Amble down an avenue in a trance, and blink as though you were blinded – not by a beaming sun overhead, but the sweet illusion of sparkling diamonds that were once sold on the streets. In Hampi, listen patiently, for every stone here has a story to tell, and every ruin something to reminisce about.
- A three night stay in a three-star hotel
- An authentic travel experience with a wide array of historical monuments, statues and other relics to photograph
- An exhilarating time walking the historical streets of Hampi and photographing its magnificent ruins
- Extensive field assistance and insights into the subjects of photography
- A travel-photography masterclass with a professional photographer
‘Hampi‘ is the anglicized version of the Kannada name ‘Hampe’ for a place that stands on the banks of the river Tungabhadra as a hauntingly striking testimony to the extravagance for which the Vijayanagara dominion, of which Hampi was the capital, was famed between the 14th and 16th Centuries.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hampi will reveal itself as a glorious commemoration of man’s ability to make history that can linger until its significance is revered and preserved.
Here, history, mythology, spirituality, art and architecture come together to make you wonder how a place can bear witness to both glorious and ruinous times, and the facets of men of war and peace, all inhabiting the same Earth, even as the confluence of the rivers Tunga and Bhadra adds an element of natural beauty to the dramatic setting.
This Tour will take you to the throbbing veins of a city in which ancientness lingers at every turn of the road and leaves you amazed with its remnants of splendorous days.
Serving as a base to explore the history that sprawls across acres is a hotel which will ensconce you in modern comforts.
In Hampi, almost everything you see right before your eyes can be captured as poems-in-pixels.
Evocative pictures can be made of the temples, the half-destroyed idols of deathless deities, the sacred pushkaranis, the magnificent mantapas, the hills, and the bird’s-eye view of the city from their zeniths.
As the city stupefies you with myriad colours evoking a multitude of emotions, the explorer and the photographer in you might start quibbling over what to behold in sheer surrender and what to capture into a frame through a camera lens.
But perhaps you will want to begin making memories by politely accepting the immense presence of the Virupaksha Temple through the lens of your camera. The temple houses the patron deity of the then Vijayanagara rulers.
The Hampi Bazaar, or the Virupaksha Bazaar, is the street that is located in front of the Virupaksha Temple, and goes all the way to the Matanga Hill. You will see a series of pavilions that were once a part of the prosperous Vijayanagara market, some of which are two-storied and known to have been the abodes of the nobles as well.
The Vittala Temple complex is where you will find the renowned and the ever-mysterious musical pillars. Also, you will be awed by the grandeur of the stone chariot, currently the symbol of Karnataka Tourism, which can be found in this temple complex.
The holy waters of pushkaranis have been diligently reflecting the eastern side of the famous Krishna Temple. While this remains tranquil and still, you can see the varying reflections of the changing hues of the sky overhead.
When a fierce avatar of the otherwise calmingly depicted deity, Vishnu, is sculpted massively enough to overwhelm you with its sheer size and arty assurance, how can you not make a pictorial memory for yourself? We are talking about the Lakshmi Narasimha statue, one of Hampi’s vandalised wonders.
Arguably the most charming form of a deity is Lord Ganesha, worshipped as Vighnaharta or the remover of obstacles. One of the statues of Ganesha in Hampi, called Kadalekalu Ganesha, has been given a belly that resembles the Bengal gram (kadalekalu in Kannada). And at the southern foothill of the Hemakuta Hill sits the monolithic Ganesha statue that is called Sasivekalu (mustard seed in Kannada) Ganesha.
The Elephant Stable, which was built to house the royal elephants of Krishnadevaraya’s army, will enthral you, and you can also photograph the neighbouring building where the mahouts of the time were known to live.
The Achyutaraya Temple, which houses a form of Vishnu called Tiruvengalanatha, stands as the most sophisticated epitome of the Vijayanagara style of architecture, with one of the market streets in front of it. The temple is usually less crowded due to its location away from the other well-known tourist attractions, offering you a priceless opportunity for photography.
In the secular category of historical structures in Hampi is the Lotus Mahal, also known as Kamal Mahal or Chitragani Mahal, whose geometrical perfection is astounding. The structural style deviates from the rest of the monuments, and although its exact purpose is unknown, the Lotus Mahal is believed to have been a socialising place for women in the royal family.
Hampi is speckled with iconic structures and numerous temples that will take you back in time. And to help you make the most of the photo opportunities, Skipper Rajiv Shyamsundar will walk with you at every step. Join her in rediscovering the riverside ruins of Hampi, and carry back the stories hidden between the stones in the pixels of your photographs.
Please note: The Tour begins in Hampi at lunchtime, and ends in Hampi after breakfast. Transport between Bengaluru and Hampi will be arranged in shared cabs at extra cost.
We will drive from Bengaluru and arrive at the lodge in Hampi for check-in and lunch, after which we get to know one another better and receive a brief orientation from the Skipper about the region we are about to explore and what to expect over the following days.
We will then see and photograph the renowned statues of Lakshmi Narasimha and Badavi Linga, followed by the Krishna Temple, Sasivekalu Ganesha, and Kadalekalu Ganesha.
The next stop is the sunset point at the Hemakuta Hill. After beholding the sunset in all its exquisiteness, we will go back to the hotel and enjoy a ChaayaaChitra session from the Skipper, before having a scrumptious supper and calling it a night.
Making a very early start in the morning, we will explore the hill and the temples present in the vicinity, and get back to the hotel for breakfast. Following this, another enjoyable and educative session, ChitraTantra, will help you incorporate into your photography by having your photos reviewed by the Skipper, before you pamper your taste buds with a delicious lunch.
After a hearty meal, we will set out to visit the magnificent Vittala temple and the gorgeous Kalyani, and then go to the Purandhara Mantapa, just in time for sunset.
In the morning, we will visit the famous Virupaksha temple and explore its surroundings, before returning to the hotel for breakfast and enjoying another interactive session called Charchaaloka.
After lunch, we will watch and photograph Queen’s Bath, Mahanavami Dibba, Pushkarini, Lotus Mahal, Elephant stables, Hazara Rama Temple, and Underground Shiva Temple, after which you will return to the hotel for dinner and a good night’s sleep.
Depending on the weather conditions, we will witness yet another splendid sunrise from atop the Matanga Hill or the Anjanadri Hill. Having had a nice time in the hills, we will go back to the hotel for breakfast and leave for Bengaluru.
- Per Person on Twin Share Accommodation
- Per Couple on Twin Share Accommodation
- Per Person on Twin Share Accommodation
- Twin-sharing accommodation in comfortable hotels
- All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
- Permits and photography fees
What’s not included?
- All airfare
- Transfer expenses between your home and Varanasi
- Any kind of personal expenses or optional tours, extra meals and beverages ordered
- Insurance, laundry and phone calls
- Bottled water and soft drinks
- Alcoholic drinks
- All applicable taxes
- Anything that is not included in the Inclusions list
- At least 50% of the Tour fee at registration for provisional reservation
- Remainder of the Tour fee 98 or more days before the Tour for confirmation
- 50% of the Tour fee 96 or more days before the Tour
- 75% of the Tour fee between 95 and 82 days before the Tour
- 100% of the Tour fee on or after 81 days before the Tour
Please note: The date of written (email) communication of intent to cancel is the date considered for calculation of the cancellation fees.
While Toehold Photo Travel is one of our most popular offering, we work as a travel agency without brining the photography guide element in to your travel. In short you would be using our travel experts service to just plan the vacation and execute it.
- Unlike a Photo Travel experience, your vacation is completely personalised
- The dates, style of travel, class of hotels and lodges, destinations everything is tailor-made to suit your custom requirement.
- A skipper or a photography guide doesn’t travel with you to guide you unless you decide to take our customised and guided photo travel experience.
So take advantage of the immense experience and field knowledge that we bring in to your vacation’s planning without having to pay for our time and costs. Plus we don’t charge an additional fee for our time and travel planning services.
Who should participate in this Tour? Are there any eligibility criteria?
Anybody interested in travel, heritage and archaeological photography, and is above the age of 18 (unless accompanied by an adult) can participate in this Tour. There are no eligibility criteria.
I am not into photography at all. Do you suggest I participate?
Most certainly! Although the Tour has been optimized for photography, non-photographers are equally welcome as the Tour offers a wealth of opportunities to understand and appreciate the bygone times and the celebrated history of the Vijayanagara kingdom, of which Hampi was the capital.
I am a newbie in nature photography. Am I eligible?
Absolutely! This Tour is meant for fledgling as well as experienced photographers. Beginners get all the advantages of learning on and off the field from Toehold’s eminent Skippers. In fact if you are a newbie, you should jump on this terrific learning opportunity and sign up right away! However, in order to make the most of the Tour photographically, we recommend that you be familiar with photography fundamentals. If you’re not, we suggest you join a Art and Science of Photography Workshop before the Tour.
By what mode will we get around on this Tour?
While we will use motorized transport to get to the premises from the hotel and back, most or all of the photography will be done on foot. For this reason, at least a minimum fitness level is required.
What equipment do you suggest on this Tour?
Considering the nature of the subjects and shooting conditions expected on this Tour, lenses in the range of 10 mm to 200 mm are suitable. We also recommend the ultra-wide angle and wide angle lenses to maximise photo opportunities. Circular polarising and graduated neutral density filters are highly recommended. Tripods are not allowed inside temple premises, so we suggest that you don’t carry them to where the ruins are.
How different are your Photo Tours from ordinary tours?
Unlike travel agents who plan your holiday from a remote destination to places they sometimes haven’t experienced themselves, Photo Tours offer a comprehensive toehold to experience a place through the guidance of a professional photographer. The common ingredients in all our Photo Tours are fun and a lot of learning and knowledge-sharing. Besides, most or all of our Tour participants are photography enthusiasts, which keeps the group in harmony and helps make your experience focussed.
What do I do if I do not have the requisite equipment?
If you do not have appropriate equipment, there is no need to fret. Toehold offers an exhaustive array of cameras and lenses for hire, so you can always hire what you need. Visit our Rental Store to see what we offer. What’s better, you enjoy a 10% discount on all equipment hired for our Photo Tours!
It was awesome experience, i really enjoyed all company and the place. It was well planned and executed. One of the best experiences of my life!
On behalf of the group, let me thank you and the Toehold team for organizing the trip so well. Am sure all of us enjoyed each and every moment of the trip.
Fantastic experience and a great photography learning on this tour.