Our guest writer Abbas, from www.indiasomeday.com offers our yoga group some invaluable info on Hampi as well as traveling on after Hampi. We will be traveling to Hampi together by train but at the end of this portion of the retreat you will want to decide how to return to Goa/Mumbai/Bangalore. Options are listed below. Many will head right back to the Goa airport to fly into your next destination. Or you can take a bus all the way back to Mumbai/Bombay. We will help you arrange this. In fact contact Abbas directly for more route information.
Hampi is a mesmerizing, pretty town of boulders and ruins. I remember a close traveller friend telling me ‘enjoy your first of many trips to Hampi’ as I boarded my Bombay-to-Hospet bus. Set in a boulder strewn landscape that continues forever, bisected by a meandering river and dotted by banana plantations, Hampi can be explorative, adventurous or plain relaxing, depending on how you want it to be. Unlike a lot of old Indian towns Hampi, fortunately, was abandoned centuries ago never to be inhabited again, saving it from being defaced by an ugly ‘messopolis’ Indian town being build around it. Hampi truly feels like an open-air museum left for you to discover on foot, bicycle or motorbike.
Hampi has many gorgeous temple structures to explore. A guide is recommended to get a deeper understanding of the history of the town. Even if you are not a history buff, you can just walk around admiring these structures. Remember, Hampi is well spread out and apart from the cluster of places to stay and restaurants on either side of the river it offers a keen sense of space wherever you wander. Hampi is certainly best explored on cycle and motorbike. We did a combination of foot, bicycle and motorbike (motorbike hire works just like Goa).
Experiences we recommend:
—Take the effort to wake up before sunrise, trek up to Mantunga hill and watch the sunrise over the magical kingdom of Hampi. The boulders are all red and they just light up in the sunlight (the most breathtaking experience during my stay).
—Catch the sunset as you sit by the river.
—Cycle around. A motorbike really allows you the flexibility to explore and ride beyond Hampi into the countryside
—Enjoy your meals with the view of the river and the omnipresent, majestic boulders which are beautiful, some three stories tall and precariously balanced.
Getting to Hampi from Goa and Back:
Remember the access town for Hampi is Hospet (14 kms away). Trains and most buses will drop you at Hospet.
Bus (most common option):
One can take either a day or an overnight bus to Hampi from Goa, or even Gokarna. As far as I know there is no ‘one’ leading, reputable bus agency plying this route. ‘Paulo travel’ buses are usually fairly comfortable.
I would prepare myself for a fairly uncomfortable ride, but certainly worth the effort. Bus tickets are easy to obtain from any travel agent in Goa.
Train (if tickets can be managed, a more comfortable option):
Train no. 18048 (Vsg – Howrah express) runs between Goa and Hospet. Vasco or Madgaon are the stations for Goa.
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday (approx 7:00 am dep, arr 15:00)
www.cleartrip.com/trains is an extremely user-friendly website to book trains
Renting a car (convenient, but expensive option):
A car can be rented directly or indirectly through a travel agency in Goa. Remember this can be an expensive option if you plan to stay for multiple days as a car hire company would charge you a fixed daily amount irrespective of how many kms you use the car.
Getting to/from Hampi from Bombay (Mumbai) or Bangalore:
VRL logistics – http://www.vrlgroup.in/ Runs a very good quality bus between Hospet and Bombay and vice-versa. (tickets can be purchased on the website)
There are convenient overnight trains between Bangalore and Hampi (and vice-versa). Recommend using www.cleartrip.com
Coming soon… a little write-up on Bijapur (4 hours from Hampi), an example of a former pretty town now defaced thanks to an Indian ‘messopolis’ build around it (yet the monuments certainly warrant a visit).
I’m Abbas (firstname.lastname@example.org), we run a travel service that assists independent travellers plan and book their trip around India. (India Someday www.indiasomeday.com)
We are more suited if you are planning to visit multiple places or regions post or pre your stay at Yab Yum and need advice and assistance while planning and making travel/hotel arrangements for the same.