Sunset view from Matanga Hill
Karnataka

17 Most Amazing Things To Do In Hampi(2023 Edition)

Hampi the royal capital city of the Vijaynagar Kingdom is located on the Tungabhadra river in Central Karnataka. Vijaynagar once was the richest and largest kingdom in entire south India and hence its name “City of Victory”. 

What is so special or famous about Hampi?

Stone chariot at Vittala temple complex
Stone chariot at Vittala temple complex

With a rich history, beautiful natural landscape and unique architecture, Hampi has become a popular destination for tourists. There are hills to climb, ruins and temples to be visited, beautiful sunrise and sunset points and a lot more. 

So I’ve compiled a list of the 17 best things to do while you’re in Hampi but before that some more information on Hippie Island and what is the best time to visit Hampi.

If you are also looking to travel on a budget, I had previously written a budget travel guide to Hampi

Information on the Hippie Island

While some of you might have already heard about Hippie Island, this island was situated right across the Tungabhadra river on the other side of Hampi. Previously very famous among foreigners, the island had a lot of hippie-style cafes. The Supreme court had ordered back in Feb’ 2020 for the island to be closed. The island has now been demolished and the cafes have either been moved to other places in Sanapur or Anjanadri.

Best time to visit Hampi

The best time to visit Hampi has to be around the post-monsoon season i.e. from October until the beginning of March. The summers in Hampi can be harsh and during the monsoons a lot of places get inaccessible. In my opinion November, December and January are the best months to see Hampi

Best things to do in and around Hampi

1. Sunrise/Sunset at Matanga Hill

Sunset view from Matanga Hill
Virupaksha temple from Matanga Hill

Matanga Hill is one of the must-visit spots for visitors in Hampi because it offers one of the best panoramic views of Hampi, the Tungabhadra river and even the Anjanadri Hill. It has 3 different routes to be climbed but the best and easiest route is the one which goes from the backside of Achyutaraya temple. The climb starts from the route which is adjacent to a Nandi(Bull) made out of a monolithic rock. 

While it’s a great spot for sunset, the sunrise is even more beautiful and refreshing. There’s a temple at the hilltop and during the sunrise, you’ll also find some tea sellers. So while you are sipping your tea you experience the beautiful sunrise.

LocationMatanga Hill

2. Cliff jumping On Sanapur Lake

cliff jumping at the sanapur lake
Cliff jumping at the Sanapur Lake

What’s Hampi without a little adventure and thrill? The activity has recently started to get popular and is done on Sanapur Lake. You jump from a height of 20ft into the water. Worried you don’t know about swimming? Don’t worry, the guide there will provide you with a life jacket. The only precaution you have to take is to jump a little ahead because there are some rocks just below the jumping spot and don’t worry there are no crocodiles.

Life Jacket Cost: Rs 150 just for the jump. If you want to enjoy the water for longer you can pay Rs 600 for an hour.

LocationSanapur Lake

3. Renting Cycle/Mopeds to explore Hampi

Cycling around Hampi
Rent a cycle and explore Hampi

The best way to explore Hampi would be on your cycles or Mopeds and they are cheap too. Though cycling can be a little tiring, it’s one of the best experiences to see those ruins and temples. Don’t worry you’ll find a lot of sugarcane and masala soda shops on the way to different ruins. There are not many scooties available and exploring Hampi in an auto is also a little on the higher side. You can easily find a cycle to rent in the old Hampi. 

Cycle Rental Cost: Rs 150 for a normal cycle and Rs 200 or more for a gear cycle.

LocationGuru Cycle Rental

Mopeds Cost Rs 400 -500 depending on the day of the week.

LocationYallappa Two Wheeler Rentals

4. Coracle ride to explore temples

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Coracle rides also called teppas in Karnataka are one of the best ways to visit places close to the Tungabhadra river. The river has a depth of 30 ft but they will provide you with a life jacket. One can visit many temples like the Sun Temple, meditation temple and the Shiva lingas along this ride. The rides are usually 30 mins to 1 hr long. 

Cost : 500 Rs per person

LocationCoracle Ride

5. Visiting Anjanadri Hill

Visiting Anjanadri Hill the birthplace of lord hanuman
Anjanadri Hill

Anjanadri Hill also known as Anjaneya Hill is located close to Angundi town near Hampi. According to some Hindu legends, this place is also considered the birthplace of Lord Hanuman. One has to climb approximately 570 steps to reach the top of the hill which has a temple as well. The sunrise or the sunset would be the best time to visit the hill as that time there would be a lesser number of tourists.

How to reach: One can take the boat and cross the Tungabhadra river and either hire a scooty or rent an auto from there.

LocationAnjanadri Hill

6. Finding the Ramayana footsteps in Hampi

ramayan footsteps in hampi
The place from where Lord Rama shot the arrow to kill Bali

Hampi was also known as the Kingdom of Kishkindha in Indian mythology. While Sita was being taken away by Ravana, she dropped a few of her ornaments and Hampi is the same place where this happened. Hampi has a strong Ramayan connection, to name a few of them are the Anjanadri Hill(Birthplace of Lord Hanuman), Sugriva Cave and the place from where Ram had shot the arrow to kill Bali. 

LocationAnjanadri HillSugriva Cave and Ram Shooting the arrow

7. Stay in Old Hampi

While the Old Hampi or the area close to the Virupaksha temple might not have luxurious hotels to stay in, it is still a great experience to stay there. It also makes visiting all the temples, ruins and hills so accessible and easy. 

You can choose the below options for staying in old Hampi

8. Getting the photo clicked with the 50 Rs currency in Vittala Temple

the stone chariot which is at the back of the 50Rs currency
Stone chariot at the back of 50Rs currency

The Vittala temple is famous because of the stone chariot which is also represented on the back of the Rs 50 currency note. The main temple complex has an underground walkway which gets sunlight because of the way it has been constructed. The complete Vittatala complex is said to be built somewhere around the beginning of the 15th Century.  

Entry Price: Rs 40 per person for Indians. Rs 600 for foreigners. 

It also includes the entry to lotus mahal which is not quite far from the Vittala temple complex.

LocationStone Chariot Hampi

Tip: If you don’t have a vehicle there is a route from the back side along the Sugriva cave which takes you to Vittala temple and is just 2.3kms from the Virupaksha Temple

9. Walk across the paddy fields on the Hippie Island

Paddy fields on the hippie island
Paddy fields Hippie Island

Even though Hippie Island has been closed, it’s still a great experience walking across the paddy fields. The best months to experience this would be November, December and January post when the harvest season starts. 

10. Shopping in Old Hampi market

old hampi at night
Shopping in the streets of old Hampi

One of the best things to do in the evening or at night is to stroll around the local market and shop for clothes or even souvenirs. You can also have some snacks from the nearby shops while shopping. And yes, do your share of bargaining at the market here. Things you can buy at the market

  • Hampi Fridge Magnet
  • Clothes
  • Paintings 
  • Hand-carved showpieces or Jewel boxes

11. Watch Laxmi take bath at the Tungabhadra river

You might wonder who Laxmi is and why should you see her take a bath in the first place. Don’t worry Laxmi is the elephant who can be seen in the Virupaksha Temple. The mahout(the one who takes care of the elephant) usually takes her to the banks of the river and bathes her. Who knows she might spray some water on you as well. This usually happens between 8 – 9 am.

Location: Near the Ferry point

12. Sunset from Hemakuta Hill

sunset in Hampi
Sunset in Hampi

While the sunrise from Matanga is a must, the sunset from Hemakuta Hill as well is a must-do experience while in Hampi. The hill is just a few meters away from the Virupaksha Temple. The spot has a tree with no leaves and a small temple and then the sunset at the backdrop is such a surreal experience. 

LocationHemakuta Gudda

13. Bouldering on the Hippie Island

Boulders in Hampi
Boulders around Hampi to practice bouldering

Hampi is also home to many rock boulder climbers. Because of the landscape, the activity is so popular and is usually done on Hippie Island. It’s usually a 3 hr activity where the instructor will show you how climbing is done, and he will also provide you with the necessary gear for the activity. As far as the safety of the activity is concerned, a safe landing pad is also used so that even if you fall, you land safely.

For more details regarding Bouldering contact Monkey Zone

14. Dinner at Ganesh Chillout Restaurant

dinner at the restaurant in hampi
Do try amazing food at the ganesh chillout restaurant

Since the closure of Hippie Island, Hampi more or less hasn’t had a nightlife. But this place in old Hampi still has some of the vibes and the food here is delicious. They play slow music and anything you order is going to taste top-notch from starters, soups, pizza or pasta.

LocationOld Chillout Ganesh Restaurant

Tip: There is another chillout cafe with a rooftop which is decent but the main one is on the corner of the street.

15. Stay in Boulders resort to have an experiential stay 

While the old Hampi doesn’t have high-end or luxury property, a little far off from Hampi is the Hampi Boulders resort. The resort is a great experiential stay but if you want to explore Hampi i would still suggest you stay in old Hampi or close to that area. The resort also has a spot from where you can spot the crocodiles.

16. Hiking to see Hanuman Padda

Hanuman Padda is a very offbeat spot in Hampi and not many are aware of it as well. To even reach this spot you might need the help of a locality. Though there is a google marker the direction it shows on the map is not to be taken, that is a completely wrong path. Rather you should take the route from Ahmed Khan Mosque.

The reason this is considered a must-visit spot is that at the top of the hill, one can see two huge foot marks which are considered to be of Lord Hanuman.

Disclaimer: Please don’t go to this place by yourself, if you’re in a group it is much better. Also, the climb is really hard so in case you are not able to do it please don’t risk yourself.

LocationHanuman Padda

17. Sunset from the Hippie Island

This place had a different vibe when the Hippie island wasn’t closed. There was music being played and people enjoyed the sunset while looking at the Virupaksha temple on the other side. Now with Hippie Island completely shut off not many people go to this spot for the sunset.

LocationSunset Point Hippie Island

Tip: If you are going to this spot do check on the last ferry timings to get back to Hampi

Important places you should visit while in Hampi

Lotus Mahal Hampi
Lotus Mahal at Hampi
  • Virupaksha Temple
  • Hemakuta Hill/ Saasivekalu Ganesha
  • Sri Krishna Temple & Krishna Sante Street
  • Lakshmi Narasimha Temple & Shivling
  • Underground Shiva Temple
  • Lotus Mahal & Elephant Stable
  • Hazara Rama Temple
  • Mahanavami Dibba, Pushkarni & Royal Palace
  • Queen’s Bath & Octagonal Bath
  • Vittala Temple
  • Anjanadri Hill
  • Sanapur Lake

FAQ’s about things to do in Hampi

Are 2 days enough for Hampi?

– Yes, 2 days are enough to explore Hampi. On the first day, you can visit Virupaksha Temple, all the other temple ruins and Vittala temple, and the sunset at Hemakuta Hill. The second day can be for Matanga Hill sunrise and then going to Anjanadri Hill and Sanapur Lake.

What to do in Hampi at night?

– The old Hampi shuts down by 10 pm max but before that, you can go shopping in the streets of Hampi and for dinner, you must go to Ganesh Chillout Cafe

 Follow me on Instagram (Stories.of.Raku) and check other adventures around Karnataka

  1. Budget Trip To Gokarna
  2. Kudremukh Trek Guide

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