Hospet and Hampi in India.

Travelling to and from Hampi and Hospet in Karnataka, India.

The towns of Hospet and Hampi are located in the middle of Karnataka State, India. Hospet is the main way of getting to Hampi since the latter does not have any direct long-distance connections - only a local bus service. Unfortunately there is no commercial airport anywhere near to Hospet or Hampi so one way of getting into the area is by Indian Railways. Hospet railway station (code is HPT) provides connections to several locations in India including Hubli, Bangalore, Jodhpur, Hyderabad, Vasco da Gama (Goa) and Calcutta. Another way to travel to and from Hospet/Hampi is of course by bus if you can tolerate travelling on Indian long distance buses.
If cost is not imperative then certainly the nicest and a reasonably cheap option is to hire a car and driver for a one way drop off. There are lots of benefits if travelling by car - first there is the convenience i.e. door to door, leave when you want and no luggage problems . Secondly you get to see the Indian countryside and you can stop off for a short time if you see or have seen on a map something of interest en-route - for instance looking at the Jain style Mahadeva Temple. This part of Karnataka is pretty reasonable on costs for hiring a car and driver - typically working out at around 10RS per kilometre.
The road from Goa to Hospet is fine until a little way into Karnataka - it then deteriorates enormously often with huge pot holes and complete road surface breakage - this goes on for quite a few kms and makes driving very slow. If going from Hyderabad to Hospet the road is good until you get towards Hospet when again the surface is quite poor at times for some way - but nowhere near as bad as the above-mentioned Goa-Hospet road.
Rush hour at Hospet, India

Where to stay - Hospet Hotels or at Hampi / Virupapur Gaddi itself

. Located in the Bellary District of Karnataka, Hospet itself is not only a convenient gateway location for tourists wanting to visit the Hampi World Heritage ruins but is also a working town and has several large markets most days. The markets sell all manner of goods including lots of fruit - as is typical with India you have to find the relevant part of a market for a particular type of item - i.e. fruit in one area, clothes in another etc. - and bargaining on price is certainly in order. There are a couple of quite good hotels in Hospet i.e. offering air-conditioned rooms, facilities and restaurants - and the room costs are not too bad (The Royal Orchid is a good choice to stay). Restaurants apart from at the hotels are pretty much non-existent in Hospet.
The alternative is to go and stay at Hampi itself however there are no hotels as such there - just lots of guest houses and B. and B.s. To be precise Hampi is one village and the area immediately across the river is called Virupapur Gaddi. The Tungabhadra River is crossed by small ferry boat and these run all day and charge around 20 Rupees. Hampi Village itself has several guest houses together with some shops and restaurants but because it's such a tourist trap these can all be quite expensive. On the other side of the river at Virupapur Gaddi Village there are a number of hotels/guesthouses - these are in truth little more than nice fairly large wooden chalets with windows and verandas which are clustered around rice fields or near to the river - they are fairly cheap to stay in though. There are plenty of places to eat on this side of the river and additionally there are bars and even internet cafes. The area is very pleasant and you can walk out amongst the fields or wander along the beautiful granite rock strewn Tungabhadra River. Hampi has a very laid back atmosphere with even quite a few 60's style hippies around - when we wandered around Virupapur Gaddi we were several times offered cheap drugs! by locals.
If you chose to stay at Hospet there is little problem in getting out to Hampi which is about 12kms away - auto-rickshaws are inexpensive (around 130 to 150 Rupees) and plentiful at Hospet and there is also a regular and almost free local bus which goes to Hampi several times an hour. The bus station at Hospet is more or less in the centre of the town - the bus stop at Hampi is very close to the ruins and is surrounded by a market. So apart from cost the choice is staying in reasonable comfort at a hotel (Hospet) or getting right into nature with in reality quite basic facilities and stay at one of the guest houses (Hampi/Virupapur Gaddi).
Please take a look at our Touring and Sightseeing at Hampi topic about the sites and scenes around the ruins.
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Oxen pulling a cart load of dirt at Hospet in IndiaThe Tungabhadra River passes a little way north of Hospet (this river also passes through Hampi) and there are two wide water channels along the north and south edges of Hospet which end up at Tungaphara Dam - all three water courses feed into the huge Tungabhadra Reservoir. The water channel which goes past the northern edge of Hospet (just south of the railway station) is really pleasant to walk along as it passes between really nice green countryside with plenty of birds around - just right to do after a busy day sightseeing in Hampi. Although the channel is lined with concrete this is somewhat worn to say the least and does not look unpleasant - the channel is perhaps 30 feet across and foliage has grown into the broken concrete sides.
Oxen pulling a cart at Hospet, IndiaHospet freight train crossing a bridge - IndiaA small temple just outside of Hospet, IndiaSmall bridge crossing a water channel at Hospet, India
Well loaded cart being pulled by Oxen at Hospet, IndiaThe nicest bit to walk along is from the Royal Orchid Hotel side of the bridge - there is a path on the left side and a narrow track on the right-hand side of the channel. Apart from the occasional motorbike, auto-rickshaw and a variety of oxen pulled carts the surrounds are very peaceful - local women can be seen washing laundry and local men use the channel's water to wash their bikes and so on. Some way along just past the bridge where the railway line crosses the channel down on the right there is a nice friendly little temple to look at where almost certainly locals will want to have a chat with you about things. You can continue walking along as far as you wish and ultimately could end up nearly at the Dam - and then can walk back on the other side of the channel. Small bridges cross the channel at fairly regular intervals and If you are very fortunate then a nice long Indian Railways freight train might trundle across that railway bridge.
There is much more about touring in India via our India Travel and Touring Guide Home Page.

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