Hampi's offbeat side

Hampi's offbeat side

Majestic temples and the forlorn ruins make Hampi one of the most popular historical places in Karnataka. When I first visited Hampi several years ago as a student, it was surreal to see the ancient ruins that I had only seen in my history books come alive.

However, my recent experience in Hampi was different and unique in many aspects. The erstwhile temple town is now also a place to relax and unwind. As an UNESCO world heritage site, Hampi has seen quite a few changes over the past years, attracting more tourists in the process.

On the flip side, you would notice that this historical town is more commercial than ever. While Hampi is filled with tourists soaking in the magnificence of ancient temples and ruins, the other side of River Tungabhadra is a world of its own. Virupapura Gadde, as it is called, has transformed in the recent times. To cater to the needs of growing tourists, a number of new guest houses and resorts have sprung up around the paddy fields offering basic yet comfortable stay.

An early morning coracle ride brought us to the other side of the river. We spent part of the day relaxing in the cafes looking over green paddy fields, taking a stroll in the evening to watch the sunset. Next morning, we set out to explore the less- beaten roads beyond the row of cafes leading us to lush green. Boulder-strewn landscapes, pure air to soak in, pristine lake and silent river — what more could we ask for! 

About 10 km from Virupapura Gadde, is the village of Anegundi. This quaint little village is mostly devoid of tourists, making it a peaceful hamlet. Staying overnight in one of the heritage homes would be a great idea if you want to be away from the crowd.

There are a few temples of religious importance in and around this place like Anjanadri, which is believed to be the birth place of Lord Hanuman and Chintamani Temple, a Shiva temple located on the  bank of the river. We took a dip in the river, watching the sunset behind the piles of huge boulders, while the local kids eagerly assisted tourists to get in and out of water safely.

Perfect getaway
About five km away from Virupapura Gadde is the pristine lake of Sanapura and this is something that should not be missed. Serene and blue, Sanapura Lake is largely a reservoir. A refreshing swim in the lake and a coracle ride during sunset certainly make the trip worthwhile.

Hampi was a perfect getaway well-spent by unwinding amidst nature, relaxing in tolerably crowded cafes and revisiting its majestic ruins. As much as we enjoyed the magnificence of the ancient ruins, laidback yet vibrant life on the other side of the river left us relaxed and rejuvenated.

Here are a few aspects that you need to keep in mind while visiting the place:
Two wheelers are available for rent on one side of the river. However, it cannot be brought over to the temple side.

If you are interested in seeing Hampi in cycles, there are some available for rent.

Otherwise, one can hire rickshaws to visit the temples and ruins.

From Bengaluru, Hampi is roughly 343 kms away via NH4 and NH13. It is also well-connected by rail and road from major cities via Hospet.

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