Hampi

Hampi, Karnataka – The capital of the erstwhile Vijaynagar dynasty, declared as a world heritage spot by UNESCO

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The capital of the erstwhile Vijaynagar dynasty Hampi at present is enlisted as a world heritage spot by the UNESCO. The place is located at the Bellari district of Karnataka on the bank of the Tungabhadra river. Hampi was constructed by Harihar and Bukka in the year 1335. But it was Raja Krishnadeva Ray who decorated Hampi by constructing its rich architectural splendors. The ruins of this imperial capital are spread out over an area of 26km². Hampi is well worth the visit. The area is simply stunning and you will be in awe of the millions of boulders surrounding the area. Within this arid landscape lies a little oasis with lush palm, banana, and mango trees nestled near the river. Hampi is a great place to spend a few days wandering around and discovering the rich, vibrant history while also having a bit of ‘your’ time.

Places to see at Hampi: Tourist attractions in Hampi lie in its boulder-laden landscape and rocky outcrop designed upon a lush green surrounding. The ruins reminds of a mighty empire, which dominated large part of south India after the Mughals.

Virupaksha Temple

Amidst the ruins of the ancient city Vijaynagar the Virupaksha temple stands tall with all its earlier structures still intact. The temple personifies Lord Shiva and is still used for worship. The inside of the temple consists of a sanctum with a madapam in front, three ante chambers, a pillared hall and an open pillared hall. Among the three towers the eastern tower is the tallest standing at a height of 160 feet and is 11 tiered. Virupaksha portrays Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu in their various avatars. The chariot festival is celebrated in the premises of this temple during the month of February.

King’s Balance

This 5-meter or so tall ‘balance’ is located near the Vittala temple. Also called as Tula Bhara or Tula Purushadana, the king used to weigh himself with gold, gems, silver and precious stones, and distributed to the priests. It’s believed that this had been done during the special ceremony seasons like solar or lunar eclipses. You can spot three loops on top of the balance, into which the balance actually hung. Also in one of the pillars you can spot the king’s image carved along with his concerts. This structure almost appears like as archway at the end of the Kampa Bhupa’s Path just behind Vittala temple. The path in fact passes through this arch like structure.

Krishna Temple

This temple was built by the king (Krishnadevaraya) in 1513 AD to celebrate the conquest of the eastern kingdom of Udayagiri or Utkala (in the present day Orissa state). The main idol installed in the temple was the figure of Balakrishna (Lord Krishna as infant). This idol is now displayed in the state museum at Chennai. A huge slab installed inside the courtyard of the temple states the story of this temple and the conquest of Ulkala.

Veerabhadra Temple

Being located at the highest point in Hampi, the VeerabhadraTemple at the Matanga hilltop commands some special significance. The temple is in a ruined condition. Still this temple dedicated to the cult deity Veerabhadra is equally thronged by the pilgrims and the tourists.

Queen’s Bath

This is the first ruined structure you would see when you enter into the Royal center from the Kamalapura-Hampi main road. For some mysterious reasons this was called as the queen’s bath. But in all probability this was a royal pleasure complex for the king and his wives.

Mahanavami dibba

This is the tallest structure in this area and hence the first thing you would notice as you enter the RoyalEnclosure. From a distance this looks like an ordinary elevated square stage. As you go close, the details emerge. The whole structure is made as a giant square structure in three layers.

There are mainly two stairways to reach the top. The front one (east facing) is highly decorated on either sides with carvings of elephants, horses and a host of other things. On the top there is nothing special to see except the great views on the campus around it. At the back of the platform a twin staircase is located. Probably this was used as a service staircase during the ceremonies. King Krishnadevaraya constructed this in commemoration on the victory over Udaygiri (now in Orissa). The king used this platform to watch the army march-pasts, war games, aquatic sports, shows of the royal animals, musical performances and also the most important Navarathri celebrations, the nine day-nine night state festival. And this was the annual occasion the governors of various provinces under the king visited the capital to pledge their loyalty to the king’s dominion. For the king it was an event to demonstrate the imperial pomp and power at his disposal.

Hampi Bazaar

Located near the Virupaksha Temple, the Hampi Bazaar is also known as Virupaksha Bazaar. On either sides of this one kilometer long street near the temple, are pavilions which were once a part of the markets of the nobles. Most of these pavilions, particularly towards the west of VirupakshaTemple have shops and restaurants.

Matanga Hill

Matanga hill is a well known tourist destination in Hampi. Its main attraction is the breathtaking view of the Hampi landscape during sunset or sunrise. When on top, you can appreciate the sheer wisdom of the Vijaynagara rulers for selecting Hampi as their capital. The trekking enthusiasts can enjoy trekking along the path that begins from Hampi bazaar to the Achyutaraya temple. The picturesque sight from the top comprises the TungabhadraRiver, the Kodanda Rama temple, the Veerbhadra temple and the Turthu canal. Matanga hill is historically connected to the epic Ramayana as it was the hiding place for Sugriva, the ruler of Kishkinda.

Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary

Covering a sprawling area of nearly 55.87 sq km Daroji Bear Sanctuary is located in the Bellary district of Karnataka, 15 km from Hampi. In October 1994, the Bilakallu forest reserve – a vast stretch of barren land was declared as Daroji Bear Sanctuary by the Karnataka government. Within a span of few years this area was converted into a lush green forest with enough vegetation for wildlife. With an estimate of nearly 120 sloth bears, 90 different species of birds and 27 species of butterflies, Daroji bear sanctuary is a must visit for all tourists. The best months to visit the sanctuary are between August and April.

Vithala Temple Complex

A unique architectural masterpiece, Vithala temple in Hampi is situated opposite to the village of Anegondi. The temple is named after Vithala, an avatar of Vishnu worshipped by the Marathas. Vithala temple is built in the form of a complex with compound wall and gateway towers. The one thing that immediately catches attention is the stone chariot which has assumed iconic heights over the years for Karnataka tourism. The pillared halls are intrinsically carved with sculptures that speak volumes about the glorious past of Hampi. Another feature that is worth mentioning here is the musical pillars that emanates the seven notes when tapped.

Hazara Rama Temple

The Hazara Rama temple complex in Hampi is located in the middle of the Royal Centre and was once used as a place of worship by the royal family members. Inscriptions inside the temple indicate that it was built by Devaraya I in early fifteenth century. This temple is renowned for its elaborate frescos extensively portraying scenes from Hindu mythology. There are about one thousand fantastically carved bas relief and inscriptions that illustrate the mighty epic Ramayana and the Mahanavami festival. Depiction of processions of elephants, horses with attendants, dancing girls and armoured soldiers testify the expertise of the Vijayanagara artists.

Lakshmi Narasimha Temple

The Lakshmi Narasimha temple in Hampi attracts tourists specifically due to its monolithic structure and the sheer enormity of its size. It is the single largest statue in Hampi with a height of 6.7 meters. Narasimha, the fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu is depicted as sitting on the giant coil of the celestial snake Adisesha. The seven heads of the giant snake shielding Narasimha, arched by a Kirtimukha Torana in the front, is an architectural masterpiece in itself. However, several features of the monolithic structure are missing and the most prominent among these damaged and missing structures is the seated figurine of Narasimha’s consort Lakshmi on his left lap. By entering inside the enclosure, one can see the land of Lakshmi on Narasimha’s back with her fingers, nails and rings, all beautifully sculptured.

Elephant Stables

A large dome shaped building was used as Elepahant Stables to house the ceremonial elephants of the royal household. The architectural style of the building has a strong Indo-Islamic influence that gets reflected in its domes and arched gateways. The building consists of eleven chambers amongst which ten of these are crowned with domes. These chambers were used as elephant stables. The metal hooks that were probably used to chain the elephants are still visible in the ceiling of some of the rooms. Special manholes were constructed for the mahouts to facilitate their easy entrance to the elephant compartments.

Nearby attractions from Hampi: If you want to explore further afield, organize an exciting trip to

Tungabhadra Dam

Located at a distance of 7 km, the Tungabhadra Dam harnesses the waters of the TungabhadraRiver. At the base of the dam is a garden styled along Japanese lines.

Ramanadurga

It is a Hill-Station amidst a group of granite hills. There is a temple dedicated to Ramadeva.

Things to do at Hampi: Savour the beautiful architectural creations of the Vijaynagar temple.

Best time to visit Hampi: Hampi’s climate is generally warm and dry. The best time to visit the place is between September and February.

How to go ?

By Air

The nearest international airport is around 350 km away. The domestic airport nearby Hampi is Bellary at a distance of 60 km that allows tourists to reach the place comfortably.

By Train

The nearest railhead from Hampi is Hospet that is at a distance of 13 km. From there tourists can hire taxi or cab to reach the place comfortably. Hospet is well connected to major cities and towns and some of them are Bangalore, Hyderabad, Goa etc.

By Road

Hampi is well connected by bus services from all nearby major cities and towns. There are many private buses, tourist buses, luxury buses and state buses that run from place to place so tourists can easily reach the place without any difficulty.

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Where to stay ?

There are as such no accommodation facilities at Hampi. You can stay at Hospet having plenty of accommodation facilities, located at a distance of 13km from Hampi. Some options are:

Hotel Mayura Vijayanagar: +91-08394-259270
Hotel Priyadarshini: +91- 08394-228838, 39
Hotel Vishwa: +91- 08394-227171
Kiran Guest House: +91- -08394-204159, 09448143906

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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