Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hampi Heat

A Water colour sketch of the Paddy Fields near our Guest House
A quick one here about our recent trip to Hampi.

Getting There and Staying

Stayed two days in a nearby village called Sanapur. Beautiful serene place. Isolated. And surrounded by lush paddy fields and majestic rocky mountains.
Paddy Fields and Rocky Mountains

Lodged at Gowri Guest House. More of a budget place with a reasonably good lodging service and excellent homely food.
Gowri Guest House

Why would you prefer this place? Firstly, Sanapur is not exactly Hampi. It's across the Tungabhadra river. So costs are a bit lower here hopefully. Secondly, the place is full of attractive tourist spots. So, a day loitering around in the neighbouring locales -- particularly the village Anegundi -- is not at all a bad idea.
Hampi from across the River

However, if you do choose to stay across Tungabhadra, here's a word of caution. Getting here from Hospet (which is the nearest railway station, and would probably be your disembarking point) is a breeze during the day. Just take a conveyance to Hampi, and cross the river using the ferry. However, God forbid, if you land up in Hospet at night, you are as good as dead. Ferries stop in the night. So, you have to take a very circuitous and scary ride through dark, deserted stretches to get to Sanapur. And if that misadventure doesn't drill a hole in your pocket, you should consider yourself lucky.

So, here's the bottomline. If staying in Sanapur and coming via Hospet, choose to arrive during the day. If arriving at night, stay put in Hospet.

So, our first day was spent on the other side of Tungabhadra. We saw the following places:
  1. Sanapur Lake: An artificial lake created with the backwaters of Tungabhadra Dam.
  2. Rishimukh Temple: An ancient, very dilapidated and abandoned temple on the spot which is said to be the meeting point of Lord Rama and Shugriva, the monkey king.
  3. Anjaneya Parvat: The alleged birthplace of Hanuman, the monkey god.
  4. Pampa Sarover: The place where, the old lady Shabari had played host to Lord Rama and Lakshmana.
  5. Ranganath Swamy Temple
  6. A Nearby Cottage Industry making very interesting products out of banana tree parts: Essential visit for shopping for curios and seeing some excellent craftmanship.
  7. Chintamani Temple: The spot where Lord Rama is supposed to have killed Vaali, Sugriva's brother.

The second day was spent in Hampi proper. In fact I don't find it important to list down the spots which are very well known and documented about. Here are a few tips which may be practically helpful.

If you book a auto-rickshaw for the day (which we did), you will be done in less than Rs. 1000. The rickshaw driver may act as a stand in for a guide, though a poor one.
Taking a guide for the day is generally supposed to be a good idea. We didn't though. So, I can't say. I have a perception that guides tend to sensationalise a lot, and mayn't give an accurate account of things. A guide can be hired for the entire day for about Rs. 600. There are trained and authorised guide available from the Tourism department.
The poor man's/scholar's option is to read up a priori, and carry notes if required. There are books available on-site which are somewhat overpriced but of reasonable quality. Doesn't hurt to buy one.


Hampi is really hot. All those rocks around (whether sculpted or not) add to the heat. Even in October, the heat was sweltering. Of course, the common way out is to visit in season, which is between December to March or something. But then, it's costly and crowded at that time. So, a poor man's alternative: visit at other times of the year, but protect yourself against the heat. It's not crowded at other times, which is a great plus. Drink a lot of water and coconut water. Take rest. Wear caps and goggles. Use sunscreen lotions, but be OK with getting tanned and sunburned. Make sure you are in a reasonable fitness level.

To put your mind at rest, my 4 year old son braved the heat beautifully without ever complaining. With even a modest amount of eye for aesthetics (which, happily and surprisingly, my little son seems to have even at this little age),  the beauty of the place is going to be the predominating component of your experience. So, don't worry!
Vigyan enthusiastically climbed the 600 steps to the Anjaneya Temple all by himself in the scorching midday heat
Cooling our feet in Tungabhadra water

Visit Again!

As, I assume, there's plenty available out there to read about the beauty of Hampi, I won't go into that. All I have to add is that it's a place which deserves to be visited again and again. I am sure with more knowledge about the glorious history of the Vijayanagara empire that those broken remains continually whisper in your ears while you are there, every subsequent visit is bound to be richer and richer in experiences.

As for me, I have resolved to visit again. And very soon!

Here are some More Photos


Sambaran said...

Hampi blew my mind away. I went there with lot of expectations and none were belied. I enjoyed:
1. The pristine beauty of the place.
2. The name of the hills are from ramayan. Matang/Rishyamukh and all. I do have strong reasons to believe that this place inspired (or was) Kishkindha.
3. I strongly recommend you to read 'Tungabhadra r tirey' - a historical fiction by Sharadindu Banerjee based in hampi. I could relate the places in the novel to the ruins we saw.
4. You could walk in freely into the abandoned stone houses and feel the thrill of walking straight into history.
Its feel good to share the good feelings about Hampi.

ruSh.Me said...

Recently visited Hampi during the Eid long weekend in August. Feared rain, but there was little... Also the rates were cheaper in proper Hampi. Got a guest house, bare neccesity-wala for Rs.500 per day. And also got a bike, which we later realized was useless. Had to walk so much. And no comments on the heat. Got a proper skin-burn too. But the experience was unparalleled and unforgettable.

One thing I think you missed is the climb of Matanga Hill. Highest point of Hampi. Breathless view from the top. Climb is slightly tricky with narrow edges and no railings. But still was fun.

Suvarna said...

I love this place. Stayed in government resort. Good place. Hired a Bike and just roamed around. Totally in love with this historic place