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Hippie Hampi

Sri Virupaksha Temple



Across the river Tungabhadra it’s a different world altogether.  Tourists from all over the world visit the place to get into the hippie vibe and relax in the ruins of Hampi.

Although Hampi is a city of temples and has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO one can hardly see any devotees on the other side of the river.

 The city is divided into two parts. The part of the city, south of the river has around 13 temples and visited mostly by Indian tourists and devotees whereas the area north of the river has only 3 temples and is visited by international tourists mostly to relax, smoke and jam to Indian music next to a bonfire at night.

Hampi was one the richest and largest cities in the world during the early ages. It is located in the ruins of Vijayanagara, the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. The empire boasted a massive army comprising of around 2 million men. During 1440-1540 when Vijayangara was the second largest city in the world after Beijing accommodating 5 lakh people.


As it is a religious city with temples all around the place, lakhs of devotees visit Hampi every month. So like most other religious places, the government decided to put a ban on alcohol and non-vegetarian food. But non-veg foodies don’t have to worry at all, just order a ‘Polo’ dish and voila you are served with a chicken delicacy.

The term polo has been used as a code-word for chicken in menus in cafes in the city. If you happen to order the right thing on the menu you can even get yourself a Hashish Smoothie.

 On MakarSakaranti people could be seen bathing in the Tungabhadra River and immersing some idols into the river. Some locals were even bathing their elephant in the river, which attracted a lot of attention. The river has shrunk over the years and one can even walk through it to go across. It has been highly polluted. But beware of the allergies that could follow and you might even fight something gross floating around.


Hippies painting their van like the good old days

It is a Hippies’ paradise. One can take a boat, which costs Rs 20 to go across the river to the “Hippie Island”. Its not really an island but there is no bridge to come back to Hampi via road for the next 40 kms, so it has been termed as an island by the people.

The so-called island has almost 60 mulit-cuisine cafes, restaurants and guesthouses. Marijuana is readily available in this area and none of the cafes have any objection with people smoking it in their premises.

 You can rent a motorcycle, scooter or even a bicycle to roam around the ruins of Hampi, but most prefer to trek up the Rocky Mountains to witness the picturesque sunsets with background music of drums and trumpets. But all the establishments are illegal as it as a forest reserve area and could be demolished any day. The most famous one “The Top Secret River View” restaurant has been knocked down already.

Travellers, Backpacker and Hippies from all around the world visit this historic place of Karnataka to relax in the forests without any restriction and interference from the police.

The forest reserve comes under Hampi’s jurisdiction but as there is very poor road connectivity no police is deployed there. The place has hardly seen any violence by the raving hippies during the years. But the High Court has been regularly issuing evictions orders to business owners on the island.

The government believes that these establishments are ruining the historic place and polluting the forest. “The main source of income of the local population is from tourism, the government should put measures to control pollution of the river and not just demolish all the café” said a local business owner Venkatesh. Let’s hope this little paradise island stays the way it is.















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