Planning a trip to south India? Make sure to visit Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the north of the state of Karnataka. At the height of the Vijayanagara Empire around 1500, this city was one of the world’s largest and likely to be India’s richest city at the time. Over 1,600 remains lie here to remind us of the grandiose place that the last great Hindu kingdom in south India must have been. It's a jewel of the country and has much to appreciate for lovers of culture, ruins, outdoor activities, and natural beauty.
There are overnight buses from Goa and Bangalore that will take you to Hosapete, a 30 minute bus or tuk-tuk from Hampi. Most visitors stay across the Tungabhadra River on what is known as Hampi Island, a hippie traveler haven, accessible by water ferry.
What to Do
- Explore the Temples: The main pull of this area are the 1,600+ temples and ruins scattered across the town that you can spend multiple days exploring by tuk-tuk, bicycle, or on foot. It's best to go early in the morning to beat the crowds and heat of the day!
- Rock Climb: There are incredible opportunities to climb the massive granite boulders lining the river on Hampi Island. You can rent equipment at Goan Corner and Tom and Jerry's Climbing Shop if you don't have your own.
- Artisan Markets: Shop for clothes, spices, jewelry, and artisan goods at the local artisan markets located on the main street of Hampi Island and across the river by the bus depot. Chat with the friendly locals too!
- Sunset Views: Take time to climb the boulders on Hampi Island (near Goan Corner) for a magnificent golden hour over the river and watch the stars rise above the rice paddies.
- Swim: Go to Sanapur Lake to cool off on a hot day in the clear waters and enjoy some boulder jumping or even rent inflatable tubes to float down the slow rapids for an afternoon.
- Motorbike: Rent a motorbike or scooter to ride around the surrounding towns and explore the unique landscapes that this area has to offer.