This post is part of a series on ‘Walks in India‘.
Highlights: Sunrise from Matanga Parvatha, Vithala Temple, Coracle Ride, Ancient City of Vijayanagara and Virupaksha Temple.
Season: November to February, when the sunrise it most colourful.
Map. This is an interactive map of the walk. Zoom in to get a closer look.
Hampi is split into two walks, one in the morning hours and one in the evening.
Distance: Approximately 3km
Time of the day: Morning – 5.30am to 10am
The walk starts early in the morning to include watching sunrise in the itinerary. Begin the walk by climbing the hill – Mathanga Parvata. The climb can take some effort, but is rewarding. Rough Guide calls it the most beautiful sunrise in the world, and Lonely Planet does not make any effort to hold back praises. The view of sun coming out from behind the rocky hills seems almost surreal, it is something to die for.
Matanga Parvata is probably the tallest hill in Hampi and has a 360 degree view. There is the charming river to north flowing amidst neatly arranged boulders. To the south is Viroopaksha temple standing tall. Look anywhere and you will see rocky hills covered with loosely held boulders or vast vistas of plantain farms.
Take your time on Mathanga Parvatha and enjoy the views. When you get down, head to the Bazaar and into the Viroopaksha temple. This is the only temple where a deity is worshiped, though Hampi is a town where you are sure to knock into a temple before you walk for five minutes in any direction. Don’t forget to buy Bananas at the entrance and feed it to the temple elephant Laxmi with your own hands.
Come out of the temple and head to Mango Tree Restaurant for a breakfast. The walk to the restaurant takes you along the river where you can watch boats taking people to the other side, and people bathing or washing clothes. The restaurant itself is right on the bank of the river, inside a plantain orchard.
Get to the other end of the Bazaar after breakfast and walk towards the river. Take a coracle ride from the river to Vithala temple. Boatmen claim the water here to be 50 feet deep. Flow of the river has made some interesting carvings on the rocks that are worth seeing. A small Mantapa on the opposite bank can only be reached by coracles.
Get down from the Coracle and walk to Vithala temple. The temple is a UNESCO world heritage monument, and is known for a stone chariot in its courtyard and musical pillars. You will have to be happy to see the pillars though, as touching them is not permitted.
From Vithala temple, take the bridle path that runs through the King’s Balance and return to Bazaar to end the walk.
Distance: Approximately 4km
Time of the day: Evening – 3.30pm to 6.30pm
This walk takes you through ancient ruins and temples of of Hampi.
Start from The Queen’s Bath, which is at one end of a series of monuments. Follow the signs put up by Archeological Department, and walk though the series of ancient structures comprising Hazaara Rama Temple, Underground Shiva Temple(Patalalinga Temple), Mahanavami Dibba, Elephant’s Stables and Lotus Mahal. Come back to the main road from here, and walk towards the Bazaar. Before reaching Hemakoota Parvata, a small deviation from the main road will take you to Laxminarasimha statue and Badavi linga. Walk further and visit Krishna temple, your last temple visit for the day. A short climb from here will take you to Hemakoota Parvatha. Sit and relax here and watch the sunset.
++More about Hampi on paintedstork.com