If you find yourself on the west coast of southern India, there’s a very good chance fellow travelers will recommend Hampi again and again. A tiny (and I mean tiny) town in Karnataka has become a must-stop destination. But it’s not the town you’re there to visit, it’s the multitude of temples and ruins all around it. At the heart, visible from every rooftop, lies the grand Virupaksha Temple.
Then stretching out as far as the eye can see are countless more temples. I recommend hiring a rickshaw for the day, as many of the sites are rather far (though if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also rent bikes – motor or old school pedal. Plus, if you get a good guide, they can fill in blanks left out by travel books. Along the way, you’ll see incredible temple after temple – so many that some sites anywhere else would be a featured attraction, but in Hampi, they’re driven right past.
For accommodations, there are two options: staying in Hampi proper or across the other side of a trickling river. Guest houses right beside the temple are slightly more expensive, but you have the constant view and are surrounded by Indian tourists and well as other (often older) travelers. The short ferry ride to the other side of the river is the backpackers’ chilling zone. Shacks are available in commune-like areas, all with an attached restaurant. You can find open mic sessions to jam in, hammocks to hang in, movie nights to relax, and a variety of restaurants in which to eat. Definitely a worthwhile stop on any Indian adventure!