Hampi is aptly described as poetry in stone. The magnificent sculptures found at this place are indeed a treasure. There could be no better way to experience a glint of the bygone era than by visiting the place? Hampi- an archaeologist`s paradise and a tourist`s most sought after destination, is situated about 365 km from Bangalore.
Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagar dynasty which ruled the place. The ruins mainly comprise giant temples, palaces, market streets, aquatic structures, fortifications and a plethora of other time honored monuments.
Vittala Temple: Lord Vittala was the cult diety of the cattle herds. Vittala is also an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temple was originally built in the 15th century AD and successive generation of kings contributed to this architectural extravaganza. You may enter via the eastern entrance tower. Be ready to get mesmerized by a series of compact platforms along the axis of the campus. Here you will notice the spectacular looking stone chariot. The chariot is nothing but a shrine with a ‘Garuda’, the ‘Eagle God’ enshrined within.
The pillars within the temple have carvings of lotus and tipped corbels. Composite pillars and artistic depictions of Narasimha, slaying Hiranyakashipu are seen within the temple. The Kings Balance or Tulapurushandana, stands to the southwest of the Vittala temple. During ceremonies the King was weighed against gold, jewelry and other gems. The Vittala temple is also well known for the musical pillars .They are going to bowl you over with reverberating music that fills up the atmosphere as you strike it gently. To witness this truly mystifying spell you must visit the Vittala temple at Hampi.
This temple is believed to have existed before the Vijayanagara capital was located here. Inscriptions date back to the 9th and 10th centuries. It initially started as a shrine and grew to a large complex that you will see now. Most of the temples found in the complex have been installed during the Vijayanagar period.
The Virupaksha Temple now consists of the main sanctum, three ante chambers, one open and another pillared hall. There are grand entrances, courtyards and smaller shrines surrounding the shrine which will take you back in time.
The most interesting feature of the Virupaksha Temple is that, river Thungabhadra flows along the terrace and then flows into the kitchen and out through the outer courtyard. Inscriptions prove that Krishnadevaraya an emperor of the Vijayanagar dynasty commissioned this hall in 1510 AD.
The other important pieces of sculpture seen at Hampi include Ugranarasimha(a fierce form of Lord Vishnu).The image of Laxmi which lay on one knee of this idol had fallen off and is now preserved at the museum at Kamalapuram.
Kodandarama temple: Kodandarama temple is still in use and the main deities worshipped here are Rama, Sita and Laxman. Well the temple was built when Lord Ram crowned Sugriva. Sugrivas cave is another place you must visit.
Underground Shiva Temple: The most alluring part of mystic Hampi is the underground spectacle of lingas. It is termed underground because the roof of the temple is at ground level.
Lotus Mahal: Built entirely of stone and having Islamic influence in architecture, this was built for the queens.
Pushkarani: Essentially a stepped well, it was used by the royal womenfolk. Do not miss the elephant stables and the Guard Barracks.
While you are at Hampi visit the shores of Tungabhadra River and check out the 1008 lingas that are engraved on a rock or boulder.
Visit Hampi to believe all that you read. There cannot be a better way to justify your love for historic places especially exquisite ones like Hampi. Take in the magnificent beauty of architecture which remains intact amidst the ruins. Come to Hampi and be a part of this mystic land with surprises galore.
The primary connectivity to Hampi is by road. Rail connection comes second and the air link is the third option.
By Air: The nearest airport is Bellary (60km/ 37miles), Belgaum (190 km/188 miles) and Bangalore (350 km/ 217 miles).
By Train: Hampi is well connected by railways to different parts of India. The nearest railway station from Hampi is Hospet, which lies at about 13 km from Hampi.
By Road: Hampi is well connected to Bangalore, Mangalore, Bijapur, Hubli, Guntakal, Hyderabad and Goa. The nearest town Hospet, has a bus station too with frequent bus services to the above mentioned cities.
Only basic to moderate amenities are present in Hampi.
Shanthi Guest House
Vikki Guest House
Behind the Tourist Office
Hotel Mayura Bhuvaneswari (08394 41574),
Inspection Bungalow (Power House Guest House)
3km from Hampi Bazaar.
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