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Discover Hampi, The Forgotten Empire Of Vijayanagara Dynasty

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Discover Hampi, The Forgotten Empire!

Hampi was a royal town in the South Indian state of Karnataka. On this visit, all you can see and enjoy would be the grandeur and glory of the temple complexes, fort structures, and palace buildings but everything is in their ruins.

This is a vacation to look back to the ancient history of South India, the dynasties that ruled the place, and so on. The Tungabhadra river that flows through the territory of the town has a vital role in shaping the culture and traditions of the place both during the older days and even in contemporary days.

The location has also occupied the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. This tells you the answer to why should take a visit to the city and enjoy the matchless experiences there. Hampi has also got an eventful history of wars that brought it to its current collapsed state. This state of destruction has given it the name of “lost city” among tourists. In this article, we have mentioned the best places to visit in Hampi.

Table of Contents

Virupaksha Temple

This is a heritage temple situated in Hampi, the Vijayanagara district of Karnataka state. There are a number of monuments and memorials in the location and the Virupaksha temple is also a part of the group. This is a temple devoted to the Hindu Sanatana Dharma with the lord Shiva as the main deity of worship.

Virupaksha Temple

The pillars of the temple and its subtle and intricate carvings are the prominent features here. Chalukya Dynasty is behind the construction of this architectural marvel found in Hampi.

The construction year of the temple, the 7th century, also intensifies our excitement and amusement about the artistic brilliance of the people then. Among the group including many other forts and temples, the Virupaksha temple was one of the few structures that survived the vandalism that happened in Hampi.

It was because the soldiers who caused the destruction were the devotees of Lord Shiva who inhibited themselves from destroying the structure where their favorite deity was worshipped and paid respects. 

Lotus Mahal 

The local name of Lotus Mahal is “Kamal Mahal”. It is none other the shape of the structure which resembles a lotus gave it the name, “Lotus Mahal”. The praiseworthy architecture of the structure is the reason why flocks of tourists are found in the location. The Zenana enclosure found in the building is also amazing and attracts our curiosity to the structure.

Lotus Mahal 

This is allotted space for the women belonging to the royal dynasty of Vijayanagara. This space was exclusive to the female members of the dynasty. Chitragani Mahal is the other name of the structure.  Lotus Mahal also withstood the invasions and attacks that happened in the city of Hampi.

This picturesque location is also the best place to visit in Hampi if you have the desire to click some astonishing pictures on your Hampi vacation. The ambiance and natural surroundings of the place are also impressive with shady trees giving coolness and comfort. 

Queen’s Bath

This is yet another landmark of history found in the city of Hampi. This is a royal bathing chamber believed to be used by the queen and the other wives of the king. The chamber was highly adorned with several objects and it was also facilitated with a pool located outside but nearby the chamber.

Queen’s Bath

The efforts and excellence required in constructing such a colossal and magnificent pool during those older days when there was no aid of technology would be quite high making us pay respect to these constructions.

The royal ladies’ exclusive Enclosure is also found nearby the Queen’s Bath. It was Achyuta Raya who got impregnated with the grant concept of the construction of Queen’s Bath. It was in the 16th century that the Bath Chamber was built. The building of this royal bathing chamber has got no ceiling making it quite special and weird at the same time. 

Vijaya Vittala Temple

Just like all the other constructions and erections in the city of Hampi, the Vijaya Vittala Temple is also known for its finest architecture, design, and art. The craftsmanship required to complete the construction of the temple during those days cannot be praised and appreciated enough. The size of the temple is quite large giving it the title of being the biggest in the entire city of Hampi.

Vijaya Vittala Temple

This site is also the reason why the temple is visited by masses of tourists around the year. The temple is located in the northeastern region of Hampi city. The river of Thungabhadra flows near the temple. The stone chariots found in the location of the temple are quite spectacular. It is also popular for the musical pillars inside it. Such architectural secrets and surprises make the temple a must-visit location in your Hampi vacation.

Since this is also a signature heritage site in the city of Hampi, vacation pictures taken from the location speak loud about the place you have visited. 

Yantrodharaka Hanuman Temple

This is a Hindu temple in Hampi devoted to the lord, Hanuman. The position in which the lord is being worshipped in the temple has certain specialties and is obviously different from the other usual positioning of the same. The lord Hanuman is worshipped with much care and devotion in the city of Hampi. And so this temple is the second most important among the whole of the Hanuman temples found in the city.

Yantrodharaka Hanuman Temple

There are so many legends circulating regarding the temple. One among them is that this temple is the place where the first meeting of Lord Rama and Lord Hanuman happened. There is also another legend connecting Sri Vyasaraja and Lord Hanuman.

This temple is located on the banks of the river Thungabdhra. But the temple is actually built on top of a hill on the river banks making it much more attractive and elegant from every possible angle. 

Hippie Island

This is the much younger and spirited side of Hampi. If someone has said to you that Hampi is more than heritage temples, ruins, and some glorious traditions, they simply meant Hippie Island! This is usually the tourist destination in the city of Hampi preferred by solo travelers, backpackers, and adventure buffs. You can enjoy the ferry rides to Hippie island from the Virupaksha temple.

Hippie Island

But these services won’t be available every day. You need to select those days with an extensive crowd in the location to experience this memorable ride. After the ride when you reach the island, it is better to take a scooter on rent to explore the magic and surprises the island has been saving for you.

There had been a lot of beautiful street vendors and shops on Hippie island. But now due to government policies, they are no longer functional on the island, and if you are curious about finding them, spot them in the nearby villages of Sanapur and Anegundi. 

Matanga Hill

You can easily find the Matanga Hills on the eastern side of the Hampi Bazaar. The hill is famous as a viewpoint in the city of Hampi. If you would like to enjoy the breathtaking view of the city and indulge in its magnificence, Matanga Hill would be the ideal location. The city in its ruins but also wearing its indestructible glory can be thoroughly enjoyed from the location.

Matanga Hill

You can also take a visit to the temple on top of the hill while enjoying the scenic beauty of the city from the hill. The cave found at the foot of the hills is also an attractive element of the visit. This cave has also got several connections with Hindu mythology and its legends. Matanga Hill is also the point of highest elevation in the city of Hampi.

You can also enjoy adventure activities such as trekking in the location of the Matanga Hills. 

Badavilinga Temple

This is a Hindu temple located in Hampi with lord Shiva as the deity of worship. As the name of the temple suggests, the lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of a “linga” in the temple. The location of Badavilinga Temple is nearby the popular pilgrim location, the temple of Lakshmi Narasimha.

Badavilinga Temple

Apart from casual tourists, pilgrims from different parts of the world visit the temple and pay respect to the deity. The idol of “Shiva Linga” worshipped in the temple is the largest monolithic “linga” found in the whole of the heritage city, Hampi.

The pitch-black color of the “linga” is also attractively significant. The huge height of 3m is the other specialty of the “linga”. It is believed that the temple and the “linga” has been in the city since the time of the reign of the Vijayanagar Empire.

The “linga” kept inside the stone chamber of the temple is another peculiar feature of the idol and the worship. 

Elephant Stables

Since the city of Hampi had been a royal town, the festivals and celebrations of the town might have mostly used elephants. So the city might have been feeding and raising domesticated elephants for the same purpose. During the reign of the Vijayanagar Empire, the elephant stables were constructed integrating the Indo-Islamic architectural styles.

Elephant Stables

These stables have now become a popular tourist attraction in the city. And the most important thing to be noted is that these stables were not available for all domesticated elephants but exclusively for those who were adopted by the royal family. The concept of such stables became prominent during the 15th century.

During the years of destruction, these elephant stables were also damaged but not as much as the other important structures found in the city. The 11 chambers found in the stable structure indicate that there were only a total of 11 elephants belonging to the royal family. The center chamber built with distinctive decorations and art suggests that these royal elephants also had a leading or crowned position among them. 

Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary

This sanctuary has got the special title of being the first sloth bear sanctuary in the whole of Asia. 82.72squarekm is the total area of the park. The purpose of such a sanctuary in the region is obviously the conservation of the sloth bear species found in the region. You can visit the sanctuary with just a 15km travel from the city center of Hampi.

Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary

As popularly known, sloth bears are obsessed with honey. The staff of the sanctuary would be feeding the bears with honey and this is absolutely an exciting sight to watch. Apart from these sloth bears you can also meet animals like mongooses, leopards, jackals, wild boards, and so on. So that the location becomes the favorite spot of wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers coming to Hampi.

A watch tower is also facilitated inside the sanctuary offering the view of sloth bears living outside the artificial habitat set by the authorities. This view lets us look into the interesting daily life and routine of these interesting species in their natural surroundings. 

Old Palace

This palace structure in Hampi is also known as the Gagan Mahal. The palace had also got a fort in its surroundings. But unfortunately, you won’t be able to enjoy the royal charm of the fort today since it is in the ruins. The palace was occupied by the rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire when the city was in their hands.

Old Palace

Anegondi is the exact location of Old Palace. Today the palace has been converted into a building for local administrations in Hampi. It was during the 16th century that the palace has been constructed. The destruction of the palace began from the Mughal invasions that happened in Hampi during the 16th century.

Today the palace is around 500 years old and its finest architecture and art attract tourists to the center of its ruins. 

Underground Temple- Prasanna Virupaksha Temple

This Hindu temple is built during the 14th century below the ground level. That’s why the temple came to be known as the “underground temple”. This temple can also be regarded as the ancient-most temple in the city of Hampi.

Underground Temple- Prasanna Virupaksha Temple

A charming lush green garden found in the surroundings of the temple is perfect for photography. Even though the temple has been constructed in the 14th century, the discovery of the temple happened during the decade, the 1980s. There are many beliefs and notes by historians suspecting significant contributions of the Vijayanagara king, Krishnadevaraya to this temple construction.

There are also doubts regarding the purpose of the temple in the life of the royal family members other than worship. Some records show that the temple was a center for royal private ceremonies. However, there is not any substantial evidence found to date to justify the assumption.

You can visit the temple during the monsoon months of the year to experience the view of the submerged shrine. 

Hemakuta Hill Temples

This group of temples is situated on the top of a hill and welcomes a bunch of tourists to the location. This temple complex is quite special since the temples present in the complex are not built in the same period in history. The temple structures in the complex belong to the Vijayanagara period and even before that.

Hemakuta Hill Temples

9th century to 14th century is the period of construction of most of the temples in the complex. The art and design created in the Hemakuta Hill Temple using stone are impressive and aesthetically supreme. The stone walls of the temple complex are also magnificent and suggestive of the grandeur it had during its days of glory.

The Trikutachala style of architecture is the distinctive feature of this hill temple complex. 

Best Time To Visit Hampi

The best time to visit Hampi is from October to February

How To Reach Hampi?

Nearest airport: Bellary Airport

Nearest railway station: Hospet (HPT)

Conclusion

Hampi vacation can be enjoyed by anyone who has a taste for art, culture, history, and heritage. The city is also a favorite spot for believers of Hinduism. The extensive foreign tourism has also resulted in making the place quite interesting for adventure seekers and those who are young at heart. 

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A young and soaring content writer with a virtuoso in a myriad of domains. Gopika sticks to versatility and flexibility in writing while inclining to her special interests like Travel & Tourism, Sports & Technology. Her hands-on experience in dishing out content for national sports becomes industrially advantageous.

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