Reconnect and relax with your partner. Picnics, treks and quiet getaways are ideal for couples. We'll recommend all the best places based on your interests!
Hampi as a World Heritage Site was recently listed as the No. 2 destination to visit on the New York Times list. Modern Hampi is today the ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire, one of the wealthiest empires of southern India and one that was instrumental in the Portguese trade with the sub-continent. For those keen on Indian lore, it is known as the birthplace of Hanuman. Hampi's ruins and topography make it one of the most unique places in the world. It offers something for everyone: the historian, the adventurer, the nature enthusiast and for those keen on just having a relaxing holiday.
When you're traveling as a couple, you may want something light that reconnects you with your partner
A. General Information
When 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!
How can I book?
We have both Customized Hampi Tours and Standard Hampi Tours. Check out the 'itinerary' section to know more about them. To book a Hampi tour, send us the enquiry form given below and we'll get in touch with you right away. Don't forget to fill in the following details:
- What you'd like to try (check out our 'Itinerary' section to know what Hampi tours we offer).
- The number and age of people.
- Whether your vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
- Any health concerns you may have.
- Your budget.
You'll find more details here:
- 'Itinerary' section: as already mentioned gives you our 'Customized Hampi Tours' and 'Standard Hampi Tours',
- 'Features' section: provides details of food, accommodations and activities we plan for our tours so you know what to expect,
- 'Things to do': things to do for free in Hampi, some fun tid-bits to know more about.
B. Where does my money go?
A majority of it goes directly to the local families, the guides and the people empowered to host experiences. All our activities and Hampi tours are guided by locals who have experience in this or were trained by us. The rest of it goes towards our own overheads. Our vision is to open up rural India to the rest of the world, so some of it also goes towards the expansion of our own work.
C. Social Development Activity
We try our best to initiate social development activities in the villages where we are present. These are usually curatedand carried out directly by us or in collaboration with NGOs or local community members. They have been assessed as important and necessary for the community. In case there are specific social projectswhere we need your assistance, we will get in touch with you.
- Monuments fees: this is not included in our Hampi tours. Indians usually have to pay around INR 35 and foreigners around INR 650.
- In case you have not booked your accommodations in Hampi or food or transportation with us, these will be extra charges.
- Private bathrooms and bedrooms for you and your group. They will not be used by the host family or vice versa,
- Fresh bedsheets and towels will be provided,
- Safety: we ensure safety as a high priority; local homestays are often under the radar of the police, who keep track of activities and
- Cleanliness and hygiene: Dharma has certain standards of hygiene. Together with our partners on the ground, we ensure a certain standard of cleanliness. Please get in touch with us immediately, if you feel that your room needs to be cleaned.
- In case you have not booked your transport with us, check to find out where the start point of the activity is, as this may be in a different village from your accommodations in Hampi
- Our food is local, traditional and sourced with local ingredients,
- Menu: south Indian menus include chapathi, rice, dal, sabzi made with local vegetables and prepared in the traditional way. Non-veg is also possible, but we would request you to let us know in advance of what options you would prefer. Regarding the type of meat in non-veg menu, please note that this will depend largely on the type of meat that is locally available at the time.
- Our transportation providers are local, they know the area, and we have worked with them in the past. You can rely on them to keep you safe.
- We charge a convenience fee. The reason for this: we put a lot of thought into planning the various routes, co-oridnating between places and making changes to your requests. This takes time and that means we need some compensation.
A. Extra Costs to Keep in Mind
B. Accommodations in Hampi Tours
In case you book a tour that includes accommodations in Hampi, you will be housed in the homestays of local families. Here's what to expect:
C. Activities Hosts for Hampi Tours
These are all local community members trained by us and our partners. They hope to share their realities with you and give you a glimpse of rural life. Things to keep in mind:
D. Food in Hampi Tours
In cases where your Hampi tour includes food, please expect the following:
If you want us to book the transport for you Hampi tour, then please note the following:
Here's a list of things to do in Hampi, apart from what you book with us:
- The must-see monuments: Vittala Temple, Virupaksha Temple, Uggara Narasimha, Elephant Stables, Lotus Mahal, Mahanavami Dibba and Stepped Tank,
- Sunsets: Early morning sunrise on Matanga Hill,
- Museum: The relics of the Vijayanagara Empire, whose monuments today make up Hampi, are to be found in the Kamalapura Museum in Hampi.
- Shopping: There is a unique type of embroidery that is made by the Lambani women of Hampi. The Lambani community are historically a tribal people who used to wander the Indian subcontinent. A section of them today are settled in and around Hampi and continue their cultural heritage through the embroidery they make. Hampi's streets are lined with stalls selling the mirror-work embroidery that is their hallmark design aesthetic. Buying from them directly benefits their families and
- Take part in our social development activity: In case there are any activities taking place in which we need help and assistance, we will post it on our website or inform you. Do join us!
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.
A. Customized Hampi Tours for Friends
Fill in the enquiry form given below and we'll get in touch with you right away!
- Bird Watching
Get a tour of rare bird species with our knowledgeable nature guides.
- Camping by the riverside
Spend a night under the stars, with certified guides trained in First Aid. Food, camping equipment and tour to unknown places of Hampi included.
- Rappelling/Bouldering/Rock Climbing
Take a shot at climbing the world-famous boulders of Hampi. All equipment provided. Our certified guides will show you how. Climbers from around the world visit Hampi for its boulders, but even beginners can take a crack at it!
- Spend an afternoon with a farmer
Farmers are the backbone of India. In fact, 70% of the country lives in rural India, with agriculture and its allied activities as their primary source of income. Learn about how they grow the food you eat, what challenges they face and what climate change has to do with it.
- Walk with a shepherd
Take a walk with a shepherd into some little-frequented places of Hampi.
- Of Wovles, Men, Bears and Leopards: Hampi's nature*
Wolves are part of the natural habitat of the Deccan Plateau region where Hampi is located. We also have leopards, bears and wild cats. In fact, one member of the Dharma team has even seen a leopard hunt in the middle of the night. Visit with locals and explore what they are doing for the conservation of this region's habitat.
*Please note that we do not guarantee you will see the animals. This is because they are wild and wander at their will. However we will take you to places where you are most likely to meet them.
Prices starting at INR 550/- per person, we may give it free for extra persons
B. Standard Hampi Tours for Families
- 1D 'No Frills' Tour
Play the 'Amazing Hampi Race' with your family. Solve puzzles and clues.
Inclusions: history of Hampi's monuments with a certified guide.
Exclusions: transportation in Hampi, food
Prices starting at INR 550/- per person for a family of 4, free for any extra family members.
- 1N/2D Tour
Inclusions: accommodations (2 rooms for 1 night), 1 day tour of the 'Amazing Hampi Race' with guide, 1 bird-watching tour with guide.
Exclusions: food in Hampi and transportation
Prices starting at INR 3216/- per family member for a family of 4.
C. Other Activities to Try
Have a 30-minute pottery session with an artisan who has pottery-making in his blood. Generations of his family have kept this handicraft alive. Please note that there may be a language barrier, as Kannada is this family's mother tongue.
- Bicycle mini-trail
Hampi’s sprawling landscape makes it perfect for bicycle rides. We'll map out the routes and send you on your way to explore it with a guide.
- Traditional meal
Want to know how to eat home-cooked traditional food that you won't find in the restaurants? Visit with a family and try it out!
- Painting lessons
The kings of the Vijayanagara Empire were great patrons of the art. Paint with a local artist.
- Play the 'Amazing Hampi Race'
Solve clues, finish tasks and explore Hampi's history and locality through a game designed for friends by us. An expert guide, trained by us, will conduct the game.
Prices starting at INR 300/- per person for a group of 4, extra persons may be free.