Hampi can be hot, dry and dusty throughout the year. For this family day trip, pack sunscreen, scarves, hats and plenty of liquids. Wear light, full-sleeved, full-legged cotton clothing and comfortable shoes.
Good to know
It is easy to get lost in the crowds, so keep your kids close. The crowds can get overwhelming if you aren't used to India. Everyone we met was friendly, but had different definitions of personal space. Keep your eyes, ears and mind open and you'll have a good time.
Recommended time of the year
November through February are the coolest months (by coolest, I mean the least hot!) to visit Hampi. Try to avoid the last week of December and the first week of January. These weeks can be especially crowded, given that schools are out for Christmas and New Year.
Book a local tour guide and a taxi (or cab with a driver) for your family trip to Hampi in advance. Negotiate for a good price. If you wait until the last minute, you will be at the mercy of aggressive salesmen.
About This Day
This half-day itinerary offers exciting elephant encounters (and blessings!) as well as an excellent insight into Indian history for kids. Sri Virupaksha Temple has been alive and full of energy since the 7th century AD. It is one of the “Group of Monuments at Hampi”, which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Besides being a famous, centuries-old Hindu temple, a trip to the Virupaksha Temple also enlightens visitors on ancient Indian architecture & design. Lastly, continue your educational day at the incredible Elephant Stables. Just a short distance away from the temple you will encounter and learn about elephants. This is the site that housed the royal elephants of the Vijayanagar Empire. Both of these structures have been relatively unharmed through the centuries and provide plenty of learning and photo opps for everyone in the family.
Sri Virupaksha Temple was built in the 7th century and much of the structure has sustained the passing of time. Our little nugget was very busy here - there were gentle cows to be petted, cheeky monkeys to watch out for and a huge elephant to seek blessings from! There was a line to meet Lakshmi, the temple elephant. She will bless you (i.e. gently tap you on the head) with her trunk in exchange for money and fruits. Afterwards, stroll around the temple grounds and visit the shrines. Our little nugget also loved the saffron rock candy that is given as 'prasad' (offerings to the gods that are re-distributed).
DIRECTIONS Hire a cab with a driver for the day. The driver can drop you off relatively close to the entrance of the temple.
TIP You will have to walk barefoot (or with socks) on the temple grounds. There is a stall at the entrance that will hold your shoes for a few rupees. Carry an extra pair of socks and some wipes to use at the end of your visit. It is generally crowded, so keep your children close.
Unnamed Road, Hampi
The Elephant Stables are within the Zenana Enclosure, which also contains the Lotus Mahal (Lotus Palace). Our nugget loved the stables - having just seen the temple elephant helped her relate to the stables as 'elephant houses'. The large grounds surrounding the stables thin out the crowds, therefore your little ones will have all the space they need to run around. The Indo-Islamic architecture is jaw dropping, as with most other places in Hampi. Coconut water is sold on the grounds and makes for a healthy, refreshing drink in the hot sun.
DIRECTIONS This is a short walk away from Sri Virupaksha Temple.
TIP If you want to drink coconut water, carry your own straws. Keep your children close in the crowds. Wear full-sleeved, full-legged clothing and carry hats, scarves and sunglasses to shield from the sun, heat and dust. Carry plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration.