Sightseeing the ruins at Hampi in India.
About Hampi World Heritage Site which is by The Tungabhadra River, Karntaka in India.
Vijayanagar (City of Victory) and known commonly now as Hampi was founded by two brothers named Harihara and Bukka who, after being converted to Islam and having given their allegiance to Delhi then reverted to the Hinduism
faith and established their own kingdom which covered much of the Deccan Plateau. They built their Hindu capital city at Vijayanagar in 1343 probably because the area was already considered to be sacred - with temples etc. already established going back to at least the 10th century.
The city was the most powerful in the Deccan and by the reign of Krishna Deva Raya became very prosperous through it's trading in Indian spices, gems and silk - at it's peak the city was populated
by around 500,000 people. However in 1565 following a defeat by forces controlled by a combined group of Deccan Muslim Sultans who subsequently pillaged and destroyed the city over a six month period, Vijayanagar City was abandoned. Some significant work was carried out in the beginning of the 19th century to restore some of the buildings but sadly many of the temples and so on remain in quite a poor state.[ Click the thumbnails for a larger picture - use the back button to return to this page. ]
Getting around to see the Hampi Ruins in India starting off with Virupaksha Temple.
The Heritage site at Hampi covers an area of 26 square kilometres to the south of Tungabhadra River and is set amongst huge granite boulders and small hills with temples along the riverside and the royal monuments some 3 kms south. As well as the named buildings there are quite a few smaller temples and shrines scattered amongst the rocks. The
best way to see the ruins might be to allow two days - one day going along the river and perhaps going over to Virupapuragadda Village for a walk around and the second to go and see the Royal sites.Important***
- entrance to the main site is free but a ticket is required for the Vittala Temple and the Lotus Mahal which costs 250rs for non-Indians and this allows entrance to both but must be used on the same day. These two sites are around 7kms apart by road.
Virupaksha Temple Gopura
Hampi bus station (which is in fact in the middle of the market) and also where you can find auto-rickshaws is by Hampi Bazaar - here there are various stalls offering drinks, snacks, fruit and of course the usual must-have souvenirs. Bazaar Street is in a very run-down state with most of the buildings cordoned off and in the process of
being demolished. Turning left you soon reach the beautiful Virupaksha Temple at Hampi Ruins with it's beautifully carved Gopura at the entrance standing some 50 metres high - it dominates the area. A second Gopura then leads to the temple itself. As the temple is still in use it can be very busy and of course shoes must be
left in the courtyard. There is no entrance fee as such although you do have to pay to use a camera.
From the north Gopura a path leads round the stepped tank and it's shrines and goes to the river and it's sacred crossing and ghat - this is from where the small ferry goes across to Virupapuragadda Village.
Tungabhadra River ghat
From Virupaksha Temple walk back along what was originally a colonnaded bazaar soon reaching a **path going off to the left but first continue straight on where the bazaar buildings on the left are still in use and occupied by several art shops and also two police stations. The
colonnade on the right is unused but intact and fine to walk along (perhaps out of the sun's heat). At the end sits
Hampi's Nandi Temple
plus there are several other buildings in the immediate area and to the right a path leads up Matanga Hill.
Returning to the **path junction turn right and follow it between rocks and beside the river bank to reach the rather untidy Rama Temple - which is somewhat inundated with monkeys. Near the Rama Temple it is possible to hire a coracle and also now
Agini Temple is in view. The path goes across sometimes wet ground to reach some huge boulders and the Narasimha Temple. The path splits here and going right takes you passed a ruined temple to reach the Kings Balance which is where the Royal Monarch was once weighed against gold or grain which was then given to the poor. To the right of here is the Vitthala Temple (***
straight on leads to the river with good views of the surrounding countryside, bathing ghats and the remains of the bridge which once crossed the River Tungabhadra. On top of the hill in the distance the white Hanmay Temple can be seen.
The Krishna Temple and Narasimha Temple Statue at Hampi, India.
To visit the Royal monuments and temples transport is required due to the distances involved especially concerning the Vitthala Temple and the Lotus Mahal which have a combined entrance ticket useable on one day only. A short distance away from the Hampi
Bazaar is the Krishna Temple complex - the temple is entered via a Gopura - although partly in ruins there are some nice
carvings to be seen. Now unused for worship the temple was built in 1513 by Krishmadeva Raya to commemorate his victory over Orissa. On the opposite side of the road there are the remains of a large colonnade with it's water features and shrines. A short distance further along the road is located the Narasimha Temple Statue - this statue was carved in 1528 from a single boulder and
depicts the fourth stage of Vishnu i.e. as half-man half-lion with bulging eyes and crossed legs.
There is much more about touring in India via our India Travel and Touring Guide Home Page.
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