Hampi, in Southern state of Karnataka in India near modern city of Hosepet, is the fantasy world of rocks & ruins and carnival of carvings in stone. The city was the centre of Hindu Vijayanagar Empire in 14th century. Destroyed by Sultanate armies in 1565 AD, Hampi ruins in 16 sq. kms still have more than 1600 surviving remains that includes “forts, riverside features, royal and sacred complexes, temples, shrines, pillared halls, mandapas, memorial structures, water structures and others”. Group of Monuments of Hampi ruins is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hampi was a prosperous, wealthy and grand city near the Tungbhadra river, with numerous temples, farms and trading markets. By 1500 AD, Hampi-Vijayanagara was the world’s second-largest medieval-era city after Beijing in China, and probably India’s richest at that time, attracting traders from Persia and Portugal.
Photo : Virupaksha Temple , Coracle boat , Vittala Temple, Narsimha , Ramachandra Temple , Eleophant stable , Lotus Temple , Hemkuta Hills
Virupaksha Temple and market complex is the oldest pilgrim and still is an active Hindu temple. The temple has a large Gopuram (entrance) built in 1510 AD and has carvings and sculptures including erotic on its each storey. Temple has 100 Pillar hall with reliefs on all four sides of each pillar and the paintings on the ceiling depicting various stories of God Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Out-side the temple are the ruins of the 750 meters long stone market.
Vitthala Temple and market complex, about 3 kms from Virupaksha Temple is near the banks of Tingbahdra river. It is the most artistically sophisticated Hindu temple in Hampi. The stone chariot in the courtyard is the temple showpiece. Various halls with beautiful carvings on its walls were used for different occasions like weddings, public meetings, and religious ceremonies. The hall used for public celebrations of music and dancing has 56 carved stone beams of different diameters, shape, length and surface finish that produces musical sounds when struck
Monolithic statue of Narsimha depicts the incarnation of God Vishnu in the form of Man-Lion seated in Yoga position.
Ramachandra Temple also referred as Hazara Temple is dedicated to Lord Rama, an incarnation of God Vishnu. Built in early 15th century was the ceremonial temple for the royal family. Temple is well known for its thousands of carvings and inscriptions. Its elaborate frescoes depicting Hindu theosophy and its sprawling courtyard laid with gardens.
Elephant stable and enclosures consist of eleven square chambers with arched openings used for elephants. The Lotus Mahal combines a symmetrical, square, Hindu mandala design with lobed arches, vaults, and domes of the Indo-Islamic style.
Perhaps the best experience is to watch sun set from Hemkuta hills surrounded by hundreds of small and mid-size temples and ruins of temples and the the best-preserved examples of pre-Vijayanagara and early-Vijayanagara temples and construction. The hill has more than thirty small-to-moderate-sized temples, together with water cisterns, gateways, and secular pavilions including two monolithic statues of Ganesha.
Special Experience: Coracle boat ride in Tungbhadra river through the history