This incredible ancient city plus its surrounds is a UNESCO world heritage site, located in the state of Karnataka. It was the thriving capital of the Hindu empire of Vijayanagara until it was pillaged by the Moghul invaders. Hampi has a very distinct landscape with the Tungabhadra river on one side and large boulders on the other sides. There are over 500 breathtaking monuments comprising of temples, palaces, market places, baths, pavillions, palaces.
This trip will be a true "into the heart of India" experience, a potentially once in a lifetime journey, one that Evelyn has already thoroughly scouted out and found to be incredibly rewarding.
With everyone's comfort in mind, we have decided to travel there by train; it is more comfortable and a wonderful way to see India. If anyone has an aversion to this we can arrange for an air-conditioned car to take them. It will take about the same amount of time, although by train you can of course walk around and stretch your legs.
The train fare is included in the package price, by car it will cost around $350 USD, but this can be shared by several if they choose this route. Choosing to travel by car will be an independent expense.
The train is 2nd class air-con, very simple but comfortable, with food and drinks served the whole time. If you are at all worried about eating the food, please arrange for a packed luch from the hotel. Most meals on the Hampi trip will be paid for individually.
Day One, Tuesday:
It is about an 8 hour train ride from Vasco de Gama, so we will be making a pre-dawn journey to the train station, it is about an hour and 15 minute drive and our train leaves at 7:10 am. Our journey will all be in daylight, with our arrival in Hospet at about 3:00 pm.
Once we arrive in Hospet (the train depot closest to Hampi), we will find ourselves in quite another world from Goa. The only short way to get to our hotel is via ferry, but for our arrival we will be taking AC taxis the long way round.
This will give us a great preview of the area, and will also save us the hassle of hauling our luggage down many steps and on and off boats etc, which with a group the size we have would take at least an hour, the same as the estimated time by car.
We will now be in relatively "no-frills" India, although we have scouted out what we believe to be perfectly adequate and charming accommodations.
The group will stay just across the river from Hampi at the Shanthi Guest House. A simple, clean and charming spot looking over the rice fields, within easy walking distance of the ferry to Hampi, and a short rick-shaw ride to all the old temples on that particular side of the river. It has the added advantage of a superb Nepalese restaurant on-site ... and wonderful wooden hammocks outside every room.
On arriving around 4:00 pm on the 29th, we will spend the rest of the day and evening relaxing. There are several lovely local restaurants to eat at.
Day 2, Wednesday:
Hopefully everyone will be up for an early start, as those who are will be in for a treat. Between 7:30 - 8:30 am every morning, Lakshmi the temple elephant gets a bath in the river, and it is very tender to see. Those of us who want to watch this, and her "make-up" being applied, can do so, and then rendezvous with the rest of the group around 9:30 am when everyone has had breakfast.
We will then have a guide take us around to the main Hampi temples and sites for the whole day.
At the end of the day we will have an opportunity to walk through the village itself, and then watch the incredible sunset from one of the higher points.
There will be much we can see as a group, but there are also some areas that are a bit more strenuous to reach, so it may be that we splinter off at times according to agility and motivation!
There will be 2 assistants accompanying the group which will allow us some freedom in our choices.
Evenings will be free time.
Day 3, Thursday:
Today we will explore the ancient temples on the opposite side of the river from Hampi itself
This is one of the most fascinating parts of India that I, (Evelyn), have ever traveled to, and I really want to share this gem with the group. I could write a small book on this area, but better to wait until we are all there, and for those interested there is a wealth of information to be found online.
Again there are some hard climbs to some of the temples, but very much worth it for the astonishing views. We will have at least a couple of vehicles so there will be options for those looking for the "road less strenuous".
Day 4, Friday:
A free day to see anything you may have missed, revisit those places of special personal significance, wander the village or just relax.
Since there are over 500 structures in Hampi, for sure we cannot see them all ...
Everyone is responsible for their own expenses on this final day.
Hampi Package Include:
Transportation from Palolem to Hampi via, taxi, train and ferries.
4 nights accommodation at the Shanthi Guesthouse
Tour guides, entrance fees and transportation on the 30th and 31st.
Leaving Hampi, everyone is likely to go their individual ways, so departure costs are not included, but we will happily help with everyone's arrangements and see them off in the right direction.
$550 - Shared Occupancy
$650 - Single Occupancy
$500 - If staying in another location. Those doing so will be responsible for their own travel costs to meet the group daily.
Those choosing to travel by taxi from Goa will pay the same single, shared or independent price, and divide the fare with whoever else chooses to go by car.
PLEASE NOTE THAT DUE TO THE ADVANCE PURCHASE OF NON-REFUNDABLE TICKETS. ETC. PAYMENT FOR THIS PORTION OF THE PROGRAM IS NON-REFUNDABLE.