A 4-day itinerary to Hampi, Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal

We executed this itinerary from Mumbai during the Christmas break of 2019, and had a great time, with young cranky kids, mind you!😁

The itinerary allows enough time at each of these places to appreciate the ‘must-visit’ ruins, and other significant places of interest, and should suffice for anybody who wants to appreciate the ruins and temples, but not the ones with deep interest in archeology, ancient Indian cultures, or devoted students of history or archeology.

The plan was impromptu. Owing to the CAA protests erupting in Gujarat, our original destination, we chose to go down south to Hampi, a long held bucket list item. And we were sure to have issues with hotel bookings since it’s technically the peak season there. And good hotels in that part are few and generally overbooked. Most people end up staying at guest houses and home stays, including, and especially, foreign tourists who throng to Hampi in droves during Christmas break.

Sunday: drive from Mumbai to Pandharpur (Google maps showed the route through Kolhapur to be busy and taking about 1:15 hours longer than the one through Pandharpur), and overnight in Pandharpur. Next day morning we had Darshan at the main temple and then visited the Iskcon temple, spent some time at the new Ghat they are building on the banks of the Chandrabhaga river. A work decidedly in progress, but the work done so far gives an idea of the magnificent ghats that will come up!

Vitthala Rukmini temple, Pandharpur
The beautiful ghats coming up at Chandrabhaga River
The gorgeous expanse of Chandrabhaga River

Monday: drive to Hampi after visiting Kudala Sangam. Nice place and an easy detour on the route. And also good place if you happen to reach there during lunch time with lots of neer dosa, and other quick eats available there.

Kudala Sangama temple
Fresh and soft, neer dosa

Same day we went to Hampi to have a leisurely stroll in the main Hampi Bazaar. And a good long dinner at the Mango Tree restaurant. As expected the music was divine, literally, with trance-like recitation of Om Namah Shivay in Amitabh Bachhan’s voice, and lots of foreign tourists keeping the floor level lounge sitting busy.

The gully in which the Mango Tree is located, alongside many shops and guesthouses

Wares on sale, mostly Hippie stuff, at the Hampi bazaar

The thali at Mango Tree restaurant, Hampi

Hampi: we didn’t get any guesthouse in Hampi or in Hospet either. So we chose to stay in Rock Regency in Torangala.

Tuesday: we spent the full day at Hampi. With a guide we were able to cover all the important places this side of the river.

Virupaksha temple, always lively and bustling with devotees and visitors
Underground Shiva temple, Hampi. Actually underwater.
The airy Lotus Mahal, for the royal ladies of the empire

Wednesday: Anjaneyadri and Sanapur lake. The early morning coracle ride in the Sanapur lake is probably the best kept secret of Hampi!

Views from the coracle in Sanapur lake
Views from the coracle in Sanapur lake

We left and drove to Badami through rural roads dotted with lots of beautiful farms, and charming settlements. This is a route where you are well-advised to carry your own food. There are places where the only food we could get was the girmit, a local version of bhadang/kurmura.

We checked in to Clark’s Inn in Badami after visiting the Badami caves. Too many visitors there due to that day being Christmas and lots of school children visiting too.

Thursday: Didn’t get a guide in Badami through the hotel, but chose to visit Aihole anyways. We had very good experience with the local guide at Aihole we picked up next to the ticketing counter.

The most recognized temple structure at Aihole
Pushkarini, the stepped well that was used for storing rain water for later use
Ravana Phadi, well-preserved but not well-visited temple at Aihole

And then drive back to Pattadakal after lunch at the KSTDC hotel Mayura in Aihole.

Bring the only decent place to eat, the KSTDC hotel at Aihole is generally busy
A King’s meal, for a pittance 😆😆

Pattadakal – beautiful, well-preserved complex of 9 Shiva temples. The Virupaksha temple here is live with daily prayer offerings.

The temple complex at Pattadakal
The Virupaksha temple at Pattadakal
The restored Nandi temple right opposite the Virupaksha temple

Friday: drive back to Pune via Kolhapur for a night stay with family in Pune at relatives place.

Of course it wouldn’t be fair to go so close to Kolhapur without trying out their famous Kolhapuri thali, complete with tambda-pandhra rassa!

The rassa! 😋

The thali with thencha!

Good fun trip!

Any questions, feel free to drop me a line, or put in a comment below!

3 thoughts on “A 4-day itinerary to Hampi, Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal

    1. I would suggest some guesthouse/home stay. Better understanding of local culture and commingling of people from different cultures!

      Hotels are few and far from most attractions. E.g. Clark’s Inn is good but about 5-10 km from main Hampi town.

      Like

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