Feb 20, 2017 4 min read


Temple town, rustic by-lanes, friendly cafes and warm smiles – this is my first impression of Hampi. I finally visited this sleepy town in the end of December, a perfect way to ring the new-year.

Hampi, has a lot to offer for people travelling in groups or solo; I did a road trip with my friends. We stayed at a pet friendly guesthouse (booked through Guesthouser), as we had one with us. We were staying next to Virupaksha temple (Lord Shiva temple) and is also the home to “Lakshmi – the temple elephant”, one can witness the dawn and dusk through the hill top of the temple and is worth a visit.

Tungabhadra River flows through Hampi dividing her into 2 parts. Hampi is UNESCO heritage site, one side of the river has ruins from Vijayanagar Empire and the other side of the river has a lot of cafes, paddy fields and Sanapur lake (one of my friend discovered on our way) it’s worth spending few hours.

Our drive from Bengaluru to Hampi took around 7 hours. We reached in the evening and so decided to spend time at the Mango tree café. Most of the cafes here are pet friendly and have low seating, with a laid back attitude. This side of the river serves vegetarian cuisine, they believe being close to the temple, the food needs to be organic. The cafes have plenty to offer and one will be spoiled for choice. We took a little walk next to the river, post our meal and ended our day on the terrace of our guesthouse. The sky was clear and we had company of moonlight and music.

The next day I visited the ruins of Vijayanagara Empire, one can easily spend the whole day amongst the ruins one needs a guide to explain the history, my favorite monuments were Virupaksha temple, Vithala temple, Elephant stable and the stepped tank. In the evening we drove down to a café – the hidden place for dinner. This place is literally hidden from the general tourist places and the drive is an uphill, we had a car and thus it was easy to navigate. We found this place by chance, when we were looking for particular café and the locals suggested this one instead.

On day 3, I went for an early morning run crossing through the ruins and fields; I witnessed the first ray of dawn. Being December the weather was good and there was a nip in the air, adding to the vigor and speed of my run. Post the run we visited other side of the river, it is uniquely different of the previous one. This side has a lot of cafes overlooking the paddy fields, quirky artwork, lots of travelers staying for longer duration and there was something calming in the air.

One can feel a sense of familiarity and camaraderie amongst the locals and travelers. I instantly fell in love with the openness, with which the locals welcomed us at every place we visited. Sanapur lake is close to this side of Hampi, we spend around 2 -3 hours there swimming and relaxing, there are boats rides if one fancies or take a dip in the river, it’s an ideal picnic spot.

I visited a new café for all my meals and realized the people here are very trusting. I vividly remember we were having a leisurely dinner at one of the cafes, in the end when we asked for the cheque the person in charge came and asked for what we had ordered through the meal, he charged us on things we said and no speck of doubt if it was more or less.

The next day we started back for Bangalore, with lots of laughter, memories and a hope to visit again. It is ideal place for an extended weekend trip.

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