Hampi Unesco World Heritage

This beautiful ancient city is situated within the ruins of Vijayanagara. It was the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, from 1336 to 1565. After that it fell into the hands of the Deccan Muslim confederacy. Hampi’s position between the Tungabhadra and the hills gave it a strategic importance. The area is linked to the Vanara (monkey) kingdom mentioned in the Ramayana – Kishkindha. The first settlements in Hampi date back to 1 CE. Another earlier name of Hampi was Pampakshetra. It predates the city of Vijayanagara itself, and is still an important religious centre.


The Hampi site is very important to Indian history and architecture. The topography consists largely of huge stones that were used to make large statues of Hindu gods and goddesses. You can see a historically important structure every quarter of a mile or so. The Virupaksha Temple complex, or the Pampapathi temple, is a Shiva temple. It is situated in the Hampi Bazaar and is said to predate the Vijayanagar empire. The 60-foot tower at its entrance and the shrines of the Hindu goddesses Bhuvaneshwari and Pampa are noteworthy.


Pampa is the old name of the Tungabhadra River, and Hampi gets its name from it. The city stands on its banks. Hampi itself is he anglicised version of the Kannada Hampe. People often call it Vijayanagara and Virupakshapura –Virupaksha was the patron deity of the Vijayanagara kings.


The monuments of Vijayanagara city were built between A.D. 1336 and 1570, i.e. from the times of Harihara-I to Sadasiva Raya. The monuments, also known as Vidyanagara in honour of the sage Vidyaranya, cover an area of about 26sq.km and are enclosed by seven lines of fortifications. Most of the royal buildings were built by Krishnadeva Raya (AD 1509-30), the greatest king of the dynasty. His reign saw the resurrection of Hindu religion, art, architecture. In the inner parts of Vijayanagara there are still ruins of the palaces, Hindu and Jain temples, the king’s audience, the royal throne platform and the king's balance (tulabhara).


The temples of Vijanagara have large dimensions, a lot of ornamentation; they have delicate carvings and many iconographic depictions of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The Pampapati temple is worship is worhipped in even now. It was renovated. Krishnadeva Raya built its entrance tower.


The Vitthala temple is an excellent example of Vijayanagara style. So are the statues of Lakshmi, Narasimha and Ganesa. Other attractions are the Krishna temple, Pattabhirama temple, Hazara Ramachandra temple and Chandrasekhara temple, and the Jain temples.


An interesting feature of these temples structures is that they had bazaars adjacent to it. The Zenana enclosure has a massive stone basement of the Queen's palace and an ornate pavilion, the Lotus Mahal. Other monuments are Dhananayaka's enclosure (treasury), the Mahanavami Dibba, ponds and tanks, the elephant's stables and the row of pillared mandapas. Newer excavations have revealed gold and copper coins, household utensils, stone images, terracotta objects and stucco figures from the palaces. There is a collection of porcelain and inscribed Buddhist sculptures from the 2nd and 3rd Century A.D.

Other places of interest near Hampi are the Anjeyanadri Hill, Achyutaraya Temple/Tiruvengalanatha Temple, Akka Tangi Gudda, Archaeological Museum at Kamalapura, Badava Linga, Chandramauleshwar Temple, Yentrodharaka Anjaneya temple and Madhavan Palace with more than 10,00,000 pillars.

If you are the kind who loves history and culture, be sure to attend the Vijayanagara Festival in December. It is held by the Government of Karnataka. The authorities have also arranged ‘Hampi by night’, where the site is lit up at night in all pomp and glory.


Hampi is 350km from Bangalore, 250km from Bijapur and 74km from Bellary. The nearest taluk headquaters is at Hospet, 12km away. The nearest airstrip is at Tornagallu, 32km from Hospet. The nearest major airport is at Bellary. Belgaum, at 190km away, too, has an airport. You can also charter sightseeing flights from Bangalore and Mysore. Hospet is the nearest railway station. Hospet is connected by rail to Bangalore, Bijapur, Hubli and Guntakal. There are KSRTC Buses linking Hospet with Bangalore, Mysore and Bijapur.The best time to visit is from October to March. The sites are open from sunrise to sunset. There is a stipulated entrance fee, different for Indians and tourists of SAARC, and foreign nationals.

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