- Hampi- Where the Past Comes Alive
Like many of its neighbors, Hampi is a city with a splendid past.
Remnants of its ancient glory exist even today in the form of monuments,
temples, palaces, market streets, royal pavilions etc. that are
scattered all over. The central attraction of Hampi is its Virupaksha
temple, situated along the banks of the Tungabhadra. The past and
present of Hampi is intrinsically connected to the temple and the
various legends and myths revolving around it. Hampi is the delight of
historians and archeologists almost every corner of Hampi has something
of historical significance for an eager traveler to explore.
The name Hampi is derived from Pampa, the original name of the Thungabhadra. The signature image of Hampi is that of a town standing against mountains strewn with boulders. As they say, Hampi is full of surprises. The list of architectural wonders is simply endless from the Kings balance, the Queens bath, the Lotus Mahal and the elephant stables to the Pushkarini tank, the Mahanavami Dibba and the Mustard Ganesh, the list goes on.
Hampi is referred to in the Ramayana as Kishkinda, the Vanara kingdom. Hampi was formerly a city of great importance in its heyday when it was the cultural, artistic and religious hub of South India. Palaces, mansions and temples peppered the city, which was made the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire by Saint Vidyaranaya. The fall of Hampi happened in the 16th century, with the defeat of King Rama Raya by the Mughals.
The Virupaksha temple is believed to be one of the oldest temples of South India. However, the temple functions now in more or less the same way it did way back in the 7th century. The temple which was originally a set of small shrines was gradually developed into an archeological wonder, an elaborate complex containing pillared halls, flag posts, lamp posts, tall gateways and an exclusive kitchen, almost every inch adorned with intricate carvings.
The main structure of the temple, the tall, ornate stone Gopura, is more or less the landmark of Hampi. Rows of sculpted figures adorn the south wall of the temple. The highlight of the temple is the pillared hall in the centre, the Ranga Mandapa. Even today, the hall forms the venue for marriages and other rituals.
The Vittala temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is yet another marvel in stone. The wide halls, monolithic pillars, and the brackets all tell stories in the form of exquisite and detailed carvings. The prized possession of the temple is a magnificent chariot built in stone, complete with four wheels, axles and brakes. The entire structure is covered from top to bottom with carvings depicting battle scenes and complex floral designs.
Hampis Vijayanagara era Temple Riuns (7 kms)
Deva Raya Wildlife sanctuary
Mauryar Lane (10,000 year old Stone age colony of Dwarfs - 20 kms)
Anjani Parwath(Birth Place of Lord Hanuman)
Pampa Sarovar One of the three sacred Lakes
Anegudi (Ancient World Heritage Village)
- Things To Do
Catch the sunrise from the top of the Matanga Hill. The suns an early riser in Hampi, so be sure to be there by 6.30 am.
Do a morning or dusk coracle ride in the Tungabadra River.
Go on a safari at the Daroji Bear Sanctuary and try to get a glimpse of the sloth bear.
Experience the Hampi Utsav, if you can plan a trip around the month of January.
Taste the myriad fare of Hampis many food joints, which surreally does justice to world cuisine.
Check out the first example of the pin-hole camera at the Virupaksha Temple.
Scour Hampi Bazaar, which stretches before the Virupaksha Temple for souvenirs and literature on Hampi.
Visit the Sanapur Lake and its picturesque locales.
Go for Shiva and Parvatis betrothal ceremony at the Virupaksha Temple if you happen to be visiting Hampi in April.
Explore Chalukyan architecture at Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal.
- Best Time To Visit
October to February.
- How to Reach
Tornagallu airstrip-32 km away, Bellary Airport -74 km away.
Hospet is the nearest railway station - 13 km away.
There are daily buses to Hospet, and to Bangalore - 350 km away.