• guide to hampi

Guide to Hampi | Second Time in Hampi

Back to Hampi! The old Vijayanagar empire was the first stop on the Hampi loop of the goMowgli tour. We start in Hampi and then onward to cave temples at Badami, and the temples of Aihole and Pattadakal for a 3-day tour.

Important: Make sure to read my 8 Things to do in Hampi post because this one goes into less detail since I’ve written about this place before.

guide to hampi

guide to hampi

guide to hampi

Guide to Hampi

I always tell people it’s one of the coolest places in India because it is, which is why it’s packed during season (Nov-March). I have also described it as part Jurassic Park, part Flintstones because you can totally picture both dinosaurs walking around or people living in the little nooks and crannies of the rocks.

guide to hampi

guide to hampiIt was such a poppin’ place and kind of ruled all of India in the 16th century that people would buy their rice and such with semi-precious stones. Umm, wtf! That’s insane and I wish we still did that now; I’d be selling rice.

A little Story about Shiva

The Hindu epic, Ramayana takes place in part in Hampi, making it a very famous place regardless of the stones. Shiva and Parvati were married here (I hadn’t realized she was his second wife, and his first Sati (check spelling) had committed suicide via fire- which is still happening in some villages in India today- because her father didn’t approve of her and Shiva’s love. Shiva was so angry that he started getting up to trouble. It gets even more complicated knowing the Indian cupid shot Shiva with an arrow hoping love would make him nice again and he then fell for  Parvati… who was Sati reincarnated. But Shiva being the destroyer he is, used his third eye and burnt cupid because let’s be honest, who wants to get shot with an arrow? All in all it’s good, because later they had a baby called Ganesh!

guide to hampi

guide to hampi

guide to hampiVijayanagar was defeated eventually as the story always goes, and now people are trying to conserve all they left behind- which is one of the 7 wonders of India. Since the last time I was here I noticed instead of rickshaws taking you around, you had to take a little golf cart thing and lots of shops near the temples were completely gone. It’s a UNESCO Heritage Site, but it’s also the home of locals (and a few sloth bears) so they are still working to keep everyone happy.

On Being in Hampi a Second time…

I’ve visited Hampi before with Ben 2 years ago when I’d known him only a week! I’ve always remembered it in my head as being one of my favorite places on earth. While Hampi is still as majestic and unbelievably beautiful as always, I realized in those two years I didn’t relate as much to the backpacking style anymore.

hampi karnataka india boulderstwo years before in Hampi with Ben

guide to hampiwaiting on the boat that crosses to the chiller (backpacker) side of the river

On the whole goMowgli tour, which was obviously very off-beat, this was the first “tourist” place and I was dying to get out and back into the “real India” rather than crappy restaurants serving tea and calling it coffee, everyone playing Bob Marley, and little shops selling all the same trinkets (oh wait, this sounds a lot like Goa! Actually, I avoid places like this in Goa- but it’s harder to do in Hampi). So, I won’t say Hampi’s changed but I have. It is the PERFECT place for a backpacker and regardless of the Bob Marley and hooka craze, I’ll be bringing my parents here when they visit because Hampi has that charm where everywhere you look it’s interesting, photo-worthy, and unexplainable.

guide to hampi

guide to hampi

What to do in Hampi

Read up on my trip to Hampi last time here for lots of information on where to stay, eat, etc in Hampi. It’s important to know the cool side of the river to stay on is the one without the temples and that the boats stop taking people across at 530 PM. No exceptions. This time I stayed at EverGreen and I don’t recommend it.

hampi karnataka india boulders

There’s way more detail on these in the other post but as a reminder these are the main things to see in Hampi:

  • Museum of the Vijayanagara Empire.
  • Virupaksha temple (Lakshmi the temple elephant bathes at 8:30 if you want to go watch and get blessed)
  • The view from Anjanadri Hill

hampi karnataka india boulders

hampi karnataka india boulders

  • The Hemakuta temple which has the monolithic sculpture of Narasimha (Remember how I said Vishnu had 10 reincarnations? This was one.)
  • The Nandi statue
  • Vitalla temple which is from the 1500’s and was used for music. Kids were throwing rocks to make music on the pillars and now it’s under heavy construction. This is where you’ll see the famous stone chariot. You need a ticket here.

guide to hampi

  • Royal Center: Lotus Mahal where the queen used to chill & some elephant stables.

hampi karnataka india boulders

  • Renting a bike to ride to the lake for a little cliff jumping– didn’t do it this time because it was rainy, but loved it last time I was here. You can take a coracle ride in the lake. Beware of crocs.

guide to hampi

guide to hampi

guide to hampi

guide to hampi

guide to hampi

guide to hampi

hampi karnataka india bouldersBecause I was on the tour with goMowgli, I just kind of turned off my brain and followed them around- nice! After a day here of sightseeing, we just chilled out with the rest of the rest of the tourists, as that’s all you see here (and yes, I’m aware I’m one of them!), and had a pretty good pizza at German Bakery. I was excited to start our day early as we headed off to Badami… more temples, but a completely different vibe. Talk about a 180!

guide to hampi

Practical info:

If you’re on the tour with goMowgli, as always you get to pick where you stay. I recommend a place I stayed before and will take my parents called Shanti on the other side of the river; or one called Mowgli next to it. Amazing place. Costs a little more but so worth it to have a quiet night. As part of the tour, the guides here are included and there are no extra “paid” activities because chillin’ by the lake is free! If you’re not on the tour, you can get here by bus easily, or by train but the train will bring you to Hospet about 20 km away where you can catch a rickshaw. Done train and bus to Hospet, both are okay.

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About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Elora February 9, 2015 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    I loved the story about Shiva! I love reading old legends, myths, etc. They’re so imaginative!

  2. Soniya February 10, 2015 at 10:19 am - Reply

    Good read for us …Shiva married Paravti because of a demon Tarka. Tarka was a demon and had a boon that he could only be killed by offspring of Shiva, who was a yogi at that time ..Inorder to break Shiva’s meditation , Kamdeva (god of luv) used that arrow of lust ..
    More read :

  3. Sarah February 11, 2015 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    I love reading all your blogs.
    I was wondering what impact the demolitions had had since your last visit?
    We last went about 3 years ago when they had just started the evictions on the Bazzar area. Are there still guest houses to stay in on the temple side of the river. We stayed In Padmas and had a great time exploring Hampi.

    • Rachel Jones February 11, 2015 at 7:36 pm - Reply

      Yes some bazaar lanes are empty now but the area with Guesthouses is still there.

  4. Tushar March 5, 2015 at 10:26 am - Reply

    I was in Hampi in the month of Januray this year but I want to re-visit it second time.
    I like the photo – green tractor on road. Thanks for sharing. Keep traveling and writing.

  5. Karthik September 27, 2016 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    Thank you very much for the clear views and i am more inspired to go that place now. Planning during oct 8-11.
    can we do camping over there?

    • Rachel Jones September 27, 2016 at 2:47 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure about camping. Didn’t see any. There are sloth bears! and crocs I think so make sure you camp somewhere safe :)

  6. Vishal May 3, 2017 at 4:55 am - Reply

    Amazinn article !! I think you’ll be the best person to tag along with n plan a trip to Hampi . I’m so baffled by the place . Hampi is definitely next on my list

  7. SG August 2, 2017 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    I enjoyed your blog! We are traveling to Hampi by car with our family, 4yr old to 75yr old this month. Are there any family friendly tours or guides that you know off? Is the royal orchid in hospet a good hotel?

    • Rachel Jones August 2, 2017 at 8:30 pm - Reply

      Hey I haven’t stayed at Royal Orchid so not sure – but I’ve stayed at a royal orchid hotel before elsewhere, if it’s a chain then it’s good but not sure. don’t know a tour sorry, only would be to check g adventures for one!

  8. Vaibhav Jain September 28, 2017 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    wonderful article!

  9. sri devi May 27, 2018 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel.Loved your blog and the way you present your journey is inspiring.I am planning to visit Hampi by July mid. Do you think that is the right time? How is the weather?Does it rain too heavy? Appreciate your suggestions.

    Thanks a lot.

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