Genral Information - Hampi
Hampi is famous for its ruins belonging to the erstwhile medieval Hindu kingdom of Vijaynagar and it is declared a World Heritage site. The temples of Hampi, its monolithic sculptures and monuments, attract the traveler because of their excellent workmanship. The Hindu style of architecture found at Hampi reflects the splendor of the Vijaynagar Empire. The rugged landscape adds to the historic ambience of this site.
The first settlement in Hampi dates back to 1st century AD and a number of Buddhist sites belonging to that time have been found nearby. Hampi was the capital of the mighty Vijaynagar Empire. Vijaynagar was one of the largest Hindu empires in India. Two brothers, Harihar and Bukka founded it in 1336. Krishnadevaraya (1509-1529) was the greatest ruler and controlled almost all of peninsular India south of Tungabhadra River. The town of Hampi in 14th century had a population of half a million people. Seven concentric lines of fortifications protected the city. It maintained a huge army to protects it from other kingdoms. Vijaynagar Empire flourished, as it controlled both cotton and spice trade routes of southern India. Medieval historians refer to Hampi as an important center of trade. However, the glory of Vijaynagar was short lived. With the death of Krishnadevaraya, the combined armies of the five Muslim kingdoms-Bidar, Bijapur, Golconda, Ahmednagar and Berar-destroyed this mighty empire in 1565.
Place To See :
Situated along the Tungabhadra River approximately 350 km to the north of Bangalore and 13 km from Hospet, the village of Hampi in northern Karnataka – one of the major tourist destinations India, exudes tremendous historical value. Occupying over 25 sq km, Hampi, the one-time trading center is still home to some of the greatest tourist attractions like giant temples, market streets, palaces, and aquatic structures, forts and a plethora of other ancient monuments of historical significance. How Get There :
Home to the shrines of Shiva, Pampa and Bhuvaneswari, the 15th-century Virupaksha Temple rises grandly to the western part of the famous 35 yards by 800 yards long Hampi Bazaar area. A 120 feet tall tower greets the visitors at its eastern entrance.
Temple of Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy:
Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple of Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy stands three kms down the road. Its inner walls flaunt peculiar and interesting motifs of fish and marine creatures.
Vithala Temple Complex:
The Vithala Temple Complex famous for its 56 musical pillars is one of the finest tourist attractions in Hampi. Towards the east of the hall you can find the famous Stone Chariot which has real revolving stone wheels. The great mandapa on a richly sculpted basement stands opposite the shrine. There are pillars of granite that support the roof, around 15 feet in height. The central pillar is flanked by detached shafts and all of them are cut from one single block of rock.
House of Victory:
Constructed to honor the victory of Krishnadeva Raya against the King of Orissa, it has internal spaces between the rows of the plinth-moldings that are most intricately carved.
Hazara Ramaswami temple:
This was the private place of worship of a royal family. The chief attraction of the temple is the illustrations of scenes from the Ramayana etched on two of the inner walls of the mantapa.
This is where kings were weighed against money, gold, or grain, which was afterwards distributed amongst the poor.
This was a swimming pool, measuring 50 feet long and 6 feet deep, and flaunting vaulted corridors, balconies and lotus-shaped fountains of perfumed spray.
Molded in the form of a lotus flower, the two-level structure of the Lotus Mahal flaunting stunning archways, geometrically arranged, used to be an air-cooled summer palace of the queen.
Home to around 11 elephants in separate sections, this is a beautiful instance of the amalgamation of Hindu and Muslim style of architecture.
This is a wooden structure from which the royal people viewed the town with pomp, colour and revelry during the famous Mahanadu festival.
The Vijayanagar Festival is one of the major tourist attractions in Hampi and it is organized by the Government of Karnataka in the month of December. Also the Purandar Festival is a major crowd puller.
By Air Accomodation :
In case you are wondering as to how to reach Hampi by air, you can avail of the Bellary Airport (974 km) and the Belgaun Airport (190 km), both of which offer airline services (Air Deccan) to Bangalore. From Bangalore Airport you can avail of any of the international flights connecting to any of the important cities in the country and the world.
If you are in a dilemma about how to reach Hampi by rail, you have plenty of good options although Hampi does not have its own railhead. The nearest railway station from Hampi is Hospet, which lies at about 13 km from Hampi. It offers around 10 daily trains and roughly 5 special trains, which operate once or twice a week. Two of these trains ply from Bangalore which is in turn well connected to the major Indian cities like Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and other prominent tourist sites across India.
A good set-up of roads and road transport connect Hampi to and from all major towns of Karnataka and the surrounding areas. It actually offers excellent road network to Bangalore which is around 350km away and other major cities of Karnataka. KSRTC buses offer services on regular basis from Hospet to Hampi. Towns like Hassan, Hospet, and Mysore are also well connected with Hampi. Taxis or auto-rickshaws are good options to explore the ruins of Hampi. You can also rent bicycles which will further cater to your adventurous moods.
Hampi does not have many hotels, but the tourist can find a number of lodges and guesthouses. Most of these are concentrated in Hampi Bazaar area near the main bus station and the Tourist Office. Travelers can also find lodges and guesthouses in the area north of the bazaar across the Tungabhadra River. Accommodation in Hampi is very cheap. The Karnataka State Tourism Development Council's hotel Mayura Bhuvaneshwari is located in Kamalapuram area to the southeast of Hampi Bazaar.
Hampi, the ancient seat of Vijayanagar kingdom, lie frozen in time. The ruins of palaces, temples and many other royal paraphernalia from an old mighty kingdom lie scattered in and around Hampi. Events :
Today it's like a deserted village. Do not look forward to plush shopping complexes built in glass and concrete or colorful shops overloaded with touristy souvenirs. In fact shopping in Hampi is not the focus of activity. This is the place to explore the ruins reminiscent of a splendid past and be fascinated.
But if you just cannot think of returning from a tour without shopping some souvenirs for your near and dear ones, we suggests you to shop at Bangalore. Bangalore is the capital of the state of Karnataka. Swanky commercial places, markets for buying souvenirs and local handicrafts abound in Bangalore and would supplement for the lack of shopping opportunity in Hampi.
Hampi is famous for Purandara Festival. This annual festival is held in January-February in the Vittal temple to celebrate the birth anniversary of the medieval poet-composer, Purandar.