Is Hampi worth visiting?
Is Hampi worth visiting? It seems like an odd question, but people ask it, so I will surely answer. Well, the short answer is Ummm, hell yeah! It is, without a doubt, one of India’s premier tourist destinations. In this post, we will be taking an in-depth look at why that is.
Hampi has it all. Architecture, landscapes, history, wildlife and culture by the bucket load. Few places anywhere in the world can offer all of this in just one place. That is why this enchanting corner of the subcontinent has been drawing in visitors by the truckload for decades and with good reason. No matter where you have come from in the country, you will be glad you came.
Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th century and once housed about 500,000 citizens. Today the ruins of that great era are spread across the breathtakingly picturesque boulder-strewn landscape. Now a Unesco world heritage site, the intricately carved temples will leave even the most hardened travellers’ jaw dropped. That coupled with abundant natural diversity, Hampi can’t fail to impress. Allow for several days to take it all in, as the ruins are spread over almost forty Square kilometres with literally hundreds of monuments to explore.
Even if the grand historical ruins aren’t enough for you, there is still plenty more to grab your attention. So, to answer the question, is Hampi worth visiting? The answer is an unequivocal yes! However, that would be vague and a very short post, so now I will go through all of the things you can do here, and you can factor that into your itinerary. This would be the most valuable way to answer your question, as more often than not, people’s thoughts on what constitutes a rock and roll day are not the same.
However, I can’t see many tourists coming here and saying, meh, it is ok. So without further ado, let’s jump straight in and see if we can make your dream trip to South India that much better.
The ruins of Hampi.
The ruins of Hampi may be centuries old, but It is still not hard to visualize what a Grand place must have been. However, the city has suffered extensive damage and been subject to the ravages of time, yet this place remains magnificent. The Archaeological Survey Of India is doing continuous restoration work to preserve what is left, and your tickets help fund these expensive projects.
The Ticket for foreigners is currently 600 rupees and 40 rupees for Indian nationals, and yes, that’s a huge difference! It is valid for the day and will get you into most paid sights, so don’t lose it. It is not reasonably possible to see everything in one day, and I wouldn’t even try. Take your time and soak it all in. After all, you may as well as you would have put in so much effort to get here in the beginning, and there is so much to see.
Not to mention that while walking around, you will have plenty of opportunities to see a little of Hampi’s incredible biodiversity. In truth, tourism around the area has had a significant impact on its wildlife and is a source of controversy between conservationists and local businesses. For more information on this subject and how you can do your part check out this beautifully made documentary.
Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary.
The charming little Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary is an 83 square kilometre stretch of scrubland that lies about 20 km from Hampi bazaar. It was declared a protected zone in 1994 with the sole intent of protecting the Karnatikas Sloth bear population. These shaggy animals are hard to spot, but this relatively small area has a stable community, making them more conspicuous. A viewing tower is open between 2 pm and 6 pm, where you can observe these shy creatures. The rangers baste rocks with honey, and in authentic Winnie the Pooh style, this lures the animals out of hiding to feed on thair sticky gifts.
You will need binoculars or a camera with a good zoom to get the most out of your visit, as the viewing platform is a long way from the action. When I visited, some domestic tourists were a lot closer, but they would have paid a lot more than you, and permission would be shrouded in Indian bureaucratic red tape. The Rangers were kind enough to lend me their binoculars as they were much better than mine, but I would not count on them. It is better to bring your own.
The reserve was created for bears, but many more animals call this place home, such as the Ruddy Mongoose, Leopards, Monitor lizards, Pangolins, the Star Tortoise, and of cause a wide variety of Hampi’s collection of birds. Both Bears and Leopards often roam around the ruins of
Birding in Hampi
There are plenty of opportunities for Birding in Hampi. But, quite frankly, these feathery delights are sure to catch your eyes here even if you have no intention of spotting them.
For serious birders, the prime goal is to find the critically endangered and endemic Yellow-Throated Bul Bul. However, for the more casual visitor who wants to enjoy the splendour of the natural world, parodically crane your head up to the trees and enjoy the kaleidoscope of colours. There are over 200 species for you to marvel at, and even those who are not keen on birds will still undoubtedly be impressed at the diversity.
To make sense of what you are seeing, either get a book or contact the Kishkinda trust in Anegunde. Despite there being no formal anything on their website about birds, apparently, they offer information.
There is a book available in town on the birds of Hampi, but to save money, get a field guide to the whole subcontinent. Alternatively, I find Kolcuttabirds.com to be very informative. Because the odds are once you take a look at how beautiful the wildlife is, you will want to know what you are looking at. Hampi is considered a birding hotspot. Even if you have never found yourself enjoying birds before, I think most travellers will agree they certainly bring a little something to your experience here.
Rock climbing in Hampi.
Rock climbing in Hampi is big business. As soon as you get close to Hampi, you begin to be aware the whole area is like a big bowl of stones. It is in prime bouldering country, and there are many quality companies to show you how. I have read complaints about the lack of safety equipment, but they seem to have everything you get in a climbing wall in England.
Even if you are only mildly interested in climbing, the views would be amazing. Quite frankly, it is the only way you would be allowed to see those views. Unfortunately, you will be with a guide as the hills are full of dangerous wildlife, and there have been incidences of the occasional mugging. The police are unlikely to be thrilled to find you wandering around here alone.
There are several companies around here but of course, read some reviews before committing to anything and use your own judgment. There see, However, there a fair bit of competition in the bouldering world for your money, so you will not be short of options.
In summary of my post, Is Hampi worth visiting?
I think that was a good use of my time answering the question of is Hampi worth visiting? Of course, it is worth visiting even for the most experienced of us. When I came here, I only planned on staying a couple of nights, and just like that, ten days later, I was getting the bus somewhere else. There is so much to say about this place it would be practically impossible to cover everything in just one post. It is well. However, with the time it takes to reach here. In fact, to come down here and not visit Hampi would be verging on criminal.
This post consists of just a few highlights on offer in this tiny part of India. It does not include, Hiking, cycling, cooking, and the beautiful otter sanctuary. I wholeheartedly recommend travel here, so if you have any questions, I will gladly answer them for you. With that said, that should do, for now, so I will see you in the next post.
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