What to see in HAMPI
Hampi is a visual delight, especially due to its stark contrast from most other places. Rocks are all you see whichever direction you look at. Vegetation is visible in the wet months; but again it never dominates the landscape. It is an ideal spot for people who are interested in history and/or nature. There are many sites of interest in and around Hampi. The must-visits are Virupaksha Temple, Hampi Bazaar, Monolith Bull, Lakshmi Narasimha temple, Hemakuta Hill temples, Big Shivlinga, Vithala Temple (the famous Stone Chariot is located here), Hazara Rama Temple, Royal Enclosures, Queen's Bath, Zanana Enclosure (which also houses the Lotus Mahal), Elephant Stables, Achyut Raya temple, Statue of Ugra Narsimha, Virupaksha Temple, Mahanavmi Dibba, the Stepped Bath and the Matanga Hill (from where one can see the most beautiful sun set ever).
Take a ride in the "Dongi" or "Coracles" in the Tungabhadra river to see some beautiful rock forms caused by erosion over the years or to croos over - Reports as of August 2007 indicate that Karnataka Government has banned these boats but deployed a motor boat for river crossings (Rs. 5 per local per one way crossing, Rs. 10 for tourists (indian or non indian), Rs. 15 for tourists carrying luggage). These rates are liable to change. There are also several "Shivalings" along the river which the boatman will guide you to.
The old capital called Anegundi, across the river from Hampi also has many sites. The Hanuman Temple on Anjenaya Hill (involves climbing up 572 steps, is believed to be the birth place of Hanuman) and the Old Palace are definitely worth a visit.
To do justice to all the sites, one needs a minimum of 3 full days of sight seeing. To discover all the ruins, it may take much more than 3 days. May be months.
A good amount of walking is a must, as the ruins are scattered over a huge area. Moped/bicycle hire is a good option to move around. Cross the river by one of those coracle ferry. The other side of the river (Anegondi) spots a number of pre Vijayanagara relics. If you go there in Jun-August, you will not find coracle ferry in action, the river is very tidy then, so if you want to go Anegondi you have to travel 40 KM, I dont think you will like Anegondi after Hampi, actually there is nothing to see except the Hanuman temple on Anjana hill, but be prepare for a ride of about 600 stairs. There are lots of places in Hampi Bazaar where you get satisfying and inexpensive food, though be prepared for a long wait at most places as the chefs are typically family members who prepares food to order. However, they are good at their jobs and can offer a wide range of different cuisines.
The Multi cuisine air conditioned Restaurant "AJEET" at Vijayshree Heritage Village Resort really tempts the appetite. The overall atmosphere is bright, bubbly and cheerful giving giganticity and charm.
Tungabhadra Dam and its associated gardens are nice. It has got a nice dancing fountain too. If one is staying on anegondi side of river, one is forced to return to the other side by 6'o clock (as the ferry closes). Visiting the tungabhadra dam can be a nice filler instead of just waiting for the bus/train (typically at 10/11pm at night). Auto-rickshaw can take directly from Hampi to Tungabhadra dam.
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