Pangarchulla –Touch the soul of Himalayas

An Adventurous trek in the Gharwal Himalayas

  It’s often said, “Go to the places, where you feel most alive” and if there is any place on the Earth which can make you realize what life is, it should definitely be the Great Himalayas. Not that many saints live here, but this colossal mountain range itself is like one undisturbed, sacred saint in meditation, unmoved for thousands of years. Just the thought and feel of Himalayas itself will send a beautiful vibe through oneself.

     For any crazy traveler, a trip to the Himalayas is always a fantasy. And for any adventurous mountaineer, a trek in the Himalayan mountain ranges is always on the bucket list. Let me introduce to one of the less traversed Himalayan jewels, The Pangarchulla. Pangarchulla in the Gharwal Himalayan mountain ranges of Uttarakhand is one of the most serene places in Himalayas. The mountain range is quite less explored and beaming to raise its popularity among the Himalayan trekkers. It is one of the very few Peak treks in Himalayas that offers you all the rich and grandeur experience of Himalayan treks.

    My trek to Pangarchulla with Trek The Himalayas organization was an amazing lifetime experience. And I’m happy to share about those lovely times here. Quite informatic, more takeaway and much more of the emotions.

As this was my first Himalayan trek the post is described from a perspective of a debutant Himalayan trekker. After all, anything first time needs some guidance.😉

Choose your Agency Wisely – Choosing the right trekking agency in an Himalayan trek plays a pivotal role considering the various factors involved in the whole process. Himalayan treks are usually group treks and there are very well-established organizations which facilitate you with pick and drop, take care of setting up the base camps, arrange food and importantly guide you in the trek with a certified Trek leader. Trekking solo is not advisable in the Himalayas and you might not get the required legal permissions on yourself. So, the trekking has to be done in a group even if you travel alone from your place.

There are few very good Trek organizers like Trek The Himalayas(TTH), India Hikes, Bikat Adventures etc. Of course, they charge you based on duration of trek and place and its totally worth. On my trek to Pangarchulla I opted for TTH. And my personal experience with TTH was really satisfactory. All the arrangements including food and the trek leaders very all up to the mark.

Prepare Yourself – Even an easy-moderate Himalayan trek is definitely are not like an evening stroll in the park. As beautiful as the treks are, they are quite challenging and require good amount of stamina. Our body is normally used to the environment we live in and trekking in Himalayan environment requires would require more and more stamina as the gradient of the trek keeps increasing. But it is nothing impossible. In fact, all the trekking agencies will provide you the list of exercises which you can work out for the required trek. These exercises need to be taken seriously and followed mandatorily. You may have to start your preparations about 3 months before your trek. You can even scale yourself with the stamina checks.
For Pangarchulla, you can prepare yourself with these set of exercises in the link. Always remember, you can enjoy your trek only if you have prepared well. Or else you might end up getting exhausted.

My Trekking Experience to Pangarchulla Peak with TTH

You can always check the brief and detailed itinerary on website.
But the below is all of my experience, as I felt.

Pangarchulla is best suited as your second Himalayan trek with a prior trekking experience in Himalayan terrain. But I made a courageous decision to choose Pangarchulla Peak for my very first Himalayan trek with the confidence of good trekking experience over the years in the Western Ghats mountains. Still, I followed the instructions and prepared myself well. I booked my slot with TTH 4 months prior to trek dates and made all travel arrangements.

I traveled from Bangalore to Delhi by flight and took an overnight train to Haridwar. Along with me, 8 other trekkers were picked up from Haridwar by TTH team. 4 more trekkers joined us from Rishikesh. Our first day was a good long travel for about 300Kms to our base camp Joshimath by 8pm. The travel was tedious but the spectacular views of these rocky Himalayan mountain ranges along the way made up for it. And our trekking group was already transforming into friendly gang. Thanks to all those beautiful like-minded fellow trekkers. The trek leaders Naveen & Pankaj, joined us in Joshimath and briefed us about the plan for next 5 days.

Next morning, we traveled further 10kms to Dhak village which was the starting point of our trek. The energy and spirit of the team was high and there were all broad smiles around. As it covered a Himalayan village area, the first half of the day’s terrain was quite easy, even though we covered more elevation and distance here. The path offered some beautiful views of Tapoban, India’s rarest Hot Springs venue with the backgrounds of Himalayan mountains. It was quite a sight to behold.

Also, those interactions with mountain villagers along the way lifted our spirits up. After about 6kms of trek we reached our campsite, Gulling Top by late evening. It was first day’s stay away from civilization. And we could spot the beautiful famous Himalayan peaks like Nanda Devi, Dronagiri etc. After the delicious snacks and dinner provided by TTH we all go to relax, lay down and look up at the night sky. The night under the stars was just remarkable.

The second day we continued along in the Himalayan forests and it was like almost a jungle hike. We were surrounded by variety of Himalayan flora. And our very friendly trek leaders along with a local trek guide, kept telling us inspiring trekking stories and also gave information about the vegetation we were seeing. By half way of the trek we started to spot the snow and within minutes it was all snow at our feet to look down and sky kissing long trees to look up. The dense forest and a chilled weather. Ahh..!! A lovely feel that was. As camping in Khullara was not allowed, we had to camp much earlier at Tali. And later in the evening we took an acclimatization walk for an hour. And luckily with clear sky we were able to witness a marvellous sunset over Dronagiri, one of India’s highest peaks. The group here had some good fun time and played a lots of games together. We were all just like kids playing with the snow ball throws, the ultimate Snowman making competition, the trekkers all-time favourite Mafia game and dumb charades. There was no network and no signs of civilization but there was a sense of satisfaction and inner peace.

The next day, was the Big Day. The peak summit had to be achieved and it was 8km trek one way. That might not sound like much, but the terrain was the toughest. Our TTH group was the first batch in the year to attempt the peak and we had to open the path all along the way. We started as early as 2am and the adventure kicked-in. We knew how dangerous the terrain and surrounding is. But we stuck around together. We crossed one of the famous passes in Himalayas, the Kauri pass.
However, the best was yet to come! It was around 5.30 am when the true magic began to unfold. We had attained almost 13,500ft elevation by that time. And it was 360o view of majestic Himalayas. To say it was a breathtaking view is an understatement. There were no words coming out, I was stunned and speechless. To be on one of the most serene and sacred places of earth witnessing the true beauty of nature – I was just blown away. And it didn’t stop there. We continued on the terrain which was getting tougher and tougher, steeper and quite dangerous. But when my mind was enjoying the serenity of those mountains these troubles were completely ignored. And it was around 6.30am, when we saw the first rays of the Sun emerging shining behind the Himalayan mountain peaks. The sights for the next half hour were out of this world! We were amidst fresh deep snow, trying hard to place our steps carefully. But the sight was at skies. Such was the beauty. And once the Sun started to show up, I felt like I’m in a whole different world. The inner serenity hit me so hard that I was numb about everything else around me. There were some deep thoughts about life running through my mind. It felt, as a human being this is where we belong. That every day’s materialistic life made no sense at that moment. My soul was touched and the heart kept smiling. All of sudden there was a new sense of living my life. A new perspective and I was truly emotional. All I did was to thank the almighty for this beautiful life and salute the mighty Himalayas. The exact words I uttered to myself were Man, I love my life.

Sunrise over the backdrops of Mt.Dronagiri, one the highest peaks in India

For the next one hour I was so high with the spirit that I didn’t even realize how much distance we covered. But After 8am at the elevation on 14,000ft. the terrain got really harder. The snow was around 6 feet deep. We fell in hundreds of times. And kept pulling ourselves out. We could see the peak at a very near sight. But the terrain to be covered was long and highly difficult. And as I said, we were opening the track that year. It made the things tougher. But that didn’t stop us. The leaders kept encouraging us. When it was very steep, we had to use snow spikes with our shoes, thanks to TTH. It gave a good grip on the snow, but it added weight to our shoes. Remember, once you cross 14,000ft. elevation the oxygen falls down almost to 50-60% of sea level. You may not require oxygen cylinders at this height. But your body would need more energy than usual and carrying anything would feel twice heavier than it actually is. And we dragged ourselves further for may be another 500 ft high.

At last, only few of us in the team could proceed till the foot of the peak and the last few 20-30ft. of climb was called-off as the snow on the ridge was melting down. Mountaineering or trekking is not about reaching one point. It is all about the journey you traverse. And I had hit the saturation level of satisfaction. It was the time I felt like I need nothing else in life. What more can you expect? And, we started heading back. By this time sun was right above our heads. The whole area was covered with snow which kept reflecting the sunlight and began to drain our energy more. We stopped to have our packed lunch and continued later. There were few places where we slid down on the snow like 30-40mts down with proper instructions from our trek guide to avoid walking. That was fun. But it was not all. The path seemed very long in the hot Sun. At some places we all got separated though we tried to stay together. We were in visible distance but far from each other. The ridges were just half a foot wide and the view of the bottom of the valley was really scary. In addition, at few places we had to cross mountain slopes of almost 60o by making our own pathway. This is when again for the second time of the day the thoughts of uncertainty of life hit me hard. The place was dead silent apart from the noise of the wind blowing at high speed. I was surrounded by snow mountains completely, no signs of vegetation too. And the body was taking a toll. I slipped few times, but managed to get up and walk again. The mighty Himalayas which seemed to be the most beautiful thing ever on earth few hours before, was now showing us how scarier it can be. But the sights were still amazing. We could see the Badrinath, Hathi Parvat, Nanda Devi, Mt. Trisul, Mt. Dronagiri, Nanda Ghunti, Kedarnath and many more famous Himalayan mountains in their full view. As beautiful as the scene was, it was scarier in reality. It felt like the Mother Nature held the supreme power. And that’s true, isn’t it?

Somehow, I managed to cross those steep descents and reached the vegetation again. To avoid dehydration, we had to melt the fresh snow in our water bottles and drink it. There was a sense of relief. A long breath. And again, a heartfelt thanks to the almighty for this beautiful life. The more scarier things you do in life, the more you start to value the life.😊

The noon was tougher in a different way. The snow was soft by hot Sun overhead. And at many places we couldn’t predict it. There were numerous occasions where we stepped in and got sunk till our hips. Had to chose our step very wisely. And after a long walk for around 5 hours I finally reached our base camp by evening, followed by rest. The waterproof shoes and gaiters were soaked to core, leaving our feet completely numb. After all what could possibly stand against nature? We had trekked for almost 16 hours straight that day. And coming back safe and sound was a whole sense of accomplishment. Not of climbing mountains but realizing what mountaineering is. Realizing what life is…!!

We changed our clothes, had our dinner and slept peacefully. There was not even a bit of energy left. It was one of the best sleeps I can say, though the temperature fell down to negatives at night. We still had a day planned in the mountains. And the next day, team trekked towards Tali lake. After spending some good time at the Tali lake the team headed back towards Dhak village. And we had to cover the descent for the same ascent we did for first two days. But it wasn’t tough. After we reached Dhak village, we got picked up by TTH team vehicle and left to Joshimath to our base camp. After a week, our bodies felt the warm water. It was a delightful feeling.

Sri Narasingh Temple, Joshimath

Personally, I always like to visit the local places wherever I go. And Joshimath has some beautiful places of its own, mainly the temples. The Narsingh temple, dedicated for Lord Vishnu is a beautifully sculptured art work. During the period when Badrinath temple remains closed during winter every year, the idol of Lord Badri is brought to this temple and worshiped for six months. And nearby is the Adi Shankaracharya’s math, along with the Shakthi peeta which he established, in four corners of India. This marks the Northern Shakthi peeta. And with the feeling of being blessed, our lovely trek to Pangarchulla came to an end. Next day morning we were picked up and dropped back to Rishikesh and Haridwar.

A week’s trek brought a new meaning in my life. I carried back that whole new level of respect towards life in my heart. Not everything can be explained. Few experiences are truly beyond explanations and my trek to Pangarchulla is truly one of that. Yes. I didn’t conquer the mountains, but I’m sure that I won myself.😊

Thank you Himalayas🙏

10 things to  know for a 1st time Himalayan Trekker.

Again, these are from personal experience. The agencies might or might not mention about these. But it is always good to have this information before.

  1. Acute Mountain Sickness (ACM): The most important thing to be taken care in high mountains about Acute Mountain Sickness. You can be perfectly fit with good stamina and still can end up suffering with ACM. It is nothing major but the common headache, cold and nausea, which can affect anyone after crossing the elevation of 8000ft due to pressure drop. But what makes it worse is the climate and whole different environment for your body. Avoid headache tablets. That can make the situation worst. Follow your trek leader’s advice. They are trained for these kinds of situations.
  1. No bathing during trek. Either it is a week trek or two week’s treks, you won’t be having bath at any campsites. Your last bath would be at your base campsite. Do keep this in mind and be prepared for this.
    It is advised, even not to wash your face in the stream water. As the streams flow through some tough terrain, the hardness in water can be very high which can make your skin dry.
    Best thing to do in the morning would be to brush your teeth, wash your eyes with little water and wipe your face with wet tissues.
  1. Carry at least 2 rolls of toilet papers. If you had ever wondered what might be the toiletry arrangements in a trek, let me tell you. It’s quite a nomad style. The agency will pitch in a common tent where you have to finish your business, cover it with mud and use toilet papers. Nothing to be ashamed of. This is your body. This is biology.
  1. Pack appropriate. The agency will guide you with the luggage to be packed. Adhere to that list. No extras or no backups. No ifs and buts. Any extra luggage will make you more exhausted. As I said, at high elevations anything you carry will feel twice heavier. But, you shouldn’t miss anything suggested for your trek by your agency to safeguard yourself.
  1. Protect your skin and eyes as much as you can. If you think you will be in snow and cold environment and no need of any skin care, you are wrong. Especially in summer treks like Pangarchulla – at these heights, the sun rays are much stronger and harsher on your skin. Sunscreen lotion (SPF 50) is must. Also a good pair of sunglasses for your eyes. If you try to walk around without sunglasses at noon, you can catch Snow Blindness. As all the snow around you reflect the light back to you, your eyes would suffer temporary darkness. Sunglasses with UV protection is a better choice here.
  1. Prior trekking experience is must. If not Pangarchulla, even if you are trying any easy treks in the Himalayas also, you should have some prior trekking experience. Don’t treat it as a fun outing to hang out with friends. Trekking in the Himalayas needs a whole new level of strength, stamina and good knowledge of do’s and don’ts during a trek. Also, a strong mental strength. A trek leader can only guide you. At the end it’s you who must take care of your body and yourself.
  1. Stop your trek if needed. An utmost important thing to note. If you feel you are running out of energy, stop your trek immediately. It is not a defeat. You aren’t in a race with anyone. They say, if you reach summit with all your energy and if someone else has to carry you down, your trek is an absolute failure. Don’t get into that situation. A good trekker shouldn’t cause troubles to his fellow trekkers. There might be a peak point to the mountain, but not for mountaineering. So, if your body feels it has had enough, just stop your trek. Ask your trek leaders and make arrangements to go back.
    Additionally, in these kinds of week-long treks, the trek leaders will check your blood pressure and body oxygen level every night. If it is not satisfactory, don’t insist on taking next day’s trek.
    At the end, all that matters is the journey you took and not the point you reached. “Human life is far more important than just getting to the top of a mountain”.
  1. Respect the Mountains. If you show respect to mountains, the mountains will take care of you better. You might be a more adventurous person, but when a trail is led by one person, just follow it. Maintain discipline in your trail. There will be a local trek guide in your group. Treat them with respect. Follow the instructions. These pointers aren’t just for the sake of mentioning it. Remember, you will be far away from civilization. No one can guarantee you immediate medical help at any time. Not even your trek agency. Stay cautious.
  1. Do enough research on your trek. The usual mistake the first-time trekkers do is to choose a trek which they heard from someone as good. It might not be right all the time. Even if you are going with someone’s suggestions, do some research on your own. You usually get detailed information from trekking agency websites. Know beforehand the camping points, trekking distance for each day, elevation covered on each day and all the basic things. When you have a clear picture of what is in the store for a day, your mind will be free of confusions and your mental stamina will be high.
  1. Take no litter, leave no litter. I said take no litter in your mind. When you are trekking in Himalayas, keep in mind that you are traversing through one of the loveliest places on this earth. Don’t drag your personal problems along with you. Don’t keep discussing your personal things with your fellow trekkers. Travel with a fresh and clean mind. The land will offer you some of the lifetime experiences, you should be open to inhale it.
    And also, don’t leave your physical litter/garbage lying around. Leave only your footprints and carry back the memories in your heart.

Looking back, this trek gave me a whole new perspective on life. It made me realize how small the human beings are in the nature. I don’t remember exactly how I crossed those steep edges all alone. I felt like I had given up at many places. Even I had thoughts if I can really make it back to camp alive or not. Few flashes of scenes keep coming back to my mind where I kept slipping in the steeps but my trekking pole held me in position. And here I am, after a few months, writing down my experiences, remembering them like it was yesterday. Even though you decide to give up, there is always something holding your back. Trust yourself. Trust the almighty. Trust the Mother Nature.

In the pursuit of adventure, I was able to rediscover myself. Standing at the heights of nearly 14,500ft. with my arms wide open, I felt like embracing the whole mountain ranges with a tight hug. It was such a heavenly feeling. A complete heartfelt satisfaction. All I could do was to thank myself for making a courageous decision in choosing Pangarchulla as my first Himalayan trek. And some hard guts for never giving up.
Man, I love my life”. 😊

A beautiful video of our trek by our gang’s Go Pro hero, Rimshad

Read other posts by Lokesh R K

Hampi – In the land of lost Royalty

The potential vibe of certain places is so hypnotic such that it inspires you to do things that you’ve always dreamt of. Without any doubt Hampi is one of such charismatic places which leaves you in absolute awe and surprise. I’ve always wanted to blog my travels and that visit to Hampi pushed me to go for it without any hesitations.

To remember and ponder over the bygone era of Vijayanagara wandering around the strenuous, tough and arduous world heritage monuments is an experience of a lifetime. With peace spread all over, every stone of the land telling you a story each, it’s an absolute dope for the history and architecture lovers

So here it is. My very first travel tale on my blog. My experience, the takeaway, the dos and don’ts, things to consider before visiting and all that I could remember of.

Why Hampi? – The incredible landscape of Karnataka packs numerous backpacking destinations with quite a diverse experience. And Hampi is the epitome of the architectural and cultural richness of Karnataka. Once the mightiest city ruled with prosperous wealth to an extent of gold and diamonds being sold on the streets like vegetables to the times when it got looted multiple times, leaving the rich temples on to the ground, the history seekers can see all filmy events from the books of History. For the architectural lovers what’s left over after the ruins is still the most epic style today. Nature lovers, if you want to enjoy those sunsets just as beautiful as on sea shore, Hampi it is. It’s a whole package you can afford at one spot.

Best time to visit? – Ideally, the best to visit is during the winter season, November to February. Since it’s the peak season, it could be over crowded during this time. Apart from this the monsoon season of June to September can also serve as good but make yourself rainproof. Its advisable to avoid summer season where the temperature can reach up to 40°c.

How many days? – If History, Architecture or Culture fascinates you  it would require minimum of 3 days to deeply inhale the richness of this land, 4 days being optimum. But if it’s a fun outing with friends or family 2 days would suffice to reach all the major attractions and click enough pictures.

How to Reach and Commute internally? – Best way to reach Hampi is by road. You get both private and KSRTC direct buses from Bangalore. If timings are not convenient, you can take a bus to Hospet(more frequent buses available) and from there a local bus which would cost you 20rs for half an hour journey or autorickshaws which costs around 150rs.

To travel back from Hampi, the direct buses are limited. You will have to come back to Hospet and catch a bus from there. The buses from Hospet to Hampi run from 6:00am to 10:00pm back and forth. Hospet is the nearest railway station too to Hampi(12kms).

To commute internally, you can hire an auto-rickshaw for your whole 2-3 days tour which can cost around 1000rs. Bargaining skills will help you though. If you want to travel alone, you can rent bicycles for 100rs a day or even a motorcycle starting from 300rs per day. If you have a 4-wheeler no need to think. Most of the places are accessible even by HMVs.

Where to stay? – Hampi offers you places with almost all budgets and luxury to stay. Let me not mention the hotels or guesthouse names. You can always check that with current price and ratings on booking sites. But let me tell where you can plan to stay and why.

1. Hippe Island – It has to be reached by crossing Tungabhadra river by a ferry ride of 5mins costing 20rs. This is the place where you can enjoy the extravagant stay in Hampi. The place has some beautiful vibes of its own. The home-stays and restaurants are classically themed and decorated. This is the best place to meet people from various different countries and engage yourself in some adventurous activities at Hampi. The average cost per room per night starts from 1000rs.

The Virupaksha temple as seen from Hippe island

2. City center Nearby Virupaksha Temple – The hotels are not glorious but they provide all basic amenities with pocket friendly budget. And its easy to commute to all the directions of Hampi. The average cost per room per night starts as friendly as from 300rs.

On either place you can book the hotels before hand online, or get there, check the place once and book it instantaneously. But during peak season of December to January its best advised to book it earlier, especially in Hippe island.

A Good Itinerary – Must visit Places

The way you plan your itinerary at Hampi is very important. The land has so many beautiful attractions that you need a right plan to cover as much as you can. And let me tell you, none of them are worth missing.

The places here are covered in the order that can be followed. You can follow it to proceed in one direction than looping around.

1. Virupaksha Temple: This the perfect place to start your Hampi tour regardless where you are staying. Situated right at the city center, this place can be your coordinates (0,0) in Hampi. You can hire all kind of vehicles for your further journey from here.The temple has a rich history of its own too. Dedicated to the main deity of Vijayanagara kings Prasanna Virupaksha this is the most sacred living temple of Hampi. Temple darshana timings are from 9AM to 1PM, and then from 5PM to 9PM. Never miss the peaceful view of Kalyani in the Southern entrance of the temple.

2. Hemakuta Hills:

This is how Hampi welcomed me❤️. It was my first day at Hampi. Reaching by 5.30am had a hot cup of coffee in the chilled weather and walked on to the top of Hemakuta hills, right next to Virupaksha temple. It was a blissful morning and the peace was spread all over. On that good foggy day when the sun started to rise slow and over, the true beauty of this land started to unfold in front touching the inner serenity.

I rested on a high rock with my bag, and started inhaling the freshness of the day, the Sun just had brought. The skies were turning gold and heart was turning cold. Within the moments I was not a spectator but a part of that beautiful art of nature.

Yes. Hemakuta Hills is one of the most beautiful and serene spots in Hampi. It has number of beautifully carved small structures, pillars, mandapas and temples. It’s an easy walk to the hills for 10mins from Virupaksha temple. You can enjoy 360° view of Hampi from the top. You can plan to come here for the amazing views of sunrise and sunset. On top of all these, if you want to spend some peaceful time all alone or with your loved ones this is the right place.

3. Kadale Ganapati and Sasuve Ganapati – Two of the most famous monuments in the beautiful land of Hampi. It is another 10mins walk from Hemakuta hills to Kadale Ganapati temple, a huge monolithic Ganapati statue. And right next to it is Sasuve Ganapati, a mandapa on an open boulder and the Ganapati Statue in it. It just takes 30mins to 1 hour to enjoy both the temples.

4. Ugra Narasimha and Badavi Linga: From Sasuve Ganapati temple it’s a 20mins walk to the Ugra Narasimha shrine and Badavi Linga which are next to each other.

Lakshmi Narasimha Statue, is the perfect example showing the lethal destruction of the mighty Hampi. The original statue contained the image of goddess Lakshmi sitting on his lap. But the damage was so brutal that the whole Lakshmi statue was shredded into tiny pieces leaving behind only Narasimha statue.

Badavi Linga, literally translating to poor woman’s Shiva, is situated inside a small stone chamber. There is a single opening in front of the chamber through which devotees can get in. Its yet another small, simple and a fascinating structure to visit in Hampi.

6. BalaKrishna Temple and Kalyani: Walk forward from Badavi Linga and take an immediate left in the junction. Walk for 15mins to find one of the peaceful places in Hampi, the BalaKrishna Temple. The main idol has been brutally destroyed, but the temple’s beauty is still unmatchable. Thousands of intricate carvings and exactly 36 beautiful sculpted columns. Its usually less crowded and can be the best place to regain your strength. It can be a very good place for your photoshoot too.

Exactly opposite to the temple is the ruins of the ancient market place and a Kalyani. Again, it’s a bit isolated place and a good one to spend some time alone.

7. Sunset at Matanga Hills: The next option depends on how much time you are left with in the day. If you have couple of hours, better option would be to walk back on to the Hemakuta hills and enjoy beautiful sunset. But if you have more time and energy left within you, your option can be Matanga hills.

Walk back towards Virupaksha temple and right opposite is the pathway which leads to the foothills of Matanga hills(1km from Balakrishna temple). The hill climb is a moderate trek for 1 to 1.5 hours. Plan to reach here an hour before sunset. Place is very popular with foreign tourists and also adventure junkies. The sunset and the view of Virupaksha temple from the top of the hills is one the best one you can witness.

8. Achyutaraya Temple and Nandi Statue: Right at the foothills of the Matanga hills is the Achyutaraya Temple. The temple is known for its large dimensions and spacious courtyard. You can visit this even before you start trek to Matanga hills. And the Nandi statue nearby is a massive well executed couchant statue facing the Virupaksha Temple.

This can be your day 1 at Hampi.

9. Underground Shiva Temple: The next sequence of places has to covered on one go starting from this. 2kms from Virupaksha Temple, towards Kamalapur is Underground Shiva Temple. The temple had remained buried for over four hundred years before it was discovered in the 1980’s decade. The place can be good for portraits and photoshoots.

10. Queens Bath: Continue from Underground Shiva temple in Kamalapur main road for another 1.5kms for Queen’s bath to your left. You can term it as ancient and luxurious swimming pool of the Queen and royal women of Vijayanagara period showing their rich life style in those days. The place is well maintained.

11. Royal Enclosure, Mahanavami Dibba and Stepped Pushkarini: From queen’s bath its half a km of muddy road to Royal Enclosure, Mahanavami Dibba and Stepped Pushkarini in one campus.

Royal Enclosure is the huge fortified area was once the center of the Vijayanagara Empire. The place was used to hold large fairs and festivals, especially the Dasara festival.

Mahanavami Dibba is a huge podium which facilitated King and Royal family members to enjoy the performances and festivals from the high place. The Simple structure is planned so beautifully that encloses the secret and emergency passages in case of such situation.

Stepped Pushkarini is one of the beautiful engineering models designed to store fresh water for large number of people. Till today you can see the overhead stone pipeline for the inflow of water and properly planned outflow too.

12. Hazara Rama Temple: Continue from Royal Enclosure for 300mts for Hazara Rama Temple. The term ‘Hazara Rama’ literally means a thousand Rama and refers to the multitude of relics depicting the reigning deity of the temple. It was once the private temple of the kings and the royal family of Vijayanagara. Any architecture lovers can never miss this place in Hampi.

13. Zana Enclosure – Lotus Mahal, Queen’s Palace and Elephant’s Stable: Continue for another 400mts from Hazara Rama Temple to Zana Enclosure. The place has separate entrance ticket for 10rs and first you see as you enter is the Queen’s Palace followed by Lotus Mahal nearby. Behind that is the Elephants Stable. It would take 1 hour to cover these three. If you are interested in seeing more ruins of Hampi you can proceed further on a narrow pathway for 300mts to see the remains of Parshwanatha Jain Temple and Shri Vishnu Temple.

13. Saraswati Temple and Octagonal Bath: Come back from Zana Enclosure to meet the main road where you took left for Queen’s bath. Proceed towards Kamalapur just for another 200mts and take the left road. Proceed little to find the ruins of Chandrashekara Temple and Saraswati temples. Behind the Saraswati Temple is the octagonal bath. The beautiful stone work is still evident on this today. If you are a travel photographer, this place can be a beautiful subject for your travel photography.

14. Vijaya Vittala Temple- The icon of Hampi: Come back to main road from Saraswati temple and procced for 1km to Kamalapur Junction. Proceed left for 4kms to the entrance of Vijaya Vittala Temple. The temple is 1km from entrance and private vehicles including cycles are not allowed. You can walk for a km or take an Electric Van costing 20rs.

If you decide to walk you can enjoy some beautiful small structures on the way like Gejjala Mandapa, Kudure Mandapa and Kalyani.

After 1km its Vijaya Vittala temple, and there are no enough words to describe the beauty of this place. This is where you find the Hampi’s most celebrated and the iconic Stone Chariot. Opposite to it is the Vijaya Vittala temple along with yet another largely famous, the fascinating Musical Pillars mandapa. Yes, you can hear the music notes when you tap on these pillars. The whole temple area consists of many halls, shrines and pavilions inside it. This place has a lot to say from history and architecture perspectives. Affording a guide here would be a good choice if you are interested.

The place will close by 6pm everyday and it would take minimum of 2hours to enjoy this place and take photos. Also, this is the most photographed place in Hampi. Photographers, should wait for the right moment if you want to capture the beautiful structures alone.

If you have planned well this can be your day 2 in Hampi.

15. Around Hampi – Sanapur Lake: These are few places most of them would miss. But they are really worth visiting. Sanapur lake can be accessed from the Hippe Island side of Hampi. You can rent a bike on this day as these places are in the outskirts of Hampi.

5kms from Hippe island is Sanapur lake. One of the very peaceful places in Hampi. You can enjoy the coracle ride here. Also, the famous cliff jumping of Hampi. But cliff jumping is allowed only if the water level is sufficient. You can enjoy lake too swimming here. But please be cautious as this lake has deep waters and some strong currents.

The sunrise and sunsets on this lake are very colorful and serene.

16. Anjanadri Hills: 6kms from Sanapur lake is the famous Anjanadri Hills, which is believed to be the birth place of lord Hanuman. You can visit here with the good belief in our mythology or even as a nature and adventure enthusiastic. It takes 1hour to climb the temple and there are steps carved till the top. On the top there is a temple dedicated to lord Hanuman. And from the top you can have a beautiful panoramic view of Hampi and its outskirts along with the Tungabhadra river.

A view from the top of Anjanadri Hills

17. Anegundi: If you proceed further for 3.5kms from Anjanadri hills, you will find a small and a beautiful village on the banks of Tungabhadra river, the Anegundi. This place is the entrance point to Hampi from another direction. You can find some beautiful small temples with rich sculpture work like Anjaneya Temple, Lakshmi Temple, Ganesha Temple, Kishkinda Old Bridge, Gagan Palace etc.All the places are nearby to each other and you can cover them within 2hours.

18. Sunset at Hemakuta Hills: On the first day, if you had visited Matanga hills, then you can come back to Hampi from Anegundi by evening for the sunset at Hemakuta hills. Even though the Hemakuta hills is not a big one, the sunset view it offers is one of the best you can witness. What adds to the beauty here are those small temples and stone structures which turn into vibrant scene during sunsets. The view of Virupaksha temple from here during sunset is pretty awesome. There are enough stone benches laid where you can sit and enjoy the view. It’s definitely not worth missing. (If you have covered Hemakuta hills on first day, this day you can plan your visit and trek to Matanga hills)

And this can be your day 3 and may be your final day at Hampi.

Clear your doubts-

Is Hampi safe for Solo travelers? Without any hesitations, YES. Hampi is one of the safest places for solo travelers. Even for girls. If you have always wanted to do some solo travels and wondering where to start from, Hampi is the best option. The locals are also very good and they respect the tourists very much.

You will find lot of solo travelers, even some foreign tourists travelling alone. You will never feel isolated anywhere at the same time you can enjoy your lone time without anyone disturbing you. Renting bicycles/bikes you can commute to all places alone without worrying of the cost.

Was walking on the banks of Tungabhadra river when I met these awesome cool gang of European travelers. I think the vibe itself of this place is so great that it makes people super cool. We were having a conversation and they expressed that Hampi was one of the best place they had visited in their India tour.
⠀⠀After having tender coconuts to satisfy our thirsts the shopkeeper lady joined us in conversation and posed for a picture on their request, though she uttered “nachike aagutte hogappa” in Kannada for me😅
From the localities, to the shopkeepers, the guides, autorickshawalas and even the tourists. I enjoyed everyone’s company.

Entry fee – Most of the places at Hampi are free for entrance. Except very few like Zana enclosure and Vijaya Vittala temple which has very less entry tickets of 10-20rs per head. And no, they won’t charge extra for your cameras or mobile phones.

Anyhow, you will have to pay parking fee on most places if you are travelling in 4-wheeler.

Is Camping/Tenting allowed in Hampi? There are few groups who organize outdoor camping officially with all permissions. Apart from that also, you can pitch in your private tent around most of the places. Near foothills of Matanga and even on the banks of Tungabhadra towards Hippe island. Carry your ID card. That would help.

Sanapur lake is also a good place for camping. But its not advisable for solo travelers.

Must know things before visiting Hampi

  1. The cellphone network is very inconsistent. Only airtel can be reached in very few spots and no network for major portion with other operators. Make sure download offline maps for Hampi on your phone beforehand. Though most restaurants and hotels provide Wi-Fi, the speed is not that great.
  2. Carry enough cash. There are no ATMs in Hampi. Nearest one is in Hospet. Carry good amount of cash as cards are not accepted in most places. Paytm is accepted though. But remember. There might be no network on your phone.
  3. Bargain skills is gold here. You can bargain with almost everyone. Autorickshaw walas, hotel people and bike/bicycle rentals.
  4. Hampi might not be famous for one particular food. But you will get almost all cuisines of food here as this is a major foreign tourists’ destination. So, food should not be a problem. I tried multiple restaurants in the city center and in Hippe island. Not anywhere I found the taste or quality being unsatisfactory.
  5. Lakshmi, the temple Elephant has a fan base of its own. If you manage to be near Virupaksha temple by morning 7 or evening 6, you can enjoy beautiful scenes where Lakshmi will be taken to Tungabhadra river bath.
  6. Tripods are not allowed in Hampi. This is very important to note for photographers. There are no restrictions on type of camera you use. But tripods are strictly not allowed in any place at Hampi.
  7. Local Shopping – Again there isn’t anything particular you can buy only from Hampi. But there are enough stores at city center where you can pick up some gifts or souvenirs from Hampi. Antique pieces, models of Hampi’s structures and fashion wearables are most what you find of.
  8. If you are a hobby reader, never forget to carry books. The places are so serene that it is best fitted to enjoy your book. The Hemakuta hills, Matanga hills, Balakrishna temple being few.
  9. Carry first aid kit and basic medicines. There are no major medical shops in Hampi. And you will be walking in open areas with lots of boulders. It’s a good option to carry basic medicines and a first aid kit.
  10. Visit Virupaksha temple at night. This is a whole different experience. You can see many people sleeping outdoor on the floors of temple right under the stars. Even though you don’t end up sleeping there, you can spend some peaceful time here at night.

Take Away

Hampi will leave you satisfied at your heart. I personally guarantee it😉. Whatever your purpose of visit might be, Hampi offers the best in every thing a visitor can ask for. Hampi can be the right place that could give you a whole set of fresh mind and soothe your soul. Its all in the vibe of this place I can say. There is lots of positivity that embraces you in this land and follow you behind..!!! Personally, for me, my solo trip to Hampi will go down as one of the most beautiful journeys I have ever taken❤️

  1. Woww just wowww…Loki . wonderful pics with detailed information.Amazing work….keep rocking and waiting for more posts ….! 🤩🤩🤩🤩

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Diaries: In the land of lost royalty!! ⠀⠀"Hemakuta Hill Top" ⠀Hampi and Sunsets is an never ending love❤️ ⠀A gentle hill structure right at the heart center of Hampi, offer a splendid view of the sprawling ruins of Hampi and also marks one of the best place to enjoy both the sunrise and sunset. ⠀The climb would take just a 15mins brisk walk and I'm pretty sure all aged people can make it😅. It consists of the medieval pathway sprinkled generously with a large number of temples, archways and pavilions. The whole of the hill was fortified with tall wide stonewalls, the ruined remains of which can be still be seen. Once you have reached the top it’s almost a flat expanse of rocky sheet with occasional ups and downs. ⠀I would say this is best place to start in exploring the Hampi. Hema in Sanskrit literally translates to Gold. The myth is that Lors Shiva did penance before marrying the local girl Pampa, impressed with her dedication and thus resulting a gold rain here. ⠀Whatever the myth maybe, but I could still see every rock on the hills glittering like gold at the times on sunrise and sunset, drawing beautiful different patterns and creating mesmerizing scenes. So for me it was 'Hema'kuta for real😉 ⠀This is the picture of the small Hanuman Temple at the top of hills at the time of sunset. One of the spots which offers the best views around😊 ⠀⠀ #Hampi #HampiDiaries #HemakutaHill #Sun #Sunset #Heritage #UNESCO#HeritageSite #Karnataka #KarnatakaTourism #Travel #TravelIndia #IncredibleIndia #IndianPhotography #StoriesOfIndia #Monument #Architecture #Wonders #Hiking #WondersOfIndia #HampiFocus #Explore #Evening #Vibrant #Sky #Skyline #Beautiful #Mesmerizing #Nikon #NikonD7200

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You can find more pictures and details of each place, on my instagram posts:)

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