Home to bygone ruins, rusty colors, and a breathtaking landscape, Hampi, the city of ruins, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the depths of hills and valleys in Karnataka. A delight for history buffs and architecture lovers, Hampi has over 500 ancient monuments, stunning temples, chaotic street bazaars, treasury building, and the fascinating ruins of the Vijayanagar empire. It is like a museum but an open one with 100 plus locations, which you can explore through a walk or a bicycle ride.
Hampi has its associations to olden times dating back to the mythological era of Ramayana and Mahabharat. It was the capital of the famous Vijayanagar Empire during the 1500 AD and the second largest city in the world during that time. It was also a major part of the Mauryan empire, the evidence for which can be seen through the architectures. Over a period, Hampi grew out of significance and is no more than a city in ruins now which can be explored all day.
The city is mysteriously enclosed by huge boulders on all sides which can be climbed with some efforts to get a magnificent view of the entire landscape. Hampi is located on the banks of Tungabhadra River and is renowned for its intricately carved temples and edifices such as the Virupaksha Temple, devoted to the patron deity of the empire. Some remains of the old aqueducts, canals, military barracks, and stables can also be found here. The city was designated as a UNESCO site in 1986 and still gives authentic vibes of the bygone era as very limited modern establishments have been allowed near the area. A must place to visit for all the history, architecture, arts, and travel lovers.
The city of ruins and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hampi has officially been in existence since the Mauryan empire,but mythical folklores take it back to the age of Ramayana and Mahabharat. The area was earlier known as Pampa Kshetra or KishkindhaKshetrawhich was derived from the old name of Tungabhadra River, Pampa. So, Hampi is basically an anglicized form of the Kannada name Hampe.
The first settlements of Hampi dates to the 1st century AD, and numerous Buddhist sites concerning to that time have been discovered nearby. Hampi had been a significant part of the Mauryan empire during the 3rd century BC for which there are several evidence. The rock monuments found in the Bellary district were commonly used for recording information during the period of Ashoka. Vijayanagar City came into existence in 1336 AD and was ruled by four different dynasties, for which Hampi had been the capital for all of them. The Vijayanagar empire rose to prestigious heights under the rule of King Krishnadeva Raya of the Tuluva dynasty.
Hampi Vijayanagar Empire:
Also known as Karnata Rajya, the Vijayanagar Empire was established in 1336 AD by Harihra I and Bukka Raya I of the Sangama Dynasty. The empire rose to power by fighting off Islamic invasion towards the end of the 13th century. Vijayanagar Empire was known for its efficient governance and strong trade connections abroad which helped Southern India rise to new heights in both technology and fine arts. Several architectural specimens in the form of temples and palaces to showcase their mastery can be seen in Hampi. Intricate engravings of horses or yali (hippogryphs) can be found standing around 8 feet tall on temple pillars are some of the architectural elements of the Vijayanagar empire. The ruins, the concert halls, bazaars, and stones speak of the excellence of Vijayanagar Empire.
Some Mythological Associations of Hampi :
Sprawled in an area of 30 square kilometers, there are several archaeological ruins and monuments in Hampi that are preserved in ideal condition and are visited by numerous travelers from across the globe. Monuments such as Virupaksha and Vitthala temples are one of the most famous and visited monuments but one stroll through the city and you will witness several other not so popular temples and palaces that are equally fascinating. Mostly the archaeological ruins of Hampi are in the northern part of the city while the rest of them are scattered across the city.
The major tourist spots here can be divided into two parts – Hampi Bazar area and the Royal Center near Kamalapuram.
Hampi Bazaar Area:
The Royal Center:
Anegundi is another famous tourist area which is a fortified place north of Hampi Bazaar and has several ancient temples around it. Some other attractions in Hampi that must also be visited are:
Following is a list of some of best restaurants in Hampi to try the local delicacies as well as sumptuous meals:
Hampi is a UNESCO heritage site and is a well-preserved tourists spot of olden ruins. Several ancient monuments and temples from the Mauryan and Vijayanagar empire can be seen here, and the city still hold the charm of the bygone days with a serene atmosphere and stunning landscape.
Some of the top places to visit in Hampi are: Virupaksha temple, Vithala temple, Lotus Palace, Yantrodharaka Hanuman Temple, Hampi Bazaar, and Hippie Island.
Hampi is in the southern state of Karnataka.
Hampi was founded by Harihra I and Bukka Raya I of the Sangama Dynasty in 1336 AD.
There are numerous hotels and heritage resorts near Hampi where you can stay during your tour.
Hampi was destroyed during the battle of Talikota in 1565, which was a coalition of Muslim Sultanates with the Vijayanagar empire. They caught and beheaded the king Aliya Rama Raya and demolished a major portion of the architecture and infrastructure fabric of Hampi and the metropolitan Vijayanagar.