This was a weekend trip I went on with a group of friends to visit the ruins of Hampi. One weekend was enought o see the highlights of the place, but if you have any special interest in history, or want to just take it at a slower pace, I would recommend 3 days at least.
We arrived early in the morning at Hosapete on an overnight bus. Most buses connect to Hosapate and from there it's a half hour auto ride to Hampi. We had a quick breakfast of idli-dosa at Hospet and then got into an auto to get to Hampi.
The first stop of the day was the largest temple in Hampi - the Virupaksha temple.
The temple itself had some interesting architecture that we spent some time wandering around. Personally, I found the surrounding areas more interesting. At the back of the temple, there was a stepwell. On the otherside, there was a large rocky expanse dotted with smaller ruins. These were up a small slope, and from the height one can see the whole Virupaksha temple compound.
After exploring these for a while, we headed off east along the road leading up to the temple to see a large nandi, and then to the very beautiful Achyutaray temple. I personally liked this temple far better since it was a little out of the way with no motorable road leading to it. When we visited, we were the only people there.
Beside the temple, there was a small rocky hill- Matanga hill, that we climbed up and got to see a lovely view of the Achyutaraya temple compound.
From here, we headed north along the Tungabhadra river. I personally felt exploring Hampi on foot was the best decision. There are so so many little ruins scattered all over Hampi that you would miss if you went on a tour in a car. Many of them are unmarked.
We walked along this path till we reached another famous temple - the Vijay Vitthala temple. We saw many small and large temples and other ruins on the way. Some of them were right beside the river and had very scenic views. The Vitthala temple houses the iconic stone chariot of Hampi.
After some time at the temple, we took an autorickshaw to our hotel- We stayed at the hotel north of the Tungabhadra river, somewhere around here. It seems that hotel has closed down since, as I cannot find it any more. But it was very similar to other nearby hotels- cottages in lush green farmland surroundings. The auto droppes us off on the souther bank of the river, where we had to take a small ferry to the other side, and walk over to our hotel.
We settles in and got some rest after the long walk in the sun we had earlier. In the evening we walked out to a nearby hill, called the sunset point, so.. that's right... see the sunset. It seems like a lot of other people had the same idea since it was pretty crowded. Even so, it was a lovely rocky area with great places to just climb around and explore.
We had dinner and beer at one of the many eateries on the same lane and went to bed.
The next morning, after breakfast, we took an auto rickshaw to visit the Anjaneya hill.
We drove through lush scenery of rick fields, coconut trees and the Tungabhadra river. The Hill itself had around 500 steps cut into the rock that led up to a Hanuman temple at the top. This is believed to be the birthplace of the god Hanuman.
The views from the top were stunning and you could see most of Hampi.
From there, we took the same autorickshaw (booked for the day) to the Lotus Mahal further south. That compound had a number of structures, include the beatiful lotus mahal, the impresisve elephant stables (where they used to actually keep elephants!), a watchtower, and a small museum housing various artefacts from the area.
After exploring the area, we next went to the Queen's Bath- another beautiful monument.
At this point it was latein the afternoon and we had some lunch in Hampi town. As a last stop we went to the main Hampi museum- I wish we had gone there first as it was very informative and we would have had more perspective as we visited each of the ruins. I would definitely recomment going here first, if you have the time. They also sell a small guidebook to Hampi. Note that I would recommend buying the official book from the Archeological Survey of India. There were a number of other books being sold all over the city that were both expensive and filled with unreliable information. The ASI book was informative, but unfortunately was only sold at this museum.
After the museum, we headed back to Hospet to catch another overnight bus back home.