Hampi is synonymous to temples and its rich religious history. But I had a different revelation after my recent trip to Hampi. Though Hampi’s history and existence is majorly credited to the temples of Vijayanagara but there is more to Hampi than just the temples. Located at the bank of Tungabhandra river Hampi boasts monumental historical and architectural significance. But it is also a great place to unwind and detox. The slow paced life, the quaint cafes and the amazing sunsets will compel you to look Hampi beyond its ruins and temples. All of this you can experience on the other side of the Tungabhandra River at Hampi Island.
Hampi Island has absolutely no connection with the word “island” in it. It is a calm and serene place which habitats unique guest houses, home stays and cafes. Though there isn’t much to do in Hampi Island but below is the list of few things that you could do there:
Things to do in Hampi Island
Live in Hampi Island:
Hampi Island houses the quirkiest of the guest houses and homestays. The one with hammocks and rice paddy views which are dotted with coconut trees. Did I mention you could watch sunsets from most of these guest houses? While there are many stay options in Hampi also, but the ones on Hampi Island are distant from the commotion of Hampi. Hence it is a preferred choice for stay for a lot of visitors.
Explore the street art of Hampi Island:
As I already mentioned that Hampi Island abodes some of the quirkiest homestays and their guests have played a major role in brightening up the walls of Hampi Island. Almost all the walls of Hampi Island is adorned by colorful graffiti and street art. Some of them are made by foreigners while majority of it has been done by Indians. The owners of the homestay are happy to offer a wall if you wish to splatter your creativity. So if you visit Hampi Island don’t forget to check out the street art, though it is hard not to notice they are practically everywhere.
Shopping in Hampi Island:
You could also shop in Hampi Island but you will get the same stuff as in Hampi Bazar. Junk and silver jewelries were the highlights of the bazar. You would also find shops selling stones and offering healing services. One of my friends opted for Reiki stone healing and she thoroughly enjoyed her session. So if that interests you, you can book a session for yourself.
Go for Bouldering sessions:
I noticed there were few shops which were offering Bouldering Sessions. Bouldering is a kind of rock climbing which is performed on large boulders. The availability of countless boulders everywhere aids to this very well. So if you are feeling adventurous you could go for Bouldering.
Cycle around Anegundi:
Anegundi is a small village located at the northern side of the Tungabhadra River. To my much surprise this village is older than Hampi. It is popular for its linkage with epic Ramayana. Legend has it that lord Rama and his devotee Shabri met at Pampa Sarovar which is in this village. Rent a bike or a cycle in Hampi Island and roam around the bumpy roads of Anegundi which are surrounded by rice paddies and coconut trees. There will be many times when you will feel like you are in Goa, at least I did. Anegundi is also home to many VIjaynagara era monuments.
Apart from all the above my favorite thing to do in Hampi Island was to watch the sunset. It was cloudy most of the days and that’s why I had to make do with the hues of orange only. Hampi Island also have a lot of creative cafes which offer fancy food.
Reaching Hampi Island:
Reach Hampi by bus or train, if you are planning during long weekend make sure you have your ticket booking done well in advance. You can also take flight to Hampi, the nearest airport is Hubli. It is a popular destination for many airlines. To reach Hampi Island you will have to cross the Tungabhandra River. You can do so by taking a ferry or a coracle. The river is hardly two hundred meters wide and hence takes just few minutes to cross. To make it lucid geographically, one side of the river house all the temple complexes and the other Hampi Island. Hampi Island is quaint and laid back and
Hampi (The Temple Complex) is boisterous and uptight.
I had an amazing time in Hampi Island. After the hectic temple hopping in Hampi in scorching heat Hampi Island came as a cool breeze. Hampi is incomplete without its temples and enriching architectural history but a relaxed and effortless day at Hampi Island would give a good balance to your trip. A day with no agenda where you just sit back, stroll around and watch the day go by.