I had visited Hampi some 10 years ago if I remember correctly. It was part of a long religious trip starting from Mantralaya and ending in Nava Brindavana and as part of it, Hampi was included because it was close to Nava Brindavana.
It was a 2-day trip then and we did cover all the places with the help of an autorickshaw. This time, when my friend had come down to India, I wanted him to see Hampi (of all places I could choose) because of its archeological importance. Might have been a bad choice considering the weather, but he was game for it. So we both decided to go ahead with our plan. Planned to stay in Hyatt, Hampi which is an hour away from the important places of interest in Hampi. But this came highly recommended because of its location and also for its services. We decided to drive down. It was an approximate of 6-7 hours drive (including the coffee/tea breaks). On Thursday 25th February, we started from Bangalore, packed with some breakfast and fruits by around 7.30 am. We stopped at a Cafe Coffee Day in Tumkur for our first coffee break. Needed that one badly, because I was still a little sleepy. That break woke me up for good.
After that, we did a nonstop drive. We took the route that was given to us by the hotel which wasn’t the route that Google Maps suggested us. But then we decided to try that. My friend, let’s call him M, was assigned the role of my navigator. The instructions from the hotel were very precise and detailed. So we were good. The weather was OK when we started but by around 1 pm it started to get very very hot. We stopped almost 2 hours before reaching Hyatt on the side of a road for our quick lunch/snack and I need to stretch my legs too. Except for one small incident of overtaking a lorry in a curve where we escaped just barely from the oncoming car (which was my mistake totally…) the drive was smooth and without incidents. The roads in some places werent that great and the drive inside the city was always slow because of the traffic. The road after Kudhithini was terrible until we reached the JSW township area. Because it had BHEL and other mining and Steel works, the lorry traffic was very heavy and with the roads badly damaged it took us a long time to reach the township. But once we enter the JSW township, it is a whole new world. They have maintained it very well. The Vidyanagar area, where the Hyatt Hampi is located is a community by itself. You have to pass through security.
We reached Hyatt by around 2 pm, the exact checkin time (and also the lunch time). We checked in and reached our room. M went to do some yoga stretches to remove the kinks after sitting for so long. This might be his first long drive in a small car in India after his 11-hour flight 🙂 I was in the mood for a quick nap. We ordered room service and relaxed until 5 pm. After that, we went to the reception to check for the taxi services for the Hampi trip the next day. They have those services available and it is very handy. I didnt want to drive through the city the next day, so selected an Etios taxi option for the whole day (10 hours) where the driver would take us to all the important places and get us back by 7 pm max. We got the map for the Vidyanagar area and some suggestions as to where to go that evening.
After refreshing a bit, we started by 6.30 pm to explore this small area. We went to this Panchavati Temple which was very close by. It was the time of arathi there. Very quiet and peaceful place. After that we walked around a bit to go to the shopping center, the lake area, a clock tower (from where we had a beautiful view of the JSW area), had icecreams and came back by around 9.30 pm. Since we had a very late lunch, we had french fries in the shopping center and considered that our dinner 🙂
If we had started a little early to explore, we could have gone to a museum too…But we weren’t too keen on museum’s anyway. We also skipped the Jindal Memorial. But the whole of Vidyanagar area is a pleasure to walk around (lots of trees and walkways). You can also opt to take a cycle from Hyatt if you want to do so. But we preferred to walk.
The taxi would be ready for us the next day by 8 am, so we decided to call it a day and get some rest so that we are ready to tackle Hampi in a day.