Hampi is a historical town near Bangalore in Karnataka. This ancient land was once the capital of the Vijayanagar Empire. Hampi was the largest city of its period with great and dynamic architecture. The town is famous for its historical temples, ruined palaces, old marketplaces, antique structures, and many others. This ruined city is on the edge of the Tungabhadra River in the Bellary district.
It is a dynamic and dramatic place dotted with several historical monuments. This town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hampi attracts numerous tourists around the world for its spectacular architecture depicting the glorious period of the Vijayanagar empire. This city has uncountable things to experience and explore. The town is the major center to learn about the culture along with the beautiful traditions of the region.
The glorious history of Hampi
This rich and cultural place has various stories of its prosperity and spectacular landscape. The history of Hampi is a mixture of folklore and mythologies. This place was established by Saint Vidyaranya with the help of his two followers Buka Raya and Haka Raya in 1336 AD.
The town was ruled by different dynasties for more than 200 years. And become the capital of the Vijayanagar Empire which was the greatest kingdom in the world at that time. Hampi was magnificent as well as flourished place famous for its cotton and spice trades. In 1565 the Sultan’s of Deccan attached the empire and destroyed the town brutally. They looted and ransacked the town for about six months and converted it into a ghost town.
According to Hindu mythologies, this place was earlier known as the Kiskindha Kshetra described in Ramayana. In this city, various big stones are pilled up everywhere which are believed to be pilled up during the battle between Sugreeva and Bali. This town is also dotted as the birthplace of lord Hanuman. However, many stories, as well as beliefs, can be found here which has made the city an open museum.
How to explore the town
Hampi is a place where you will find uncountable must to witness places and things. This is a city with more than 100 tourist attractions. It is the place that you cannot complete in one day or in rush. If you want to visualize the glory of its monuments and learn about their stories, then it’s important to make a trip of at least three days.
- Day 1 :- Start your Hampi exploration with the historical temples and ruins of the town, to see its astonishing architecture. It is good to roam in the temple side of Hampi and try to cover all the nearby temples of the town with a guide.
- Day 2 :- After acknowledging the historical monuments for a whole day, next went to Hippie Island. It is the place where you will find the place to stay as well as various café and restaurants. This location is named Island because it is surrounded by the Tungabhadra River. It is a good location for shopping in Hampi. The thing to remember is to take enough cash with you as no ATM is available here.
- Day 3 :- Last day here is a bonus period when you can explore and experience the town by yourself. On the last day, it is worth visiting the famous Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary and trying the Coracle ride available everywhere in the town. This is the time when you can sit silently and relax while enjoying the sunset at Matanga Hill.
Must visit temples
- Virupaksha Temple :- This is the oldest temple in the town built in the 7th century. This temple has beautifully defined architecture on its walls and pillars. This place is dedicated to Lord Shiva. However, earlier it was a small temple but was converted into a complex during Vijayanagar Empire rule.
- Vijaya Vithala Temple :- It is a temple of Lord Vishnu and a must to visit location here. This temple has astonishing architecture which is made with geometrical structures. This wonderful place has three main structures to see the Stone Chariot, Musical Pillars (Ranga Mantapa), and Main Hall (Maha Mantapa).
- Lakshmi Narasimha Temple :- It is a big statue of Lord Vishnu sitting on a coiled seven-head snake in a yoga position with the figure of Goddess Lakshmi on its lap. This structure was broken by the Mughals during their attack on the Vijayanagar Kingdom. So, it is not worshipped anymore but it is a significant structure you can see in the town near Hemakuta hill.
- Monkey Temple :- This is the birthplace of Lord Hanuman on the top of Anjaneya Hill. This place is 500 years old and is also known as Yantrodharaka Hanuman Temple. From here you can have a picturesque view of the town. Additionally, for reaching the temple one has to climb 560 steps of the hill.
Major attractions of Hampi
- Lotus Mahal :- It is a spectacular landmark in the town resembling the shape of the Lotus flower. This is one of the not damaged structures of the town during the Mughal attack. This beautiful location was designated for royal women. The central dome of the palace is like a bud of the flower and others resemble the blooming flower.
- Queen’s Bath :- This is the most beautiful place to visit and witness in Hampi. The place has excellent Vijayanagar architectural carvings on its balconies as well as on pillars. It is in the Royal Enclosure built 500 years ago. However, the place has a garden outside the rectangular bathing chamber. This place is made in such a way that no one will enter here without permission.
- Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary :- It is a wildlife sanctuary spread across an area of 80sq. km in Sandur Taluk hillocks. This sanctuary was established in 1994 earlier this place was a dense forest. This park has 120 Indian Sloth Bears and many other unique species of animals. Here you can also find some endangered birds and insects.
- Elephant Stable :- This is the place where royal elephants were kept during the Vijayanagar Kingdom. The place has a total of eleven chambers with a center hall having the shape of the famous temples of the town on its top. It is one of the not destroyed structures in the town, having Indo Islamic Architecture.
Things to do in Hampi
- Coracle Ride :- This is something that you can never miss while visiting the town. It is a must-to-do adventure here. This is a circular boat in the Tungabhadra river which is led by the natives of the region. It is an experience that can only be experienced here only.
- Bike Rides :- This is the best to do a thing in the city. It is the most convenient and affordable experience to explore this hidden gem of Karnataka on a bicycle. Tourists here rent cycles or mopeds for visiting the different destinations which are not so far from each other.
- Rock Climbing :- This city is a renowned location for rock climbing in the country. Climbers from across the world visit here for experiencing this real-life adventure on the blunders of Hemakuta Hill, Raghunatha, and Tiruvengalanatha temple.
- Sunset Views :- The town has so many hills around it and the highest hill here is Matanga Hill. This hill is a famous spot for trekking as well as for rock climbing. Tourist visit here for having a panoramic view of the town and for enjoying the sunset from its top. The sunset view from this hill is mesmerizing.
Best time to visit Hampi
The best time to visit Hampi is in the months from October to March in the winter season. During these months the weather here is pleasant and cold. The highest temperature here is 40° and the lowest is 12°. Therefore, in winter the climate here is good for sightseeing and wandering on the streets. Tourists also visit here during summer also but mostly prefer to visit during this time of the year. Because during the month of November the famous Hampi festival is celebrated here which is the biggest festival in the region.
Hence, Hampi is the ruined gem of Karnataka state. This place is a museum in itself explaining the great history of the Vijayanagar Empire. Tourists in the count of thousands from across the world visit here every year to explore its stunning architecture and glory. This town itself is a magnificent and breathtaking monument hiding uncountable stories along with mythologies. The city has a deep connection with the Ramayana. Therefore, visiting Hampi is a profitable deal for history lovers as well as for explorers.
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