1. When is it the best time to visit?
South Indian tours are best from October to March. However, travel to Hampi is also great between June, July and August because the overcast, cloudy weather and occasional pleasant monsoon showers can also be great fun! Plus you avoid the Sun! Make sure you book your room in Hampi in advance as they can fill up quite quickly.
2. What about ATMs and connectivity?
Connectivity can be a challenge for travel in India. However, there are some network service providers that work better than others: BSNL, IDEA and JIO are really good at Hampi. Local cafes also have wifi that you could log in to. However, the speed will not be that great. Cafes usually limit the data speed to avoid travellers from using up all the data downloading movies or videos. It’s good to check your emails and respond to your messages.
For foreigners travelling in rural India, ATMs are something of a quest. International cards are not accepted and that leaves you heavily dependent on cash transactions. Here's a useful travel tip: Hospet is really the best place for cash on your travel to Hampi. There are several ATMs in Hampi its main bus stop and they’re within walking distance (1 km). Closer to Hampi, the best place to find ATM cash is in the town of Kamlapura, around 7 km from the main Virupaksha Temple. There’s also another ATM in Hampi that is not so well-known: the one in the village of Kaddirampura. During peak season and especially long weekends, the ATMs run out of cash very quickly, so come prepared!
3. What can I do in the area?
Check the ‘Things to do’ section of each accommodation to know more. You could also book a Hampi tour with us on ‘Dharma Experiences’ or customize your own.
B. Trip Cost: Where does my money go?
1. How does my trip benefit the local community?
The majority of the revenue we generate through you goes to our partner families. They are from or in a rural area and are trained either directly by us or our ground partners to provide hospitality services. These services may include homestay accommodations, food, transportation, experience hosting and guide services. The impact is created at two levels: individual and community.
Our aim is a 25% increase in annual income for our low-income partner families. Increasing cases of irregular rains, possibly due to changing climatic conditions are affecting harvests. With some of our families, where farming is a primary source of income, the extra revenue through tourism goes a long way. Another challenge is market linkage. Getting regular sales and fair prices are some of the biggest challenges that rural families face. We hope to enable regular supplementary income through our work.
In collaboration with guests like you, we work with our high-income partner families to promote social development activities in and around the villages where we are present. As much as possible, we take up specific initiatives in the areas of education, waste management and agriculture.
2. Where does the money go?
From the rural families in Hampi who host hospitality services to people like you, the guest who chooses to book with us, is a chain that includes several links.
As much as possible, we provide an Indian food experience with local families. Sometimes, due to dietary restrictions, preferences of our guests or logistics, we also include other options. Prices can be comparable to any restaurant price in India, sometimes, less expensive, sometimes a bit more (depending on the ingredients, logistics etc.).
Unless requested by guests during certain Dharma Experiences, we book all rooms directly with local families. They are safe and clean.
The travel part of travel is a big part of all this. We work with local partners and families to provide transportation as much as possible. However, quite often, either due to guest requests or other logistical reasons, we choose other options.
We want you to visit with locals and learn from them. So wherever possible, we provide opportunities for this. Visit with farmers, shepherds, rural homemakers or artisans. For their hosting, homeowners provide a curated experience.
A large part of our work, apart from training or supporting partners who train local families, is in linking people doing good work to guests like you. Our technology platform takes into consideration rural realities as well as the convenience of travellers in India like you!
Operations and Growth
Our mission is to open up heritage sites across India, making travel in India safe, reliable and one that benefits local communities. Guests like you fuel our dreams.
3. Why do prices vary at times for the same experience?
As a general rule of thumb for travel in India, the larger the group size, the lesser the price. This is because transportation and activities hosting have prices varying on group size. Other reasons are the add-ons and customization we may do for our guests to provide them with their ideal experience.
This is a very big priority for us. Here’s what we do: each state in India has its own homestay registration process. This involves getting approval from the local authorities to ensure that rules are met. Further, in the case of foreigners travelling in India, homestay owners are also required to submit documents to the local police station. Local authorities keep track of activity. This is a huge factor that ensures both guests and families are safe. In some cases, homeowners also have security cameras as an added measure.
Other considerations: for your own well being, please inform of any food allergies you may have well in advance. Also, check with local food providers if they have cooked with any ingredients you may be allergic to.
In case you book South India tours where accommodations are included, then have a look at the 'features' section to check out the types of amenities to expect.
1. Is it a private bathroom?
Yes. Your room booking in Hampi will have private bathrooms in the homes. Upon your request, we will send you information about the homestay in which you will be accommodated.
2. Will I be staying with the family in the same house or is it a separate house?
In some cases, your room booking in Hampi will be in private bedrooms in a home where a family is also staying. In other cases, the homes are entirely reserved just for the guests. Upon your request, we will send you information about the homestay in which you will be accommodated.
3. Are there any house rules?
Yes, there some general and specific house rules to ensure your safety and that of the host. In case of any house rules specific to a homestay, we will mail them to you. Here are the general house rules applicable to all homestays:
- Please refrain from loud shouting and talking after 10:00 p.m. This is because village life begins at 4:30 a.m.; we like to start early so that we can beat the sun to work in the fields.
- Please refrain from wasting water. Rural India faces water shortage. Although all our homestays have more than enough water and we have built in water tanks for your convenience, it is still good to keep in mind that water is precious. Our rivers are drying up. We request you please to switch off the taps before you leave the room or while brushing your teeth. Take showers that are minimal.
- Cultural sensitivity aspects: Generally, men should not touch married women or look at them directly. Nor should any comments be made about the beauty of the women. This will make them feel uncomfortable. In rural India, talking about women and their looks is considered as objectifying them. Care should be taken particularly regarding the interactions between men and women.
- Please do not go into other rooms in the house without being invited into them. This may make your host uncomfortable.
- Please do not touch, hold or pick-up children and personal objects such as bags without asking your host.
- Please throw trash in the dustbins.
Our recommendations and polite requests:
- Always begin with the weather to break the ice. Why? Because people in rural areas are heavily dependant on the weather for their survival. Talking about the rains (or lack thereof) is always a great start.
- Rural people have a great deal of sensitivity and dignity. They care about not offending anyone. And they prefer not to be offended. Raising your voice, screaming at them, throwing rubbish in the house on the expectation that they will pick it up would make them feel very uncomfortable. Our sincere request is for you to not do so. We live by the motto 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you'.
- In rural areas, people refer to each other as 'brother' or 'sister'. We encourage you to talk to them in this manner. It's such a great way to open up conversations.
E. Logistics, Transport and What to Pack
1. How do I get there? And who do I speak to?
We will send you all the details of the pick-up and drop-off points for all activities. Depending on the type of budget Hampi tour you have chosen, transport will either be arranged for you or you may have to arrive there on your own. Either way, we will provide you with details.
2. Can you book local transportation for us?
Yes, this is definitely possible. Convenience charges apply. Please mention your requests for a room booking in Hampi in the booking enquiry form given at the end of each homestay page.
3. Any special things I should pack and wear to travel responsibly?
We recommend the following:
• Water bottle: Please avoid plastic bottles. Carry your own water bottles. It allows you to refill as and when you want
• Mosquito repellent
• Cash: always carry cash, because local ATMs might be empty and rural India still runs largely on cash.
• Medicines: carry any medications you may need, because unlike in urban areas, 24-hour medical shops are tough to come by.
1. What sort of food do you serve?
Local, traditional and home-cooked food: this is what we aim for.
NOTA BENE: Please let us know in advance if there are any allergies, as many people in rural India are not aware of food allergies as a serious concern.
2. What are some of the good places to eat around the area?
Our local co-ordinators will help you out with this and any other queries you may have for your homestay or room booking in Hampi.