|Facts and Figures|
|Area||26 sq km|
|Languages||Kannada and English|
|Best time to visit||October to March|
THE RUINED CITY OF THE VIJAYNAGAR EMPIRE
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.
Hampi is located in the central part of the state of Karnataka, in the southern part of India. It is 353 km from Bangalore, and 13 km from Hospet. It is located on top of a rugged terrain and is 467 m above sea level. Tungabhadra River flows through Hampi. It has a tropical climate with hot summers (April-June), and cool winters (October-February). It experiences the southwestern monsoon rains from June to August.
VISITING TIMEThe best time to visit Hampi is from October to March.
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.
The main tourist spots in Hampi can be divided into two broad areas: the Hampi Bazaar area and the Royal center near Kamalapuram. The 15th-century Virupaksha Temple is located in the Hampi Bazaar area. It is one of the oldest monuments of the town. The top of the temple rises about 50 m from the ground and the main shrine is dedicated to Virupaksha, a form of Lord Shiva. Hemakuta Hill, south of the Virupaksha temple, contains early ruins, Jain temples and a monolithic sculpture of Lord Narasimha, a form of Lord Vishnu. Hemakuta Hill offers excellent view of Hampi Bazaar. Two kilometers east of Hampi Bazaar, the traveler can see the World Heritage Vittal temple, built in the 16th century. The carvings on this temple give an insight into the architectural splendor achieved by the artisans of Vijaynagar Empire. The outer pillars of this temple are said to produce music when tapped. They are also known as the musical pillars. Between Hampi Bazaar and Vittal temple, one can see the deserted Sule Bazaar and the Achutraya temple. Monolithic statue of Lord Ganesh, Nandi, the Kodandarama temple and the Krishna temple are other places to visit in the Hampi Bazaar area.
The royal center is located between the Hampi Bazaar area and Kamalapuram. One can take a 2-km walk down to this area from the Hampi Bazaar. There are a number of tourist attractions, within the walled area of the royal center. The Lotus Mahal or palace is an intricately designed pavilion within a walled compound, known as the Zenana Enclosure. This palace is a blend of Indo-Islamic architecture and gets its name from the lotus bud carved on its domed and vaulted ceiling. The Elephant quarter is adjacent to the Zenana Enclosure. It is a domed building, which housed the royal elephants. The Queen’s Bath, with its unique Islamic architecture, and the Underground Virupaksha temple are other important places to visit within the royal center. The Archeological Museum at Kamalapuram has a good collection of sculptures belonging to the Vijaynagar Empire.
Apart from the Hampi Bazaar and the Royal center, Anegondi is another area to be visited by the tourist. It is a fortified area north of Hampi Bazaar across Tungabhadra River. It has a number of temples in and around it.
The town of Hospet, which is 13 km from Hampi, is an important tourist center.Travelers can have a panoramic view of surrounding areas from the 49-m-high and 2-km-long Tungabhadra Dam, 6 km from Hospet.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALSHampi 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.
HOW TO REACHHampi does not have a Railway station. The nearest railhead is at Hospet, which is 13 km from the ruins of Hampi. Travelers use Hospet as a base to commence their journey to Hampi. Hospet can be reached from Hampi by bus or by auto-rickshaw. The main bus station in Hampi is located in the Hampi Bazaar area. Buses from Goa and Bangalore stop at Hampi. However, to take buses out of Hampi, one has to go to Hospet. The bus service from Hampi to Hospet (½ hour) is good. Travelers can either avail taxi or auto-rickshaw to explore the ruins of Hampi. Bicycles can also be obtained on rent.
PLACES TO STAYHampi 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.
PLACES TO EATHampi does not offer any special cuisine to the traveler. Restaurants, guesthouses and lodges serve Indian and western food. Most of the eating-places and joints are located in the Hampi Bazaar area.
INFORMATIONLocal auto-rickshaw drivers often refuse to go to Hospet, on the pretext of losing business, while coming back to Hampi. As Hampi is a religious town, alcohol is prohibited. Tourists should not visit ruins and monuments alone or during dawn and dusk.
|Indian Culture History|