The question I get asked most often related to Hampi – Can we cover Hampi over the weekend? Like I said in my earlier article, it’s definitely not possible to cover all attractions in a couple of days. It would take a good week to cover everything. However, this ultimate guide to Hampi sightseeing will definitely give you a good idea about all places to cover in 2 days.
In the first part of this Ultimate guide to Hampi sightseeing we will start with sightseeing places to the North of the river Tungabhadra and then gradually moving south ending with Hemkuta hills.
Ultimate Guide to Hampi Sightseeing
One thing to understand that while this ultimate guide to Hampi sightseeing is meant for weekend travellers, it can also be utilised by anyone with more time to spare. So, instead of breaking things into 2 days, you can use this ultimate guide to Hampi sightseeing as your starting point and divide the sightseeing into 3-5 days based on your convenience.
Today we kickstart our Hampi sightseeing by visiting the Sanapur lake for a coracle ride. Hampi is known for its coracle ride and Sanapur lake offers an opportunity to do both coracle riding as well as cliff jumping, if interested.
Coracle ride was a completely new experience for me and I had fun. It’s approximately 30 mins ride, where the rider will take you around the Sanapur lake and pull off some stunts like spinning the coracle for just added fun. The fare is around ₹500/boat and a boat can easily accommodate 6 people.
If you are interested in Cliff jumping, then that can also be done at an extra charge of ₹100-150/person.
Another popular spot for coracle riding is Tungabhadra river near Virupaksha temple. After the Virupaksha temple you can then take a coracle, and go for an hour long ride to see interesting rock formations and some temples.
Anjanadri Hill & Temple
After the coracle ride, next stop was Anjanadri parvata. This is a tall hill located to the North of Tungabhadra and overlooks Hampi. An interesting bit of history about this place, Hampi is identified as Kishkinda of Ramayana. Its the area where Hanuman, Bali & Sugriva lived.
The hill is named after Hanuman’s mother Anjanadevi. As per folklore, it’s said that after giving birth to Anjaneya (Hanuman); Anjanadevi felt thirsty and was in need of water to wash herself. Seeing his mother like that, Anjaneya turned the course of the river Tungabhadra for the sake of his mother.
Note, the temple closes by 4 PM and there are 357 steps to get to the top of the hill and the temple. So make sure you arrive by 3:30 PM at least. This temple complex also serves as an excellent place to catch the sunset.
Unfortunately for us we arrived past 4 PM and we made a decision to visit the temple next day and instead head to Laxmi Narasimha, Badavi Linga and then enjoy the sunset at Hemkuta hills.
Laxmi Narasimha / Ugra Narasimha temple
Ugra Narasimha literally translates to the angry/fierce version of Narasimha (who was one of the avatars of Vishnu). This statue is carved from a single rock and even had a canopy like structure above it in the past.
However, when an alliance of around 5 muslim kings finally captured Hampi in 1565, they destroyed most of the monuments. Even for this statue there used to be another statue of Goddess Lakshmi which is now completely destroyed, only the remains of her hand are visible.
This monument just like many others in India is a living proof of the destructive and non tolerant behaviour of the invading muslims. Luckily, the monument has stood the test of time and is a proud reminder of our heritage, architecture and culture.
Another stunning monument, right next to the Narasimha statue. It’s a monolithic Shivlinga carved out of a single stone. The lower part of the linga remains immersed in the water throughout the year. It’s achieved using a unique piece of water engineering which draws water from the Tungabhadra river into the Shivlinga enclosure.
Next we passed by the Krishna temple and headed to Saasivekaalu Ganesha temple. It’s another monolithic statue carved out of a single stone thats around 2.5 meters in height located in an open pillared mandapa. Sasive kalu in Kannada means mustard seed.
The interesting thing about this statue is that if you look from behind it appears that lord Ganesha is sitting in mother Parvati’s lap.
Hemkuta Hill Sunset point
Next we reached the sunset point and it was already buzzing with people. It seems that this is the most popular and easily accessible sunset point in Hampi. We initially roamed around and visited some of the temples near the Sunset point and then settled ourselves on one of the boulders to take in the sunset.
One of my major disappointments with Angkor Wat was that Pre-Rup is the only temple in the complex from where you get a good sunset view. In Hampi, on the contrary there are plenty of sunset points.
But if you are going to spend only 1/2 sunsets in Hampi, I would highly recommend the Hemkuta point followed by Anjanadri Hill as it gives a panoramic view of Hampi.
Temples of Hemkuta hill
While getting down from the hill towards Virupaksha temple you will see plenty of small temples & rock boulders on the hill. These temples make for an excellent sunset photoshoot opportunity, as you can see in the pics.
It’s a 7th century Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Virupaksha or Pampapati temple is also one of the most sacred temples in Hampi. The temple was originally a small shrine, which was later expanded into a bigger complex during 16th century AD. The entire temple complex is within a long rectangular complex divided into 2 large courts, with towering Gopuras.
The main sanctum houses Shivalinga known as Virupaksha, the tutelary deity of the Vijayanagara kings. The speciality of the temple though is the ceiling paintings in the Ranga Mandapa. Also, before I forget there is Lakshmi (the temple elephant). I was told by someone that the entire village depends on the income she generates.
Roaming around the Hampi market & Dinner
There is no other way to put it. Food at Mango tree is overhyped and definitely not worth the reviews on the internet. I don’t know how they have managed it, but the place was packed when we visited and had to wait for 15-20 mins to get a table. I don’t mind the wait as long as the food is good.
However, we were massively disappointed. As a group of 15-20 folks we ordered plenty of varied dishes and except for the Nutella pancake and a mushroom dish everything else was pretty oki’sh.
The paneer sizzler and banoffee pie were downright bad. If you follow my blogs, you know how much I loved banoffee pie and how I had done a post about the best food places in Mcleodganj with special emphasis on banoffee pie. So needless to say I was terribly disappointed. I had to resort to Egg Bhurji & chapati just to fill myself after a hectic day. Here’s my review of Mango Tree on Google. That reminds me, you can follow me on Google to stay updated with all my reviews.
Tomorrow, we have an early morning wake up call as we want to be the first ones to reach the Vijaya Vitthala temple, so that we can have the stone chariot all to ourselves. Let’s head to Day 2.