Hampi Travel Guide: Places to see in Hampi

Hampi is an ancient village in the northern Karnataka, India. During its prime, Hampi was one of the richest and largest cities in the world during its prime as the capital of the Vijayanagar Empire. The ruins of Hampi houses temple, ponds, ancient markets etc. for which Hampi has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its group of monuments.

Hampi was also ranked second on the list of must-see places in 2019 by NewYork times. Also, Hampi was ranked as one of Asia’s top emerging travel destinations for 2019. In this Hampi Travel Guide, we will talk about different places to see in Hampi and how can we see places of interest in Hampi in one day.


How to reach Hampi from Bangalore? Distance, Bus, and train

Bangalore to Hampi distance is 350 Kms. The best way to travel to Hampi from Bangalore will be by train. Because in India, trains are cheaper, faster and more comfortable.

However, there is no direct train to Hampi so you will have to take a train to Hospet which is the nearest town to Hampi and from there, you can go to Hampi by minibus or taxi or by booking an auto or Tuktuk. More information is given below:

Bangalore to Hampi Train:

There is no direct train from Bangalore to Hampi because there is no railway station in Hampi. So to reach Hampi by train, you can get down at Hospet railway station which is the nearest railway station.

Below is the train information from Bangalore to Hospet for Hampi.
Note: The last train in this list show train from Goa Hospet.

Train No Train Name Running Day from Origin station Departure time from Bangalore Arrival in Hospet Travel time
16217 Mysore-Sainagar Shirdi Express Monday 8:15 AM 16:55 PM 8:40 Hours
Garib Nawaj Express Friday 17:00 PM 02:55 AM 9:55 hours
Yashwantpur Jaipur Express Sunday 17:00 PM 02:55 AM 9:55 hours
16592  Hampi Express Everyday  22:00 PM 07:10 AM  9:10 hours
 Bangalore-Hospet Passenger  Everyday  22:15 PM 11:40 AM 13:25 hours
 Amravati Express  Every day except Mon, wed, Sat  07:10 Am from Vasco Da Gama 14:48 PM 07:38 hours

Once you reach Hospet, you can take the local bus service or hire an auto to reach Hampi from Hospet which is 13 Kms.

Just before Hospet on the way to Hampi

Bangalore to Hampi By road:

Road condition from Bangalore to Hampi:

Traveling to Hampi from Bangalore follows the route: Bangalore to Tumakuru, Tumkur to Chitradurga, Chitradurga to Hosapete/ Hospet and Hospet to Hampi.

First stretch: Bangalore to Chitradurga (200 Kms)

There is a three-lane highway (NH4) from Bangalore to Chitradurga via Tumkur. You can comfortably drive at around 120 kph on this road. There are also Dhabas and roadside hotels with bathroom at regular intervals along this stretch. Driving from Bangalore to Chitradurga should take around 3 hours including traffic.

Second stretch: Chitradurga to Hampi (150 Kms)

There is just a double road, that too in not so good condition, from Chitradurga to Hampi. This 150 Km of stretch takes around 3 hours to reach Hampi. Do not expect Dhaba or restaurant facilities along this road as this road passes through mostly the barren lands. You will encounter a lot of trucks on the way so be careful.

Tunnel after Hospet before Hampi

Bangalore to Hampi bus:

Bangalore to Hampi by bus will be a tiring journey. However, you can book tickets for Hampi at either KSRTC website or at redbus. KSRTC is Karnataka State official bus service. However, it runs only one bus daily from Bangalore to Hampi. Here is the KSRTC bus information to Hampi from Bangalore:

Departure time Origin Point Via Arrival time fare
 23:00 PM Kempagowda Bus Terminal one: Opposite Sangam Hospet 6:30 AM 630 rupees

Staying options in Hampi

There are multiple staying options in Hampi. Either you can stay on the Hampi side of the river or across the river on the other side called Virupapura. I would term the staying options in Hampi as either very good or either very bad. Be careful while choosing the stay there. They might be ill-maintained and will be dirty. So, double check before checking in.

Besides, there are some good resorts also on the other side of the river which are really good. I usually prefer google map to find out hotels. Here is the link for hotels around Hampi. Wikitravel also has some information on where to sleep in Hampi, here is the link.

Getting fresh in Hampi:

If you are there in Hampi for just one day, At the Hampi main bus stand, there is a toilet (Sulabh Shauchalaya), there you can get fresh in the morning and travel all day.

And if you want to take a bath then you can go to the Tungabhadra river and take a bath there. There is another public toilet near the Tungabhadra ghats there you can also get fresh in the morning.

How to visit Hampi in one day?

Hiring a guide:

Near Virupaksha temple, there is a tourist office. You can hire a guide from there. Forget not to bargain and also fix the number of places the guide will show you.

In one day, you can do ample sightseeing around Hampi to different ruins and locations around Hampi which still have the heritage sites. But, if you love photography and if you are a big fan of ancient history, then Hampi is the place where you can spend at least three days to know more about this place.

On foot / Bicycle / Tuktuk /Car

There are three ways in which you can visit Hampi in one day. Either on foot (not recommended), on a bicycle (terrain is too uneven and the weather is not so favorable either). The bicycle will cost you around 200 per day. But it might be exhausting for you as the weather in Hampi is not so perfect for bicycling.

By Auto-rickshaw, you can cover most of the places but that would be expensive as well. Since most of the ruined sites are situated far apart in miles and if you have the target of covering everything in a single day then either Auto or car will be the most suitable choice. An Auto-rickshaw will cost you around INR 1000 for the entire day.

By Car also, you can travel around Hampi. A car is the most comfortable with AC. There are two links that I found on the internet for the car rentals.

  • https://www.hampitrip.com/CarRentals.aspx
  • http://www.kushitravels.com/hospet-car-rental.php

These car rentals operate from Hospet to Hampi and also Hampi sightseeing entire day.

Before we talk more about the places to see in Hampi, let’s have a glance at the brief history of Hampi which will help us in understanding this ancient beautiful city better.

Hampi History:

History of Hampi Karnataka dates back to the first settlement in 1st CE. Rock scriptures found in the different parts of India suggest that Hampi was a part of the Ashokan Kingdom during 3rd CE. Also, Excavation from the different sites in Hampi dates back to 2nd CE.

During medieval times, Hampi was chosen as one of the best areas for being the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire from 1343 to 1565. Hampi had a strategic location. Bounded by the Tungabhadra river on one side and hills on other three sides, Hampi was one of the safest places to be declared as the capital of the Vijayanagar empire from the attacks of the Deccan looters. It was destroyed in a similar fashion as the destruction of Nalanda University by another looter.

Tungabhadra river in Hampi

The Hampi history was first discovered by Colonel Colin Mackenzie in 1800. Hampi seemed a historically and architecturally rich site. Hills around Hampi have large stones and boulders which were used to make temples, markets, pillars, ponds, stables, walls, houses etc.

You can still find the stone sculptures showing Arab, Roman, Chinese traders on the temple’s stones. There used to be a market of Gold and diamonds in Hampi to which Deccan Muslim rulers were always eyeing for. That’s why Hampi was attacked time and again by the Muslim rulers.

Nandi or Monolithic bull in Hampi

At the end of the main Hampi bazaar street, there is a big monolithic bull statue of Nandi. This monolithic bull is situated at a little height from the bazaar street of Hampi. From here, you get to see the busy streets of Hampi and also, it lies in front of the Virupaksha temple. Did you know that there is a hill named after Nandi near Bangalore called Nandi Hills

Sri Virupaksha Temple, Hampi

Opposite to the Nandi statue, on the other side of the Hampi main bazaar street, lies the Virupaksha temple. It’s a magnificent temple with a glorious Gopuram at the entrance. Erected in the 7th AD, this temple is the oldest functioning temple in India.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is also dedicated to goddess Pampa who is related to the river Tungabhadra. There are also music pillars across the temple and there is also an illusion of shadows of the temple-tomb inside the temple. There is also an elephant inside the temple complex.

KadaleKalu Ganesha, Hampi

Kadalekalu Ganesha is another monolithic beauty in Hampi. This statue, as obvious from the name itself, is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. This monolithic statue of Ganesha is around 5 meter in height. It is a very beautiful statue situated inside the temple. This statue was made by traders who used to come to Hampi for trading.

Sasivekalu Ganesha, Hampi

Sasivekalu Ganesha is another monolithic statue of Lord Ganesha in Hampi situated nearer to KadaleKalu Ganesha. Like KadaleKalu Ganesha, Sasivekalu Ganesha was also made by traders from Chandragiri in 1506 AD. However, this statue is in open and this is about 8-9 feet high.

Sunset Point, Hampi

Sunset point is around five minutes of walk from the Sasivekalu Ganesha. The sunset point offers a really nice view of the rubbles and ruins of Hampi along with the temples and rocks. You can also sit there and relax for a while. Sunset point is also a perfect location for panoramic photography. You can also see nearby villages and paddy fields from this point.

Sri Krishna Temple, Hampi

Sri Krishna temple was built by the king (Krishna Devaraya) in 1513 AD to celebrate the conquest of the Eastern Kingdom of Udayagiri in Orrisa state. This temple has a large open corridor with high walls containing the sanctum for the main deity and as well as there are many sub-shrines.

Remnants of Krishna bazaar, Hampi

One of the pillars in the interior hall is noteworthy as all the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu are carved on it including the Kalki Avatar from the Kaliyug. The west face of the tower contains stucco figures of warriors with shields, spirited horses and elephants. This temple is located just in front of the Krishna bazaar.

Krishna bazaar, Hampi

Krishna Bazaar is located just opposite to the Sri Krishna temple. There is also a Pushkarni at the end of the bazaar. Pushkarni means a pond. There are around thousands of pillars in the Krishna Bazaar. Krishna bazaar is one of most favorite places to see in Hampi.

Different visiting sites at Hampi also reminded me of Mahabalipuram in some way due to ruins, sculptures and old temples.

Sri Ugra Narasimha, Hampi

Sri Ugra Narasimha is a statue dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is one of his Avatars. This is the largest statue in Hampi. It is around 20 feet tall. The Ugra Narasimha statue also has fangs of the King cobra around him. This statue is little different from most of the statues dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Underground Shiva temple, Hampi

The underground Shiva temple is situated at a level below the normal ground level. You can see this temple from the top and you can also walk inside the temple. But forget not to carry a torch and you should also be careful while going inside the temple as there are bats and there is darkness inside the temple.

Hazara Rama temple, Hampi

Hazara means thousand and Rama refers to Lord Ram. Not so famous but this temple depicts the entire story of Ramayana on its walls. You can experience the finesse of the sculptures depicting the Ramayana story on its walls.

Sabha Mantap/ Dassara Dibba/ Maharamnavami Dibba, Hampi

Sabha Mantap is also known as Dassara Dibba or the Maharamnavami Dibba. Sabha Mantap was a raised platform where the king would sit and watch a celebration. Sabha Mantap is an east facing platform rises to a height of 12 m and is built in three diminishing tiers.

The first tier and the one above measures 40 and 24 square m respectively and is built of well-dressed massive granite blocks. The Mahanavami Dibba was the hub of religious ceremonies like Durga Puja, Navarathiri, Diwali that were celebrated by the Vijayanagar Kings.

The Mahanavami platform is popularly known as the throne platform or house of victory and was built in three phases. In the first phase, the platform was definitely imposing and majestic.

It was built of well-dressed granite blocks and decorated with a variety of courtly scenes, festive moods, hunting scenes and rows of animals and birds, carved in relief around the platform, representing the life and times of the people of Vijayanagara.

In the second phase, a chamber was provided on the eastern side with a flight of steps in the north and south, leading from the chamber to the roof of the platform.

The platform was decorated with panels depicting elephants, geese, dancers, musicians, medallions and miniature shrines carved in relief. The third phase of the platform was encased with beautifully carved schist blocks.

Pushkarani & Royal Enclosure, Hampi

Sabha Mantap was a part of the Royal enclosure and so was the Pushkarani. Pushkarani was a kind of swimming pool for the king. It was based on ancient techniques. It is another beautiful pond to see in Hampi.

Pushkarini in Hampi

Queens Bath, Hampi

Queen’s bath is a place where queen used to take bath. Queen’s bath is famous for its beautiful carvings on the wall. it is a large, square structure with a plain exterior and an ornate interior. It has a bath, 15 m square, and 1.8 m deep, surrounded by decorated corridors and projecting balconies.

Some remnants of elaborate stucco work and variegated designs are visible on the ceilings of each bay. It is located near the Royal Enclosure. It was used by the women of noble families and occasionally by the King himself.

Zenana’s enclosure, Hampi

The Zenana Enclosure was a fortified and secluded area reserved for the royal ladies of the Vijayanagara Empire. The Zenana Enclosure is located in the area approaching the Royal Enclosure and near the Ranga Temple.

The enclosure is a sprawling compound that had tall walls surrounding it on all sides and watch-towers to keep guard against any trespassers. It was constructed during the days of the Vijayanagara Empire. The highlight of the Zenana Enclosure is the Lotus Mahal or Kamal Mahal, one of the most remarkable structures in Hampi.

Lotus Mahal, Hampi

Lotus Mahal is so beautiful. It is also known as Kamal Mahal or Chitrangini Mahal. This building is symmetrical in nature. It was a kind of Natural AC system.

Lotus Mahal, Hampi

Elephant Stable, Hampi

The Elephant Stable in Hampi is an impressive structure that was used to provide shelter for the royal elephants of the Vijayanagara Empire. The elephant stable is located in the area that lies just outside the Zenana Enclosure.

It is one of the very few structures that have not suffered extensive damage during the Mughal attack on Hampi that led to the downfall of the Vijayanagara Empire in 1565 A.D. The ancient stable is a major attraction among the tourists even today. There is a total of eleven stables. Each of the eleven Chambers is used during the Dussehra festival.

Elephant Stable, Hampi

Shiva temple

This Shiva temple situated beside the river is a magnificent place to see. It has a lot of pillars and this place is like a labyrinth, the appealing Siva Temple is surrounded with water and the structure acts as both a natural air conditioner and water storage tank. The air surrounding this place is very cool and relaxing and one might just end up contemplating nature with a smile on their faces.

Sri Vitthala/ Vijaya Vitthala temple

Vijaya Vitthala temple is one of most beautiful sculptures and temples to see in Hampi. It has a lot of history behind it. On the stone carvings and sculptures, you can see the sculptures of Iranian, Chinese, and European traders on temple walls.

There are also sounding pillars. Some guides told me that using the sandalwood sticks, musicians used to play the sound stone pillars and the sound could be heard almost more than a mile from this temple.

It is home to one of the only three stone chariots in India. However, wheels of the chariot have been jammed now. There is also a Nritya Mahal (a separate building for dance and other recreational activities) is also interesting for the use of acoustics to generate different melodies from the stone pillars – this goes to show how advanced the civilization was!

Besides, you can also see Jaya & Vijaya statues, two guards of the Lord Vishnu temples. You can also see water conservation technique in the temple complex. Also, there are different stone sculptures telling different stories of Krishna and many-in-one animal sculptures inside the temple complex and on its walls.

Kings balance, Hampi

Kings balance is also known as Tula Bhara or Tula Purushadana, The king used to weigh himself with Gold, Gems, Silver and precious stones and distributed to the priests.

Achutaraya temple, Hampi

Achutaraya temple is situated at the foothills of the Mathanga hills. Just in front of this temple, there is a street which used to be a market in the ancient times known as Achutaraya bazaar. Most of this temple’s parts are under renovation.

Mathanga hill, Hampi

From Mathanga hill, you can see the entire town of Hampi. You can also trek to the top of the hill. At the top of the Mathanga hill, there is another temple named VeeraBhadra temple. Trekking to this perfect hill takes about an hour but it is all worth the effort.

On top of this hill, one can get an aerial view of the entire Vijayanagara Kingdom. Best time to climb is during Sunset. When the sun sets, you can see the color of the rocks changing their colors accordingly.

Some of the places in Karnataka where you can explore such more historical sites are Badami Caves and Pattadakal.

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About trekkerp

Author of The Girl from the Woods and a Travel writer from India looking forward to collect quirky tales from around the world

21 Replies to “Hampi Travel Guide: Places to see in Hampi”

  1. S

    Thank you for information, much useful. But just want to highlight your line “… muslim looters…” you are wrongly generalizing whole community 🙁

  2. Shantanu

    Its really helpful and awesome description that you had given here. Keep up the good work. The guy in black T-Shirt (BABBAL MAHARAJ) in 2nd pic had just woke up I guess.

  3. The T

    As a visitor from the US, your article is very helpful. Thanks for collecting the train schedules etc. Some comments about safety, haggling with the local drivers will be helpful. For westerns, we may prefer a Car Service or for some, a Travel company – any comments about this will be helpful. Keep in mind, your article may have great impact on travel for many around the world. Great work! Safe travels.


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