Hampi Temple


Hampi was the capital of Vijayanagar(14th century empire). The ruins of the empire is spread over the area of 26 sq km. “A Forgotten Empire” (ISBN 1419101250) by Robert Sewell is an interesting book which describes the rise and fall of Vijayanagar empire. Before the fall of Vijayanagar empire, diamonds were sold on the streets. The main street selling diamonds and other precious stones, was surprisingly called Pan Supaari Street (translated in english it means betel-leaf betel-nut street).

Hampi, as it is popularly known today was the medieval capital of the Hindu empire Vijayanagara (the City of Victory). Hampi in the Karnataka state of India is listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage SitesHampi is charismatic even in its ruined state. It attracts thousands of tourists and pilgrims every year. Vast stretches of boulder-strewn hills make the backdrop of Hampi unique. Dotted around the hills and valleys are 500 plus monuments. Among them are beautiful temples, basements of palaces, remains of aquatic structures, ancient market streets, royal pavilions, bastions, royal platforms, treasury buildings.., the list is practically endless. Hampi is a backpackers paradise, the same way the pilgrims delight..

Hampi was the capital of Vijayanagar(14th century empire). The ruins of the empire is spread over the area of 26 sq km. “A Forgotten Empire” (ISBN 1419101250) by Robert Sewell is an interesting book which describes the rise and fall of Vijayanagar empire. Before the fall of Vijayanagar empire, diamonds were sold on the streets. The main street selling diamonds and other precious stones, was surprisingly called Pan Supaari Street (translated in english it means betel-leaf betel-nut street).

A visitor can still see the exact location of Pan Supaari Street in Hampi, which has been marked with a board by Archaeological Survey of India. Hampi is well worth the visit. The area is simply stunning and you will be in awe of the millions of boulders surrounding the area. However, within this arid landscape lies a little oasis with lush palm, banana, and mango trees nestled near the river. Hampi is a great place to spend a few days wandering around and discovering the rich, vibrant history while also having a bit of ‘your’ time.

Hampi hosts ‘Hampi Utsav’ every year during first week of November. It is a visual delight as all the monuments/ruins are lighted in the night and it is a cultural extravaganza of dance and music. For 2009, Govt is planning to postpone ‘Hampi Utsav’ to Jan 2010 as it marks 500 years of Vijayanagar king Sri Krishnadevaraya ascending the throne.

The temples of Ramachandra (1513) and Hazara Rama (1520), with their sophisticated structure, where each supporting element is scanned by bundles of pilasters or colonnettes which project from the richly sculpted walls, may be counted among the most extraordinary constructions of India. In one of the interior courtyards of the temple of Vitthala, a small monument of a chariot which two elephants, sculpted in the round, struggle to drag along is one of the unusual creations, the favourite of tourists today as well as travellers of the past.Besides the temples, the impressive complex of civil, princely or public buildings (elephant stables, Queen’s Bath, Lotus Mahal, bazaars, markets) are enclosed in the massive fortifications which, however, were unable to repulse the assault of the five sultans of Deccan in 1565. Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC

The Krishna temple, Pattabhirama temple, Hazara Ramachandra and Chandrasekhara temple as also the Jaina temples, are other examples. Majority of these temples were provided with widespread bazaars flanked on either side by storeyed mandapas. Among secular edifices mention may be made of the Zenana enclosure wherein a massive stone basement of the Queen’s palace and an ornate pavilion called ‘Lotus-Mahal are only remnants of a luxurious antahpura. The corner towers of arresting elevation, the Dhananayaka’s enclosure (treasury), the Mahanavami Dibba carrying beautifully sculptured panels, a variety of ponds and tanks, mandapas, the elephant’s stables and the row of pillared mandapas are some of the important architectural remains of this city.

Recent excavations at the site have brought to light a large number of palatial complexes and basements of several platforms. Interesting finds include a large number of stone images, both in round and relief, beautiful terracotta objects and stucco figures that once embellished the palaces. In addition many gold and copper coins, household utensils, a square stepped-tank (sarovara) at the south-west of Mahanavami Dibba, and a large number of ceramics including the important variety of porcelain and inscribed Buddhist sculptures of 2nd -3rd century AD have also been unearthed.

HAMPI1HAMPI2hampi-virupaksha-1Traveling
Air:
Bellary is the nearest domestic airport, which is about 60 km away and Bangalore is the nearest international Airport, which is 350 km away. Taxi cab costs about Rs 1200 from Bellary to Hampi and Rs 6000 from Bangalore to Hampi. Bellary air terminal is connected to Bangalore. Bangalore airport is well connected to almost all airports in India. International flights to major foreign cities are also operated from Bangalore
Rail: Nearest railhead is Hospet, which is nearly 13 km from Hampi. Taxi cab will charge nearly Rs 200 from Hospet to Hampi. Hospet is well connected to Bangalore, Hyderabad and other major cities in Karnataka and neighboring states.