Nothing could have prepared me for the boulder-strewn landscapes, majestic ruins, pristine lakes, and lush greenery that surrounds Hampi. Staying in a community-run retreat in the village of Anegundi, on the other side of the Tungabhadra River, we rode in coracle boats, swum in village lakes, and drove amid the remains of the 14th century Vijaynagar empire. Luckily for us, we beat the crowds, witnessed the monsoons, and captured a glimpse of real village life in and around Hampi:
1. CORACLE BOATS ARE THE LIFEBLOOD OF HAMPI
and used as the main mode of transport and fishing on the Tungabhadra River. Mechanized boats are slowly replacing them on certain stretches, to be able to ferry motorbikes and more people.
2. A PANDIT (HINDU PRIEST) WALKS ALONG THE BOULDERS
to the ancient temples built by the Vijaynagar empire in the 14th century. People from the surrounding region come to worship in large numbers.
3. A WOMAN OVERLOOKS THE BOULDER-STREWN LANDSCAPES OF HAMPI
from across the Tungabhadra River.
4. A WOMAN FARMS ON THE RICE PADDIES OF ANEGUNDI
in the backdrop of the boulder-strewn hills. The soil is fertile and rainfall aplenty to cultivate rice, banana and coconut.
5. LOCALS UPHOLD OLD TRADITIONS IN HAMPI
like tying their wishes in the form of rocks to the branches of this ancient tree, and piling up stones to express their desire for a new house. There were no signs to explain this sight, but I inferred this from the various explanations shared by people on my Facebook page!
6. WOMEN WASH CLOTHES IN THE TUNGABHADRA RIVER
using the boulders as washing boards. They have adapted their daily chores to the unusual terrain that surrounds them.
7. A MAN TOUCHES UP HIS CORACLE BOAT
on the shores of the river.
8. ANOTHER FERRIES US ON HIS CORACLE BOAT
across the river from Hampi. These boats are made within the region, and can carry upto 15 people at one time!
9. A MAN TAKES SHADE IN THE RUINS, MAKING A FISHING NET
near the river.
10. MANY LOCAL FISHERMEN CAN BE SPOTTED IN THE RIVER
and its smaller tributaries, looking for fish.
11. WE WHIZZ AROUND THE ROADS OF ANEGUNDI
and the boulders, precariously perched upon one another, never cease to amaze us. Nor does the greenery that lies interspersed among them, especially in the monsoon.
12. DEEP IN THESE HILLS, SHEPHERDS TAKE THEIR CATTLE GRAZING
and walk from boulder to boulder with their goats.
Have you been to Hampi? What did you love most about it?
Hampi is well-connected by buses to the rest of Karnataka, and is an overnight bus ride from Bangalore. The closest bus stop is Hospet if you stay in Hampi, and Gangavathi if you stay on the other side of the Tungabhadra River. Hampi itself was the capital of the Vijaynagar Empire and is home to the ruins of ancient temples. The villages across the river have fewer ruins, but much more greenery, forming a stark contrast against the boulder-strewn landscapes of the region. Winters are the most popular time to visit Hampi, but if you want to beat the crowds and witness the rains, go in August or September.
Any contributions to my travel fund (in kind or otherwise) will be highly appreciated!
Get my latest article in your inbox!
I’m the founder of this award-winning travel blog about offbeat and sustainable travel, and author of the bestselling travel memoir, The Shooting Star.
In 2011, I quit my full-time job, and gradually gave up my home, sold most of my possessions, stored some in the boot of a friend’s car and embraced a nomadic life.
Connect with me on Instagram to hear more about my adventures and personal journey.