Explore the Historical Hampi Sightseeing
Hampi, a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located 340km away from Bangalore and 377km from Hyderabad. While taking a trip to Hampi Sightseeing, you must know a bit about the place.
History of Hampi
Hampi is an ancient village situated on the banks of river Tungabhadra in northern Karnataka. The quaint ancient village stands within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of Vijayanagara Empire, and is one of the top destinations under Karnataka Tourism. The first settlement at Hampi dates back to the 1st century AD, thus making the Hampi sightseeing, a very significant place in terms of history and architecture. Hampi which was the capital of Vijayanagara Empire grew as a trade center for cotton, gemstones, and spices and was one of the largest and richest in the world during the 15th and 16th centuries.
With the death of Krishnadevaraya, the Deccan forces under Sultanate invaded and destroyed Hampi and their rampage continued for more than one year which led to the downfall of the city. The ruins in and around Hampi have spread over an area of 26 sq. km. Hampi was also an important religious center of the Vijayanagara Empire due to the presence of the historic Virupaksha Temple along with other monuments and Jain temples, Vittala temple, and the monolithic sculpture of Lord Narasimha. The popular Hampi Festival is held here for 3 days in the month of November and is organized by the Karnataka Government with dance, music, processions, and drama.
Hampi, the abode of bygone ruins, rusty colors, and fascinating landscape with the shadowed depths of hills and valleys has over 500 ancient monuments, beautiful temples, bustling street markets, bastions, treasury buildings, and other captivating ruins. This open museum is also a backpacker’s delight. Below, the top spots of the Hampi sightseeing that you must visit to explore this primordial destination are as follows:
1. Virupaksha Temple
Built during the 7th century on the banks of river Tungabhadra, Virupaksha Temple contributed to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This small shrine with beautiful stone inscriptions is architectural excellence and carries a rich heritage. The breathtakingly beautiful temple with tall towers, gopurams, halls and corridors are embellished with ornate stonework. Along with the main deity of Lord Virupaksha, another form of Lord Shiva, there are many other sculptures depicting the mythological tales of many Gods and Goddesses.
2. VijayaVitttala Temple
One of the most impressive structures of Hampi, this temple dates back to the 16th century. The famous stone chariot which has become the icon or the symbol of Hampi architecture is located inside the premises of the temple. There are several other temples and monuments with beautiful carvings. One of the most appealing structures is the pillars which once tapped delicately will make soft musical chimes. This architectural marvel is also called the “SAREGAMA” pillars. The entire temple complex covers a huge area and is an example of rich and splendid creation.
3. Elephant Stables
The elephant stables served as an enclosure for royal elephants. Even now one can see the metal hooks that were used to tie the elephants. The stable has a row of 11 chambers and the one in the center is grander than the rest of a temple-style tower. It is adorned with marvelous works of art of frescos and carvings.
4. Queen’s Bath
This aquatic enclosure was the private Royal bathing chambers during the times of the Vijayanagar Empire. The architecture will make you realize that the modern-day spas and tubs are nothing compared to the lavish baths used in the past. A huge corridor runs around the deep 6 feet rectangular pool. The corridor has beautiful balconies and windows and has a big garden outside the premises.
5. Lotus Palace
Built-in the Indo-Islamic style, this two-story structure has regular geometric archways. The structure has a lotus bud curved on its dome. This place is one of the structures that remained undamaged when the city was looted. The Lotus Palace was also called “ChitraganiMahal” or the “Kamal Mahal” and were used by the royal ladies.
6. The King’s Balance
The King’s Palace, also known as “Tulapurushandana” is five meters tall and is an archway carved from stone. It is believed that on Solar and Lunar Eclipse, Dussera, or other ceremonial occasions, the kings were weighed against jewels, precious stones, and gold which were later distributed among the temple priests. Three loops for hanging the balance can be found and you can also find pictures of kings and queens on one of the pillars.
7. Achyutaraya Temple
This temple dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara and named after King Achyuta Deva Raya was the last grand creation of the Vijayanagara dynasty before its fateful fall. It has two concentric rectangular enclosures with the main shrine in the inner enclosure. Although most of the temple complex is in ruins, you can still see the magnificence and the grandiosity of the structure.
8. Hazara Ram Temple
It is one of the smallest temples in the land of Hampi and is believed to be the private temple of kings, queens and royal families. The structure has a thousand Ramayana panels on the walls with characters and events chiseled on the wall. The grandeur of the temple will leave you in awe.
9. Laxmi Narasimha Temple
It was built during the times of Krishnadevaraya and is famous for its stupendous statue of God Narasimha, one of the ten forms of Lord Vishnu. The monolith idol of God is seated on the coil of “Adishesha.”The entire idol is carved out of one huge granite boulder. The idol originally had Goddess Laxmi sitting on his lap, but the statue of Laxmi was destroyed during the raid in 1565. Today you can only see the hand of Laxmi resting on the back of Narasimha. The site is one of the hauntingly beautiful sites in Hampi.
10. Bala Krishna Temple
This important temple of Hampi is also listed among the World Heritage Sites under UNESCO. It was built by King Krishnadevaraya to commemorate his victory over PrataparudaGajapati, the ruler of Udaygiri which is Orissa now. The main idol installed in the temple was of Bala Krishna and it is now preserved at the State Museum at Chennai. Bala Krishna Temple is known for its exquisite carvings and elegant architectural designs. The temple campus is adorned with many pillars and many small shrines. It is a rare temple which has epics inscribed on the tower walls.
How to reach
Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Karnataka, India, can be reached through the following modes of transportation:
- By air: The nearest airport is the Bellary Airport (also known as Vidyanagar Airport), located about 40 km from Hampi. From there, you can take a taxi or a bus to reach Hampi.
- By train: The nearest railway station is in Hosapete (also known as Hospet), located about 13 km from Hampi. You can take a taxi or a bus to reach Hampi from there.
- By road: Hampi is well connected by road to major cities in Karnataka and other parts of India. Regular buses run from Bangalore, Hyderabad, and other nearby cities to Hampi. You can also hire a taxi for a more convenient and comfortable journey.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Hampi, India, depends on the weather and what you’d like to do there. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- October to February: This is the winter season in Hampi and the weather is pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 20-30°C. This is the peak tourist season, with many cultural and religious events taking place in and around Hampi.
- March to May: The temperatures during this time can get quite hot, with temperatures often exceeding 40°C. This is not the ideal time to visit if you want to explore the monuments and ruins, but it is a good time to experience the local festivals and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.
- June to September: This is the monsoon season in Hampi, with heavy rainfall and floods possible. Some of the monuments may be closed during this time, but it is a good time to experience the lush greenery of the region.
So, the best time to visit Hampi would be from October to February, when the weather is pleasant and the majority of the monuments are open to visitors.
There are many activities to do in Hampi, India, that cater to different interests and preferences. Some of the popular activities include:
- Explore the ruins: Hampi is home to a vast number of historic monuments and ruins, including temples, palaces, bathhouses, and more. These monuments are a testimony to the rich heritage and history of the Vijayanagara Empire.
- Visit the temples: Hampi is famous for its Hindu temples, including the Virupaksha Temple, the Vitthala Temple, the Hemakuta Hill Temples, and more. These temples are known for their unique architecture, intricate carvings, and spiritual significance.
- Go on a heritage walk: Take a guided tour of Hampi to learn about its history, culture, and architecture. You’ll get a chance to explore the monuments and ruins up close and hear fascinating stories about the Vijayanagara Empire.
- Go on a hike: Hampi is surrounded by hills and valleys, providing plenty of opportunities for hiking and trekking. You can explore the nearby hills, go on a sunset hike, or go on a nature trail.
- Go rafting: The Tungabhadra River flows through Hampi, offering opportunities for rafting and kayaking. You can experience the thrill of white-water rafting or relax and enjoy the scenery on a leisurely float.
- Shop for souvenirs: Hampi is home to many local markets selling handmade goods, traditional textiles, jewelry, and more. You can shop for souvenirs, try local cuisine, and experience the local culture.
These are just a few of the many activities you can enjoy in Hampi. Whatever your interests and preferences, there’s something for everyone in this historic and scenic region.