Hampi did not charm us for the initial half a day. The extreme heat and arid weather was less than motivating, there is a dearth of good accommodation if you want to stay in Hampi town, and it is a religious town and we are pretty neutral to the dogmas. Yet, when it was time to leave Hampi, we wished we could stay longer. The little town won us over with the laid-back bohemian vibe and the sheer simplicity in the air. Let me take you through the essence of Hampi the way I see it.
Marvel at the sight of ruins
If history is your thing, then Hampi will be your disneyland; and the barren beauty that this village is will not fail to entice you with its mysticism, what with its connection to Hindu mythology (In Ramayana, there is mention of Hampi as Kishkindha, the kingdom of Bali, Sugriva’s elder brother). There is no wonder that Hampi has scored a slot in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Stroll through Hampi Bazaar
Hampi bazaar is dotted with restaurants and cafes, hotels and guesthouses, handicraft and apparel shops. We found ourselves a low-seating table for breakfast and spent the better part of our afternoon just lazing there. I think I might even have dozed off here and there.
Adore the colors and the banjaras
As you meander in the streets of tiny Hampi Bazaar, you will come across a myriad of bright colors. The locals and the banjaras (aka the Lambanis of Hampi) not only sell exquisite mirror work accessories, but don them too.
Row towards Virupapur Gadde, the other side of Hampi
On the other side of the river Tungabhadra river is this quaint laid-back village that reeks hippie vibe. More popular with the foreign tourists, this region is less beaten as compared to its neighborhood Hampi. Canoes and coracle boats are the primary means of transportation to get there. Many cafes/restaurants are seamed along the paddy fields that makes for the essence of this terrain. Hire a bicycle or walk your way through the laid-back village.
Find your favorite spot by the riverside
Hampi is dotted with small to big historical sanctums. One in picture here soon became my favorite since it was a tad isolated and had a view of quiet waters. You can meditate here, or spin up a joint, whatever you fancy. Even though alcohol is prohibited in Hampi, you may be approached by the locals (a cattle grazer most likely) peddling weed while you’re unwinding in the solitary sanctum. Every now and then you will smell the whiff of it in the air, giving the town a bit of hippie vibe.
Eat with the locals
While of course there are many restaurants and cafes in Hampi, there’s a sense of grounding in eating and chatting with the locals who’re cooking in a make-shift kitchen under a banyan tree. The cardinal feast of urad dal, makki ki roti and poha was as delectable as the warm smiles of the hosts.
And then, go fishing
For many, fisheries are the source of livelihood here. Many coracle boats can be seen in Tungabhadra basin and hundreds of fish nets spread across the river. Request a fisherman to shadow him and watch him flaunt his skill.
This is all I think of when I think of Hampi. What are your memories of this village?