Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hampi

Hey guys, I recently got an opportunity to visit Hampi. Its in Karnataka, India. Its a small village filled with heritage sites. I spent 3 days here and they are soo memorable that I can never forget them for sure. Met interesting people, had the most weird discussions, watched 'Into the wild' in a cafe, and the list goes on.. I had lot of time to reflect on what I have done in my past, what I love the most and what I really want to do in life. For people who are like me, stuck in a phase without knowing what to do next, Hampi is a perfect destination in South India. 

Tips for travelers who are planning to visit Hampi:
  • Stay in the other side of the river (not the temple side). This is the place if you are looking for a good night life. Most of the foreigners stay here. There are some really cool restaurants and cafes. They serve only beer, so carry your own alcohol if required.
  • There is a coracle and a motor boat to shuttle between both the sides of the river. They charge Rs.15/head. The  service starts at 7AM and stops at 6:30PM. They dont operate when it rains heavily or when the water level goes up. 
  • I stayed in Mowgli guest house. It costed me Rs.900/day for a single room facing the rice fields. The view is stunning. Cold breeze coupled with the sound of frogs croaking in the middle of the night is priceless experience. There are no mosquitoes, still if you are foreigner, do carry some mosquito ointments like Odomos, just in case you find one flying your room. The tariff is little higher than the rest of the guest houses nearby. If you are travelling in an off-season, just go there without booking earlier and you will find better places (Home Stays) for half the price (~Rs.400).
  • Lunch @ Mango Tree Restaurant and Dinner / Coffee @ Norgila is a must.
  • There is a water fall which you cant go on your own. Its dam risky to even try unless you are prof rock climber / trekker. The Guide there will Charge ~Rs.100 / head to take you to the waterfall. They ask for Rs.350 and you can bargain to Rs.100 or Rs.150. Try not to visit the waterfalls when its sunny since you need to stay on top of rocks most of the time which gets heated up very fast.
  • I personally found the guided tours to be completely useless. They charge around Rs.350 / day. If you want to know the history behind each and every architecture / ruin, then may be it makes sense to take a guided tour. Otherwise the place is so small that you will figure out things in no time.
  • If you want, you can buy a map of Hampi which people there will force you to buy in the corner of every street. First of all, the map is extremely confusing and secondly, if you have a camera, you can click a picture of this map which is painted in almost all restaurants and temples.
  • If you planning to hire a bike (which I recommend compared to Auto Rickshaws), give it a test drive since most of the bikes are quite old and does not have the power to go up hill. They charge Rs.150/day as rental and Rs.100 for one liter of petrol. No point in bargaining here. Doesn't work.
  • Carry enough money in hand (~Rs.600 / day for food and travel + ~Rs.500 / day for stay) since there are no ATMs in Hampi. You have to go to a place called Kamalapur which is ~10Kms from Hampi to withdraw money. If you have USD or any mostly used currency, you have places to exchange inside Hampi itself. 
  • There are few hill tops where you get access to mobile networks like Airtel, Vodaphone. But in most places you have access only to BSNL (Cell one). So if you are travelling for a long time alone, plan for it keeping this in mind.
  • There are internet cafes almost everywhere in Hampi with a nominal charge of Rs.30/hour.
  • Plan your travel when its not a rainy season. Check the weather atleast one day earlier to the visit. Believe me, its a lot messy once it starts raining. You cant travel back to your guest house, that leaves you in a other side of the river till the water level goes down.
Here are few pictures which I clicked in this trip with my Canon 60D. 



































@ Norgila

@ Norgila




on the way to the waterfall.






Hill top giving a good view of the waterfall.








North Indian Roti + Gravy @ Mango Tree restaurant

Ginger Lemon Tea @ Mango Tree restaurant


















River View from the Mango Tree restaurant



Milk Tea (Indian Chai) @ the Mango Tree restaurant













Water level going up in the river 












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