Hampi is the dreamiest place.
We've just arrived back in England after a 5 month trip in India, and although Hampi was one of our first stop-offs, it's a city who's charm has stayed with us long after we left. If, like us, you're a sucker for breathtaking scenery and blissfully laid back days, then this UNESCO world heritage site will tick all the boxes.
As we passed our days exploring abandoned ruins, climbing huge boulders and jumping into lakes, we often felt like we were roaming through some kind of prehistoric paradise. In Hollywood terms, Hampi is best described as a mixture of an Indiana Jones movie and Jurassic Park (minus the dinosaurs!). Throw in a pinch of Bollywood magic -as we're in India after all-and a lot of palm trees (see below) then you're left with a place one could easily spend weeks in.
It's true that, like a lot of people we met, our days in Hampi almost melted into one another. We happily lost track of days, succummed to the pace of life and watched a lot of unforgettable sunsets.
Here's some highlights, tips and photos from the seven sweet days we spent here:
The Monkey Temple
If you do make it to Hampi then a must-do for anyone is a sunset trip to the Monkey Temple on Anjanadri Hill. We've both been lucky enough to watch a lot of incredible sunsets in the past few years, but this one topped it all, and the views from the temple's surrounding area are the most fulfilling reward after a 600 step climb. Of course, there are a lot of monkeys in the whole area too, so bring some bananas if you're feeling generous!
The temple, a long with a lot of cheap accomodation, is located across the river from Hampi in Virupapur Gaddi. We rented a moped (450RS per day) and breezed through palm trees to get to the temple, but you could easily get a tuk-tuk from the main strip of hostels and restaurants.
With balmy days and tropical surroundings, Hampi's lake is the best place to cool off, jump from boulders and avoid local crocodiles (just joking). Don't let the signs scare you off too much- we saw a lot of locals and tourists happily swimming here, and this little oasis is a heavenly place to come and hang out for the day. It's a 10 minute drive from the main set of hostels, and next time we'd bring picnic supplies and beers for pool-side resting!
Get out and get lost
The thing we enjoyed most about Hampi was the freedom of endless exploring. It really does feel like a forgotten land, and on walks we often ended up being the only ones amongst the temple ruins. So our advice is to set off from the main bazaar, get a little lost and explore lots!