Stone Bridge

This ancient bridge of Hampi is believed to have been constructed by Kampabupa in the 14th century. Kampabupa was the brother of the king Harihara II, the emperor of the Vijayanagara kingdom from 1377 to 1404.

Anjaneya Hill – Lord Hanuman’s birthplace

Our next stop was Lord Hanuman’s birthplace – Anjaneya Hill. Anjaneya or Anjali or Anjana or Anegundi is Lord Hamuna’s mother’s name and hence the hill’s name. Lord hanuman – the monkey warrior from the Epic Ramanaya.

It was 575 step trek. Carry shades, scarf, and water along. Beware of the monkeys. There are a few stalls to drink water/tender coconut water and eatables too. There is no washroom.

There were such tricky and beautiful paths to reach on top. The entire trek should take about 30-45 minutes. Carry water and sun protection.

We trekked in the afternoon when the temperature was 30°C! It was scorching hot! We spot this boulder in between and went to rest for a bit under the shade. This spot that the coldest winds one could ever experience in 30°C! It was extremely relaxing!

Fooling around with the boulders in the coldest winds in 30°C!

Once we reached on top, we entered Lord Hanuman’s temple.

I was thrilled when I saw a specimen of a stone from the Ram Setu at the entrance of the temple!!! Unfortunately, photography wasn’t allowed in the temple.

Adam’s Bridge / Rama’s Bridge / Rama Setu is a chain of limestone shoals, between Rameswaram Island, off the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, India, and Mannar Island, off the north-western coast of Sri Lanka.

The bridge was first mentioned in the ancient Indian Sanskrit epic Ramayana, written by Valmiki. Wherein Rama constructed it for his Vanara Sena (ape-men army) to reach Lanka and rescue his wife Sita from the Rakshasa king, Ravana.

Strolling beside Lord Hanuman’s temple at 575 steps above sea level.

We left Anjaneya Hil and stopped by on the way at a scenic spot to click photos. Next, we went to our guesthouse to have lunch.

Coracle Boat Ride/ Swimming/ Cliff jumping/ Bouldering

Around 5 PM we left for our next spot for coracle boating in a Tungabhadra tributary. Our experience was enhanced because the rower got happier seeing our happiness! He told us the reason he enjoyed his job a lot was because of people like us!

He charged 3 of us INR 300 for 30 minutes where we did NOT negotiate. We had planned to go there during sunset and it was the sanest and brilliant decision.

Enjoying the beautiful colors of the sunset. One of the experiences etched in pour memories for a lifetime.

This same spot has an option for three other adventurous activities too.

Bouldering – You can contact Tom and Jerry Climbing School or The Goan Corner for more details.

Swimming – You can swim here in Tungabhadra river! Ask the locals if there is any specific spot. The rower showed us a place but unfortunately, we weren’t carrying spare clothes.

Cliff jumping – Again, you can ask the locals about this spot too because you do not want to bang yourself into stone inside a rive from a cliff jump. The locals will show you the spot.

Read about my Day 2 and 3 adventures here.

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How to reach Hampi?

By bus – There are direct buses from Bangalore/Mumbai to Hospet. The best option will be to take an overnight bus which would save your day and a night’s expense of accommodation.

By train: Hospet is the nearest railway station, 12 km from Hampi.

By Air: Hubli (150km) is the nearest airport from Hampi.

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Make your life easier in Hampi :

  • Wear comfortable loose clothes since it is 25 °C – 34 °C depending on when do you plan to visit Hampi. Breathable cloths will help you enjoy more.
  • Wear sports shoes on all days to be comfortable. In spite of hiring a scooter/cycle or an auto, you will still be walking a lot.
  • Most of the places have entry fees of ~INR 20 – 50 for Indians and ~INR 100-500 for foreigners. Calculate the number of places you want to visit and keep that change handy.
  • There is no or less network on the Hippie side of the island. There is better connectivity on the temple side.
  • There are no or very fewer ATMs in Hampi. Cary sufficient cash while you are traveling. The hotels, guesthouses, and cafes did not accept cards (2016)
  • Guesthouses have very basic amenities. It is good to travel your own toiletries, towels etc
  • Carry spare clothes if you are planning to swim (Hippie Island)
  • Do NOT try to bargain much because these locals do not have any other source of income.
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Enjoying morning coffee. #hampi #Karnataka

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Costs for exploring Hampi

  • The bus journey from Mumbai to Hospet and return. Booked a semi recliner from Goibibo for approx Rs. 1200 per person one way.
  • Breakfast x2 and dinner x2 at the guest house. Lunch x2 at the Mango Tree.
  • Auto cost ~INR 2500 /- for sightseeing in Hampi and transport to and from Hospet.

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The best time to travel

Hampi can be year-round destination to explore except for summers i.e. March to May. If you are heading in monsoon (June-Sept) please check flood forecast and be safe while trekking/bouldering. We visited Hampi in December and the afternoon temperature was 32°C in the afternoon!

We went to Hampi in December 2016 for 3 days. Ideally, 3-5 days are sufficient to enjoy entire Hampi at a good pace.

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