Hampi, a temple town in northern Karnataka, was once the capital of the historical Vijayanagara Dynasty. This quaint place, lying amidst striking ruins of the past, has been receiving tourists from far off for ages. The magnificence of the ruins of temples and other structures of Vijayanagar, dating back to 1500 AD, is the main attraction of this place. According to some accounts, Hampi used to be the second largest city of the world.
There are innumerable boulders around Hampi that are easy to climb. One can get a stunning view of the ruins spread around Hampi by mounting one of the boulders. Located on the bank of the Tungabhadra River, Hampi has quite a number of tourist attractions like Virupaksha Temple, Vithala Temple and Nandi Statue. It is best to visit Hampi during the three day long Hampi festival held around October-November every year. Read more about Hampi
- 1 Main Attractions of Hampi
- 2 How to reach Hampi
- 3 Hampi Location
- 4 Quick Facts about Hampi
Main Attractions of Hampi
The Achyuta Raya Temple is in Hampi, which was built in 1534 AD. It is one of the major temples of Hampi located between the Matanga hills and Gandhamadana. This temple depicts Vijayanagara architecture style of temples in its best and most improved form. This was among the last temples that were constructed in the celebrated city of Hampi prior to the decline of the Vijayanagara Empire.
The temple is much less crowded because of its location(hidden by nature between the Matanga hills and Gandhamadana).
The main idol worshiped in the Achyuta Raya Temple is Lord Tiruvengalanatha which is another form of Vishnu.
The Anjaneya Temple is located on a hill on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. The inner sanctum contains an image of Lord Hanuman enclosed within a hexagonal amulet. Hanuman has been pictured in a meditative state. This is a marked deviation from other depictions of Lord Hanuman.
In Hampi, most depictions of Lord Hanuman show him standing with one hand raised and the other on his hip. It is only in this temple that Hanuman appears in a prayer position. In this image, Lord Hanuman’s crown has been formed by his tail.
Badavilinga Temple is a wonderful temple in Hampi dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Hindu deity Shiva is worshipped in the form of a Linga in this temple. The Badavilinga temple is located near the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple. Tourists as well as devotees flock to the temple throughout the year.
The Badavilinga Temple in Hampi has the largest monolithic Shiva Linga in Hampi. The Shiva Linga has a three eye mark drawn on it in line carving. The three eye mark depicts the three eyes of Lord Shiva.
Hazara Rama Temple
Hazara Rama Temple in Hampi is an important shrine in Hampi. This small but beautiful temple is located at the center of the royal area. The temple is dedicated to Lord Rama. It was once the private temple of the kings and the royal family of Vijayanagara. The temple is famous for the lovely relics and panels depicting the story of the epic Ramayana.
Hazara Rama Temple was built in the early part of the 15th century by Devaraya II. It was originally built as a simple structure. It consisted of only a sanctum, a pillared hall and an ardha mantapa. Later the temple structure was renovated to add an open porch and beautiful pillars.
The Krishna Temple in Hampi, Karnataka is a unique architecture. This temple is dedicated to Lord Balakrishna( infant Lord Krishna).
The Krishna Temple ( World Heritage Monuments by the UNESCO) was built by the ruler Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara period in the year 1513 A.D. He erected this temple in honour of winning the battle and subsequent annexure of Utkala or the eastern reign of Udayagiri(currently known as Orissa).
The Krishna Temple is known for its exquisite carvings and elegant architectural designs. The King Krishnadevaraya was a lover of art and architecture / the temples / monuments constructed during his reign are famous for their architectural designs.
Laksmi Narashimha Temple
The Lakshmi Narasimha statue is one of the most imposing sculptures found in Hampi. The speciality of the sculpture is that it is the largest monolith statue in Hampi. The statue is located on the southern side of the Hemakuta group of temples that stand on the Hemakuta Hill.
The Lakshmi Narasimha statue and the temple housing the statue were built in the year 1528 A.D. It was constructed during the rule of Krishnadevaraya. The temple is dedicated to Lord Narasimha(vatars of Lord Vishnu) and Goddess Lakshmi. So, the temple is known as the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple.
The Lotus Mahal is one of the fine architectural designed palaces that are uniquely identified by its lotus look like structure. This glorious building is within the Zenana Enclosure, a segregated area that is used by the royal women of Vijayanagara Dynasty.
The Lotus Mahal is otherwise called the Kamal Mahal or Chitragani Mahal. It's remarkable and unmistakable design is the main highlight of the palace. It is one of only a handful few astonishing building in Hampi that had not been damaged or destroyed amid the attack on the city.
The palace is a two-storied building, well-structured symmetrically. It is surrounded by a rectangular wall and four towers. These towers are also in pyramidal shape giving a lotus-like structure visual. Around 24 pillars are present to support the arched windows and balcony of the palace.
The Royal Enclosure spread over 59000 square meters. This was once upon a time, the home of the Vijayanagara King and his Queens. Today the enclosure lies largely in ruins but still speaks loudly of the life it once contained.
Hampi rose in the early 14th century when the Kampili Kings rose in power. In 1327, the kingdom was attacked by Muhammad-bin-Tughluq who took two brothers, Bukka and Harihara as prisoners along with thousands of other people. These brothers tricked the Sultan into setting them free and returned to Kampili to set up a kingdom of their own with its capital at Vijayanagara. Thus the Vijayanagara Empire was founded by Harihara I and Bukka I of the Sungama dynasty in 1336. The Sungama dynasty was followed by the Saluvas and the Tuluvas each of whom added to this Vijayanagara’s architectural beauty. A number of prominent temples and architectural features of Hampi were built under the patronage of King Krishnadevaraya in the early 16th century. After his death, the Vijayanagara kingdom began its decline and the city was rediscovered only in the 1800s as Hampi.
Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple is a huge statue of Lord Ganesha, carved out of a single block of rock. It is one of the major landmarks in Hampi. Sasivekalu Ganesha is about 8 feet (2.5 metres) tall.
According to the Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesha is known for his love for food. Once Ganesha consumed a lot of food, due to which his stomach was on the verge of bursting. Finding no other option to stop his stomach from exploding, Ganesha caught hold of a snake and tied it around his stomach in order to prevent it from bursting open. This is the mythological incidence behind the existence of the snake tied around the Ganesha’s stomach, which is visible on the statue.
Tungabhadra is in fact formed by the union of two rivers Tunga and Bhadra and hence the name. Both Tunga & Bhadra Rivers are originated on the eastern slops of the Western Ghats. Tungabhadra flows in a more or less northwest direction before joining the eastern river Krishna. The Krishna River finally ends into the Bay of Bengal.
The Vijayanagara kings took advantage of the river by constructing a host of irrigation canals and aqueducts. A highly networked water supply system fed the manmade water bodies in the urban core of the palace area. Many of the ancient canals are still in use to irrigate the surrounding agriculture fields.
Vijaya Vitthala Temple
The Vittala Temple or Vitthala Temple in Hampi is an ancient monument that is well known for its architecture and craftsmanship. It is considered to be one of the largest and the most famous structure in Hampi. The temple is located in the north eastern part of Hampi, near the banks of the Tungabhadra River.
The temple has amazing stone structures such as the incomparable stone chariot and the musical pillars.
The Vittala Temple dates back to the 15th century. It was built during the reign of King Devaraya II, one of the rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire. Several portions of the temple were expanded and enhanced during the reign of Krishnadevaraya, the most famous ruler of the Vijayanagara dynasty.
The Virupaksha Temple in Hampi is dedicated to lord Shiva. This temple was constructed in Lakkana Dandesha’s assistance who was a commander under King Deva Raya II.
The Virupaksha temple's chronicle is unremitting from around the seventh century. Virupaksha-Pampa retreat was existent since a long time here. There are several inscriptions about Lord Shiva which were engraved in the 9th century.
It started off as a little shrine and later developed into a huge complex during the Vijayanagara rule. There is evidence that indicates additions were made to Virupaksha temple during the later years of the Hoysala and Chalukyan sovereignty.
How to reach Hampi
By Air : Hampi does not have any airport of its own. The nearest one is the Bellary airport. Tourists can take a flight to Bellary and then can use local means of transport like cabs to reach Hampi. The total distance between Bellary and Hampi is 64km.
By Rail : Hampi does not have any railway station of its own. The one from Hampi is Hospet which is at a distance of about 13 km. Tourists can hire a taxi to Hampi from Hospet. The distance from Bangalore to Hampi is 288kms.
By Road : Hampi has a good road network. There are numerous buses that connect Hampi to a number of major and important towns in Karnataka. The tourists also have the option of hiring private cars or cabs. Travellers can reach Hampi by bus. AC and Volvo buses are available.
Quick Facts about Hampi
Timing: From sunrise to sunset
Entry Fee: No entry fee in most of the places
Video camera: Allowed
Visit Duration: At least 3 days
Best time to visit: From November to February