Ruined in Hampi

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December 25th 2015
Published: January 13th 2016
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How lucky we were that we got train tickets to go to Hampi before christmas. This was nearly impossible and I still have to thank this wonderful and patient travel agent in Agonda who booked us the tickets 2 weeks in advance. As it was a day train and only a 7,5 hours trip from Madgaon to Hampi, we did not care about a general class ticket. The journey was great and the landscape especially in the beginning around the Dandeli Wildlife Parc really beautiful. In Hubli a horde of army guys came onto the train. But they were very kind and respectful. The train was packed but the journey still pleasant. Arriving in Hospet we were immediately attacked by the rickshaw drivers who wanted to take us to Hampi. No thank you - the local bus is much cheaper, convenient and fast. Only 30 minutes later we were in Hampi.

Famous Hampi - how many travelblogs have we read from bloggers raving about this serene spot. About the special atmosphere in Hampi. Well, the first thing we noticed was: Hampi is packed with tourists. Mainly indian tourists. Well, it is high season, accomodation is hard to get and really expensive (especially considering what you get). We had booked 3 nights in a non AC simple room in Hampi Bazaar for 2.000 Rupees! Across the river, where we originally wanted to stay, everything was booked for the next 2 weeks. Cheaper digs were impossible to find (despite one wants to sleep in a shit hole). Wow - glorious Hampi. It did not start that glorious and peaceful for us. Later, we found poor travellers sleeping in restaurants for one night as they did not get a room. We were lucky though. But the cost of the rooms ruined our budget. Anyway, we stayed a fourth night at a different place. It was awful, but the only way to see all the sights.

After our bad start in Hampi we headed to a roof top restaurant to enjoy the sunset and the views. That was indeed relaxing and nice! For dinner we ended up in the Mango Tree Restaurant in Hampi Bazaar. It was very relaxed, friendly and had amazing food! So we came here every single night.

Next morning it was time to explore Hampi. As our room was directly on the path to the river, we woke up at around 6 am when all the school groups and other people who slept in the temple (and that were hundreds of people) went down to the river for the morning routine. OK, we followed them (not for our morning routine ;-)), but simply to watch the happenings. Well, when we say morning routine - this includes everything! People were shitting in the bushes and in between the rocks. They were all taking a bath in the dirty river where big crocodiles are supposed to be. They were washing their clothes, cleaning their teaths and so on.... It was a big event and great fun to watch.

Later we had a relaxing breakfast in a decent rooftop restaurant. First we decided to get an idea of Hampi by foot. We started to walk up Hemakuta Hill from where one can get a nice view over Hampi Bazaar. Furth on we went to the Krishna Temple and as far as the Lakshmi Narashima Tempel. Back to Hampi for a late lunch and than it was time to hike up Matanga Hill, the best place to enjoy the beautiful sunsets here.

The next day before further roaming around Hampi we had an important task to do. Where will we go after Hampi. Later than the 26 of december there was no space left in Hampi for us. As we thought to travel to some remote areas we excpected to not face any problems in finding a place. BIG mistake! We wanted to stay in Badami for 2 nights - everything fully booked. A travel agent found us a room in Bagalkot and he was also able to book a long distance bus for us later on, as all train tickets for the next 2 weeks were completely sold out. No need to say, that the remaining tickets were not a bargain! We were a bit frustrated - where is the fun of travelling when you have to prebook everything? And it was really ruining our budget. But we had no other possibility. Later the day, it was Hampi time again. We rented some bicycles an drove to the ruins further away, like the famous Elephant Stables, the Lotus Mahal and the Vittala Temple with the stone chariot. It was fun and it was really beautiful and once away from the most famous temples it was a very peaceful atmosphere. And of course, we visited the Virupaksha Temple - the only temple that is still in use here. Lucky enough, we could join a wedding ceremony there! On our last day, we decided to cross the river to Virupapur. There is a totally different feeling on this side of the river. We were very sad that we could not stay here as we liked it much more. It was still busy and full of tourists but has a more rural feeling with nice views over rice terrasses and boulders. We had a relaxing time and lunch in the Secret River View Guesthouse with fantastatic vies over the river to the Virupaksha Temple. Later, we walked over the boulders into a little valley an further down the river to the next coracle crossing. This was wonderful! No crowds, just some climbers hanging around the boulders. The landscape was stunning! For the first time we realised why so many people rave about Hampi. When we reached the river again we crossed over in a coracle and walked back to Hampi along the river, visiting some more temples and ruins. We ended the day with another sunset on a rooftop and a fantastic dinner in the Mango Tree Restaurant.

Well, Hampi did not leave us speechless. It is not a MUST visit place for us although it is nice. Maybe the crowds were to much - but anyway it is very touristy. The landscape is beautiful and the ruins are beautiful - we missed the special spirit we heard about so often. We simply did not get it. We had a good time, it was nice to see all the ruins, there are some relaxed places to hang out and have a good time. But that's it. 4 days of ruins were enough. We were ruined ;-) by the ruins and the prices here.

So if you want to go to Hampi, do it. You will have a good time. But avoid peak season when you will not get a bed cheaper than 1000 rupees for a cramped room (if you can get a bed at all).

Curiously about what was coming next, we took the bus to Bagalkot? Never heard of this place? No problem, you are not alone....... That is our next blog.

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Additional photos below
Photos: 55, Displayed: 26


public toiletpublic toilet
public toilet

no wonder people shit and pee everywhere.....
Virupaksha TempleVirupaksha Temple
Virupaksha Temple

the main temple is still in use
school groups all wanted pictures with usschool groups all wanted pictures with us
school groups all wanted pictures with us

only sometimes we said yes....
this family just gave me their daughterthis family just gave me their daughter
this family just gave me their daughter was hard to give her back to them.....

13th January 2016

Budget frustrations
We often avoid traveling in high season for all the reasons your blog just described. The crowds of people, the lack of accommodation,the inability to be spontaneous and the increased cost can put a dent in the budget. I'm certainly glad you didn't have to sleep in a restaurant. Very cool that you got to see a wedding ceremony.
13th January 2016

sleeping in a restaurant
Oh yes, as these are indian restaurants, you probably share the bed with coackroaches, rats etc.. we were lucky. We met a poor japanese single traveller who really had no other possibility.
14th January 2016
typical tourist shop in Hampi

nice experience
finally you enjoined the trip know. That is great. Write about your Bijapur visit.
14th January 2016
Hampi impressions

It can only get better, I hope!
When it's high season, I generally head for the least popular places. How lucky that your agent was able to get you a ticket and three days in Hampi--I had no idea that India had such a high season, but I guess there are a lot of Indians who could fill up a place. So trippy the elephant stables--I never considered their existence. Glad you got to spend just the right amount of time there, and hopefully, in your next, little-heard-of place, it will be more tranquil.
15th January 2016
Hampi impressions

high season in India
we did not expect this kind of high season in india neither. We expected in in Goa over christmas - that is why we left Goa. But we did not expect that a hindu country has christmas holidays.......
17th December 2019

Not just you..
Its definitely not just you, I am currently in Hampi and can't wait to leave.. The annoying music from across the river woke me up at 4 a.m., and won't quit all day.. Not relaxing.. The city is quite shit, with trash everywhere and people shitting in the streets.. Along with packs of dogs barking through the night, this place is anywhere but peaceful.. I will be moving on..

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