Hampi is one of the most popular tourist destinations today in South India, attracting a steady stream of tourists. Interestingly Hampi is also known as Pampa-kshetra, which is derived from the name Pampa, the original name of the life giving Tungabhadra River. The culturally rich Hampi is a famous tourist attraction not only in India but the world over. The historic locales are brimming with charm and beauty thanks to its heritage sites that range from temples, to the queen’s bath, to its elephant stables and much more that are on offer. The intricate architecture and extravagance in these historic marvels are testimony to the glorious days of the famed Vijayanagar Empire and their influence during the 13th to the 16th Century.
We recently had the opportunity to explore Hampi along with a stay at the Royal Kamalapura Palace owned by Evolve Back Luxury Resorts (Earlier known as Orange County). We took a Tru Jet direct flight lasting 1 hr 20 min to Hampi from Hyderabad to the conveniently located Vidyanagar airport. The resort also takes care of flights and airport transfers to and fro from Hyderabad at a nominal cost. We then drove to the palace, which is located a mere 30 minutes away from the airport. Walking into the main gate we were left mesmerized and awestruck by the majestic views presented by the elevation of the palace. As we reached the lobby we were greeted by courteous palace staff, who welcomed us with traditional and warm hospitality, offering us freshly harvested coconut juice and delicious dates that helped replenish and boost our energy levels. We then checked into our room, which ushered us with the subtle fragrance of the Indian lotus, wafting through the air and calming our senses. To add to our delight, our room had a personal Jacuzzi and a fantastic view of the scenic landscape outside.
The architecture of the palace is inspired by the famed temples of Hampi that incorporates its vivid arches, and complemented by water bodies resplendent with flowing water meandering like rivers in pastel shades. The palace hosts a complimentary history session for its guests each evening in the Deep Mahal at 7.30 pm, lasting an hour and hosted by a historian. These informative sessions take you on a journey back to the era of ancient Kings and Queens, dotted by facts and interesting vignettes of the regions glorious past.
The Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace promotes a plastic-free environment and only uses plastic-free glasses and paper bags, which we were happy to note. The palace offers its guests with various trail sightseeing packages which are typically spread between the mornings or the evenings. Each tour lasts approximately two hours and the charges are Rs 1200/- per head. These tours are flexible and you can plan your Itinerary with them in advance to suit your convenience.
We made use of the opportunity to explore two of their magical trails at length. We were taken on the trails in an open modified Mahindra Scorpio accompanied by a historian and the driver. As we drove around, the historian guided us through the essence of each location and the reasons for its popularity. We started with the Vitthalapura walk, where we visited a Temple thronged by thousands each day since ancient times for worship and celebration. The temple is well known for its musical stone pillars and a chariot carved into its stone structure. We also enjoyed the experience of shopping in a huge bazaar adjoining the main temple. The second trail, also known as the Raya trail takes you back by over five hundred years and gives you a privileged peek into the life and times of the famed Maharajas of Vijayanagara. Apart from this the other trails that one could explore include the Virupaksha and the Tungabadra treks.
The main Palace presents an infinity pool and a family pool and also has a reading lounge where one can sip a cup of coffee in its lazy environs and relax while reading a book. No trip is complete without sampling its traditional cuisine. We enjoyed signature dishes at the two restaurants in the palace: The Bahmani (Mughlai Cuisine) and Tuluva (Multi-cuisine) which served gastronomical delights on every occasion. The property presents four room categories at the Evolve Kamalapura Palace – Nivasa: Rs. 24,000, Nilaya: Rs. 27,000, Zenana: Rs. 30,300 and the Jal Mahal: Rs. 35700. The prices are for two person occupancy and the prices can vary depending on the season. All prices are inclusive of taxes along with breakfast and dinner included.
On the day of our checkout from the Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace, we opted for an Ayurvedic herbal body massage. The Vaidyasala performs these massages with Ayurvedic oil which is made from the extracts of 21 different herbs. The experience left us totally rejuvenated and relaxed. So, if you’re looking for a soothing break and some fun things to do, Hampi is the place to be.
Address: Kamalapura – P.K. Halli Road, Kamalapura, Bellary District, Hospet, Karnataka – 583221. Ph: 08394294700
-Direct flight from Hyderabad to Vidyanagar airport which is 1hr 20mins.
-Airport transfers available only 30 mins away from Vidyanagar airport to Hampi.
– Nice historical sights to explore.
A Good weekend getaway