VIJAYANAGARA RESEARCH PROJECT
|Visiting the Site|
Vijayanagara is situated almost equidistant from Bengaluru (previously Bangalore), Hyderabad and Goa, all of which have regular overnight bus connections to Hospet, 13 kilometres from Hampi. Travelling from Bengaluru, with international and domestic flights, is the most convenient. The approximate 350 km distance takes about 6 hours by road; a comfortable, inexpensive nightly train service in both directions is also available. Driving from Hyderabad takes up to 10 hours, since the roads are unreliable, but there is also a train connection. The drive from and back to Goa, though picturesque for much of the route, is rarely completed in less than 8 hours; morning train services in both directions run four days each week, but schedules need to be checked. Train connections to Hospet from as far afield as Mumbai, New Delhi and Calcutta are routed through Guntakal in Andhra Pradesh. Flights now operate from Mumbai and Bengaluru to Hubli, a 3 hour drive from Hospet; charter flights land at a private air strip at Toranagallu in the campus of the Jindal Steel Mill, merely 45 minutes away from the site. Here, the Hyatt Place Hampi Hotel offers luxurious accommodations.
New hotels in Hospet, such as the Krishna Palace, the Royal Orchid, and the luxury wing of the Malligi Tourist Home should satisfy the needs of most upmarket travellers. The last has an excellent restaurant. The Malligi, and several other modest guesthouses in the town, also offer simpler but comfortable rooms. Nearer the ruins is the Karnataka Tourist Department Mayura Bhuvaneshvari, a hotel with an adequate restaurant, which can be a good place to take a break in the middle of the day. Guest houses, hotels, cafes, book stores, souvenir shops, money exchanges and internet outlets can still be found in the Janata Plot, the north side of the Hampi village. Their future, however, is uncertain. For the moment upscale visitors are advised to rely on essential facilities in Hospet. Modest tourist accommodations suitable for backpackers also exist in Virupapur Gaddi on the other side of the river from Hampi, reachable by motor boat. Also north of the River, the peaceful village of Anegondi offers the Uramma Heritage Homes, a number of charming traditional residences. The village can be reached by road or by coracle, from Talarighat crossing. About 45 minutes away, in the rugged landscape to the northeast of the site, is Hampi’s Boulders Resort, a garden hotel much favoured by international visitors.
A minimum of two days is recommended for visiting the vast Vijayanagara site. Entrance tickets (10 Rupees for Indians, and US $5.00 or 250 Rupees for foreigners) are required only for the Vitthala temple (reached by electric buggy from a car park), the Lotus Mahal enclosure (near another car park), and the Archaeological Museum in Kamalapura, all of which should be visited in the same day. Other areas of the site are free. While private car is the most comfortable means of reaching Vijayanagara and getting around the ruins, local rickshaws are available and bicycles can be rented in Hampi. Travel agents can book local guides in advance, but they can also be arranged on the spot by hotels and guest houses.
Non-Hindus are admitted to all the religious monuments at Vijayanagara, including the bustling Virupaksha temple at Hampi, though appropriate dress is recommended. A camera fee of 50 Rupees is charged to visitors of this temple; photography without stand is free elsewhere. But the use of a camera stand to photograph protected monuments requires permission, which is not possible to arrange at the site. Early mornings and late afternoons are the most desirable times; even in the winter season it can be uncomfortably hot and glary in the middle of the day. Wandering alone around the more remote parts of the site, or at night, is not recommended
By far the greatest attraction for many visitors will be the temple festivals held at Hampi. The most important are the betrothal ceremony of Virupaksha and Pampa held in November-December, and the marriage ceremony held in March-April, the latter marked by a major chariot festival. Makar Sankranti in the middle of January, and Maha Shivaratri, which generally falls in February-March, are also popular occasions. In recent years, the Holi festival in February-March has also become a lively event.
The Karnataka Government sponsors the Hampi Festival in the first week of November. This is a three-day cultural program of music, drama and dance performances, many held on a specially erected stages in and near Hampi.
Guidebooks to India and to South India, in particular, often devote several pages to Hampi. Several guides to the site have also appeared: Devkunjari and Narasimhaiah 2007, Hampi; Fritz and Michell 2014; Hampi Vijayanagara; Mitra 2003, Hampi, Travel Guide; Verghese 2002, Monumental Legacy, Hampi; all in Bibliography.
Last updated February 9, 2014 - ©2014 Vijayanagara Research Project