A remote location, a surreal sprawling landscape with boulder studded hillocks rising out of startlingly contrasting lush green fields, innumerable water bodies dotting the region … and tucked away amidst them all, this enchanting little hideaway called Hampi’s Feathers Resort, in all its circular splendor. What an incredible set of elements to greet me on my maiden visit to Hampi, one of Karnataka’s (and India’s) premier heritage sites, which lies in the district of Vijayanagara in Karnataka, India..
Set against the rugged backdrop of the Yamini Hills of Hampi, Hampi’s Feathers is truly a secluded and magical getaway, with the advantage of being far from the crowds that throng the touristy space at Hampi but yet easily accessible to it, via 30 km of excellent roads (and only 6 km across the river)!
Join me as we enter its charmingly rustic environs and revel in its serene and soothing ambience.
This trip was organised by BlueEarth Hospitality.
About BlueEarth Hospitality –
This is a Premium Hospitality Management and Marketing Company based in Bangalore, which provides a wide range of services for Luxury and Boutique resorts, with a focus on environmentally friendly operations.
About Vijayanagara district – This is the 31st and newest district of Karnataka. It was officially sliced out of the larger Ballari (Bellary) district on 2nd October 2021. Its administrative capital is Hospete which is 10 km from Hampi.
The district is aptly named after the Vijayanagara empire of Raja Krishna Devaraya, since it encompasses all the important sites of the erstwhile Vijayanagara dynasty, especially Hampi which is a major tourist destination.
Its neighboring districts are Ballari, Koppal, Gadag, Haveri, Davangere and Chitradurga.
About Hampi –
Hampi was a fortified city and the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th century. Situated by the banks of one of the major rivers of South India called the Tungabhadra River, historical records state that this was a thriving and wealthy region. It was filled with several temples and monuments built in Dravidian style, constructed by the many rulers of that kingdom. Unfortunately it eventually fell at the combined hands of the Deccan Sultanate who pillaged and pilfered most of the wealth during the battle of Talikota in 1565 AD.
The modern day Hampi is not just a place but rather an emotion, with its ruins taking us back several centuries, to a time when the Vijayanagara empire was prospering at its zenith and was the richest kingdom of those times.
Today the ‘Hampi group of monuments’ have the distinction of being recognised as one of India’s premier UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The extraordinary landscape is an amalgam of rugged boulder strewn terrain, the remains of innumerable temples and structures and the ceaselessly flowing Tungabhadra river and its offshoot water bodies. These hallmarks of the once flourishing historical town, continue timelessly to entice visitors from the world over, who flock in droves and just cannot seem to get enough of this place despite the harsh weather that rules for a large part of the year.
About Hampi’s Feathers –
Hampi’s Feathers is a luxurious boutique resort that nestles within a picturesque setting surrounded by nature and infused with local charm.
Accessible within a kilometer of the main road, this is one of Hampi’s finest luxury resorts situated across the river Tungabhadra and lies enticingly secluded and ensconced within 7 acres of land.
With a total built up area of around 1 acre, this compact getaway is a breathtaking visual delight which provides a truly natural sanctuary for guests to relax and connect with the environment, away from the hectic life that they are attempting to escape from!
The tapestry of the landscape is a blend of ancient trees and newly planted blooms and the star of the show which is the lake that mingles with it for the most part. This water is home to several species of land and water birds of many a feather, which have bestowed the resort with its name!
The resort retains much of its original existence because the buildings and facilities have been constructed in naturally occurring space, leaving the existing trees and features untouched.
The newly born property welcomed its first guests at the start of this year in January 2023.
The owners of the resort belong to Hampi and have architected and designed the property themselves, in accordance with their passion for conservation of the environment.
Defining it as a Bio-reserve hideaway, the builders have not just retained the ambience of wilderness but also enhanced it with their efforts at safeguarding it, resulting in the flourishing of the flora and fauna in the area. The thousands of butterflies which have made the place their home after the resort was created, are a testimony to the success of the endeavor.
Antique items have been handpicked from various sources and incorporated into the decor and even the artwork on the walls depicting local elements like various birds, leaves and other murals, have been personally painted by them.
Hampi’s Feathers is a part of the trio of resorts comprising of Hampi’s Boulders and Hampi’s Whiskers, which are all in close proximity to each other and belong to the same owners.
Features and Amenities –
The entranceway is accessible within a kilometer of the main road and the gates lead you through a short ride to the reception, with the parking lot located conveniently alongside.
The reception building is of circular design with a conical thatched roof. Rustically comfortable, this is where one is pleasantly greeted with a mini bouquet of home grown flowers and garlanded with even more flowers and blessed with an Arathi from whose fire and smoke, good tidings are blown your way!
A few sips of their welcome drink of cool blue lemonade refreshingly kickstarts a potentially wonderful holiday. After the check-in formalities, the guests escorted to their respective cottages.
The resort boasts of 32 tastefully designed spacious cottages, not too far away from the entrance building.
The restaurant, coffee shop and swimming pool form the other major features of the property.
Apart from the man made constructions, the landscape is graced with natural greenery which includes 2 ancient banyan trees fortified by a tangled mass of their own aerial roots that form interesting patterns. Needless to say, these thickets are highly Instagrammable spots unwittingly created by nature 😃
Besides these, there is the omnipresent lake, an abundance of flowering shrubs, scattered tiny streams gurgling merrily along and of course birds of many a feather, the profusion of which has bestowed the name of Hampi’s Feathers on this distinctive resort!
Of special mention would be the aforementioned butterflies that hover in thousands over certain chosen flowering plants right outside the glass walls of the restaurant. The ethereal beauty of the scene that they create, is an endless source of fascination as they flutter tirelessly in colorful ecstasy all day long. Needless to say, this is also irresistible fodder for Instagram 😉 The dining experience is also greatly enhanced by this performance on one side and the lake and its birds on the other side.
I must also mention the captivating ‘pathway art’ created with leaf patterns from the local plants, embedded in the ground. I could not resist hunting for the matching real leaves and creating my own photographic art by placing them alongside their motifs.
The Stay –
The stay consists of 32 Lake front cottages set in a circular pattern, circumventing a portion of the lake that lies entrapped within. The water body which is encircled in this spectacularly unique fashion by the cottages that circumvent it, creates a stunning aerial visual.
Drone shot credit Neeraj Andrew.
The cottages are aesthetically designed in a blend of the rustic and the luxurious. Mud textured walls, heavy wooden antique windows and simple but endearingly rustic art depicting leaves, peacock feathers and other such natural elements adorn the exteriors.
The interiors are luxurious with large comfortable beds and cozy quilts, plush chairs, luggage rack, dressing area, mini fridge, air conditioner, fan, wardrobe, desk, ensuite bath areas with shower, toilet, washbasin etc.
The décor is simple but elegant with bird and leaf paintings and metal wire art twisted into large leaf patterns.
Every cottage features a front and rear verandah with thatched roofing.
The rooms are all of the same size at a generous 400 sq ft and there are two categories which differ only where the beds are concerned. 26 rooms provide King sized beds and the remaining 6 are furnished with Twin Beds.
Most of the usual amenities are provided like tea/coffee ingredients, electric kettle, hospitality tray, drinking water in glass bottles, mosquito repellants, bed and bath linen, geyser fuelled hot water, bath toiletries in the form of dispensable liquid soaps, shampoos, moisturisers etc. I personally prefer this form of toiletries because it greatly reduces wastage. Shower caps, toilet rolls etc are also provided. I also liked the semi walled design of the bathing area, preventing spillage from the shower. This is a more elegant option to the shower curtain.
Some items are available on request like iron box and ironing board, dental kit, hair dryer etc. Extra beds are available and charged.
There is a circular wrap around terrace atop the rooms, designed with a crenellated pattern along the parapet in the form of recurring rectangular spaces in the top of the wall, reminiscent of battlements of forts. Well, here there are no battles to be fought and one can stroll peacefully on the rooftop which offers an even more appealing perspective of the circular pattern. Some consolation for non drone camera owners 😏
This roof is also of similar mud textured finish as the walls.
The resort is pet friendly and the front and back verandahs are suitable for housing the pets.
The masterpiece of the cottages of course is the central lake which the rear verandah gives access to and one can lounge languidly here for hours, just gazing at the serene water. Of course the dragonflies and birds also provide their share of entertainment.
A short video showcasing the features and activities –
The restaurant and dining –
The Nest restaurant (an apt name considering the local avian population), is the main dining place. The location certainly ensures an enhanced dining experience with its glass walls which allow scenic views of the innumerable butterflies on one side and the lake on the other side which provides non stop entertainment from its many resident birds that go flitting around foraging for food, hunting for prey in the waters below, building nests and even squabbling with each other.
The design of the space includes natural cooling mechanisms in the form of huge cylindrical tastefully designed vents and also the large entranceways which allow cross ventilation to the breeze that blows across the waters of the lake. The glass walls and doors also allow for maximum natural lighting through the day.
A food station lies on one side, where buffets are laid out. There is ample indoor seating and in addition the verandah/lakefront deck provides outdoor seating options.
Multi-cuisine fare is served which includes North and South Indian, Asian and Continental.
Breakfast is a part of package and offers Western and Indian options and is served buffet style or a la carte depending on the number of guests.
An a la carte menu is available at Lunch and Dinner. Jain food or any specific dietary items can be requested for.
Please note that currently room service is not available for both the food and beverages, other than the tea and coffee facility in the room.
Exclusive dining arrangements can be customised to celebrate special occasions, with candle light dinners and private tables at the poolside deck.
The Nest restaurant is also open to the general public (non resident guests) and hosts many local diners and tourists from the surroundings.
Coffee shop –
This cafe is situated by the poolside and one can order snacks and beverages here.
Hampi’s Feathers offers a few interesting activities to please its guests, right from in-house entertainment to outsourced adventure rides.
Some of the activities are included without additional cost and for the rest, there are various tariffs which will be indicated at the time of booking, so please check accordingly.
Activities within the resort –
Cycles are provided for use only within the resort premises and can be used from 7 am to 6 pm.
Nature walk and bird watching –
A guided nature walk begins at 7 am every morning. The starting point is the reception area from where the in-house naturalist will take you on a circular trail of sorts that partially circumvents the property. The path is relatively easy to navigate and the highlight is the sighting of several of the resident bird species. However, the bird population depends on the season and this year due to reduced rainfall, the number of birds had considerably dwindled.
Swimming pool –
The picturesque swimming pool lies against the backdrop of the boulder strewn hillocks in the distance. The brilliant blue waters lie enchantingly in the vicinity of the equally charming coffee shop and the changing rooms.
The 5 ft (adults) and 2.5 ft (children) deep pool is open to the guests from 7 am – 8 pm.
Coracle Ride –
One of the more interesting activities is the coracle ride and this was my personal favorite. The coracle ‘jetty’ is hardly a few meters from the reception area. The coracle accommodates a total of 4 people, including the ‘boat-man’ (driver?).
The rides take place in the waters of the little lake that adjoins the property. One can get good views of the resort front and also of the many birds that populate the area. Do not miss the little island filled with innumerable Baya weavers busy entwining bits of grass while building their nests or even the quaint looking Tri colored munias rustling away at their secret hideouts built among the tall water grasses. If you are lucky(?) you might even spot a (friendly?) crocodile or two 😉
One can request the boat-man to slow down for pictures.
Life jackets are provided and are mandatory. The timings for these rides are from 9 am to 5 pm in slots of 30 minutes. Each slot is charged at Rs. 250/- per person.
Chilling out –
For those who prefer a quiet time, just walking about in the premises or unwinding on the cozy chairs in the verandahs, are ideal ways to spend a quiet and peaceful vacation.
One can get quite engrossed in gazing at the blue water which is encircled by the bright rustic shades of the cottages, watching dragonflies darting from reed to reed and observing the various species of birds that flutter around.
A community bonfire is lit in the evenings in the designated area near the coffee shop. This is done only when the weather is conducive. Sitting by the fire with friends and strangers turned friends and gazing at the sparks scattering upwards towards the vast starry sky, is an enchanting experience indeed.
Activities in the surroundings –
Off-road Jeep ride –
For those seeking adventure, the resort also offers a few opportunities outside of the property like an off-roading Jeep drive to a stunning location called the Platform. This 30 minute ride through rough terrain eventually reaps dividends in the form of a spectacular view of an off shoot of the Tungabhadra river as it slices through a boulder studded gorge. If you are lucky, you will spot crocodiles in the waters far below and if you are luckier, you will even espy otters. I was in the former category as the picture below will indicate 😀
The Jeep Drive can be availed of from 9.oo am to 5.00 pm and a 30 min slot is currently charged at Rs 350/- per person.
The Jeep goes all the way to the view point and there are only a few steps to navigate at the viewing terrace. However, this activity is not suitable for those with mobility issues.
Other sightseeing possibilities –
Apart from what the resort organises, the other sightseeing activities in the surroundings include the Hampi UNESCO heritage site 27 km away, the Pampa Sarovara, 7 km away, Anjanadri Betta 7 km and the Sanapura Lake at 3 km.
One can also hike or trek on one’s own on the several hillocks in the surroundings. Before setting out, do check with the locals whether the paths are safe.
If you are lucky you can spot some interesting creatures since the area is said to be home to leopards and also a sizeable otter population. I had to make do with the winged one in the picture below!
Things to do in Hampi –
Hampi is tourist land, which means it obviously has plenty to interest travellers, especially those who are passionate about heritage. The vast number of monuments, temples and historical sites would need several days to cover in detail.
Apart from the places of historical significance, there are also many places of interest scattered across the region like the Daroji Bear Sanctuary which is home to the Indian sloth bear, several hillocks in the surroundings for trekking and viewing sunrises and sunsets, the Tungabhadra river and dam, the archaeological museum etc.
Due to paucity of time, I could visit only the Vittala temple this time and though I tried to make the most of my 2 hours there, I will certainly need to come back another day to do justice to the entire place. The highlight for me was obtaining my picture at the Stone chariot, which is Hampi’s single most iconic structure which also has been given pride of place on our Rs 50 note!
Visitor Profile –
Guests of all ages are permitted at the resort. There are no restrictions of any kind, on the category of visitors. Be cautious especially with children because the water bodies are easily accessible, there is a lot of glass construction especially in the dining area and the rooftops are currently without safety parapets. Also it is advised not to walk about in the open premises after 10 pm due to possible visits from wildlife.
Wheelchairs are not provided by the resort but it is possible to manoeuvre one’s own wheelchair with some help because all the facilities are at ground level.
This is also a pet friendly property with additional charges for the animals. And of course the guest is expected to supervise the pets at all times to ensure their safety and that of the surroundings and of other people’s on the premises.
The resort is luxurious with a certain rustic charm and is ideal for any type of occasion. It offers a rejuvenating break from the mundane to get away from it all.
The venue can be used for celebrations and personal events, weddings, family gatherings etc.
It is a perfect place for artists, photographers, bird watchers, adventure enthusiasts and also those who want some really quiet time to just hang around in the lap of nature.
This is also an ideal Honeymooners destination and candlelight dinners etc can be arranged.
Best time to visit –
Being a premier heritage site in Karnataka, Hampi is a year round tourist destination, the mostly hot weather notwithstanding.
However, the inflow of visitors does diminish during the harshest months.
The peak season is during the winter months of October to February when the weather is pleasantly cold.
March to May is considered off season since the scorching heat can put off all but the bravest and most dedicated of tourists!
June to September are the monsoon months where the rains bring some respite and the forlorn and dry terrain of the summer, is suddenly invigorated into displaying the greenest and freshest of landscapes.
Pro tip – During off season periods, one might be able to avail of discounted tariffs in Hampi.
Phone and internet connectivity –
Signals from service providers other than Jio, are poor in most patches of the property, including the cottages. My Airtel worked in burst and spurts. Jio users had a quite a stable connection.
However, the resort provides a free Wi-Fi connection in all the common operational areas, which is fast and steadfast for the most part. Currently though, there is no Wi-Fi in the rooms and that is rather inconvenient.
There is also no intercom in the rooms. The staff can be contacted 24 hours via cell phone on the numbers that are provided in each room.
What is available and what you should carry –
There is a generator for power back up, in case of a power failure and the down time is minimal.
Considering the terrain and possible activities, carry a pair of walking shoes, a cap, sunglasses, sunscreen, a backpack, a camera etc.
The location is remote and access to emergency supplies may be difficult. Carry your medication and other important personal items which may not be easily available.
The type of clothing you need, is weather dependent but the region is hot for most of the year, so light clothing is recommended.
Winters and monsoons can get cooler and a light coat should suffice. However, equip yourself according to your tolerance of the cold.
As always, carry your ID card with you.
Additional Information –
Power backup is provided.
There is no travel desk but the Front Office can help with private cab contacts.
CCTV cameras are installed in outdoor areas for security.
Accommodation is not provided for the personal staff/drivers of the guests but there are washroom facilities.
A very spacious open air parking is available without charges.
Getting there –
By air –
The nearest airport is the Jindal Vijaynagar Airport which is a regional airport serving the cities of Vidyanagar, Hosapete. It is also called Vidyanagar airport. It has very limited flights from Bangalore and Hyderabad, This is 60 km away with a drive time of 1 hr 30 min.
The nearest major domestic airport is at Hubli, around 160 km away.
Goa is 300 km away.
Kempegowda International Airport, Bangalore is around 375 km away.
Similarly, Hyderabad is also around 375 km away.
By road –
Driving down by taxi or private car from cities which are within 400km of the resort, is also a convenient way to get to the place.
By bus or train –
Hospete is the nearest major town and the resort is 25 km from the Hospete Bus Station and Hospete Railway station.
The resort may be able to organise airport/station pick up and drop facility if needed.
Booking and contact –
Contact Blue Earth Hospitality for bookings.
Address of the resort –
Hampis Feathers Resort
Please Note –
This trip was in collaboration with Hampi’s Feathers and BlueEarth Hospitality and I thank them for the hospitality. My narration is based on the inputs I received from various sources as well as my personal experiences.
I would really appreciate your feedback and comments in the comment box below.
For more pictures see My Facebook – Hampi’s Feathers (Coming soon)
This itinerary was specially curated hence some of the features might have been personalized accordingly. Before booking, please check the facilities offered in your package.
Sep 26th – Sep 28th, 2023