ReligiousThe Virupaksha temple, the most famous and important temple of Hampi, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is situated very close to the Tungabhadra River. The local bus also stops close by. It is one of India’s oldest functioning temples, since the 7th century AD, the time when it was constructed.
Much smaller in size at the time, it only had a few shrines that had the gods and goddesses. Gradually as time passed, under the interest shown by many Hindu kings, the temple became bigger with the addition of other shrines, lamp posts, towers, pillars and also a temple kitchen.
The temple walls have carvings that are different in genre from each one. Each carving sequence has a historical or mythological story behind it. Some of them are carved just for the simple reason that they are auspicious.
It may take an hour or so to go around exploring the temple. Usual temple rituals can be observed in the morning and in the evening. Inside there is a shrine for the Virupaksha and a shrine for the sage Vidyaranya.
HistoricalQueen's Bath was a royal bath constructed for the kings and wives to take bath and is located in Hampi. Basically, it is a rectangular building, which has a long veranda inside that leads to a square tank of 6 feet depth from all sides.
During the Kings reign, water in the tank is believed to be filled with perfumes and fragrance flowers for the royal bath. The architecture resembles an Indo-Saracenic style and looks more like Islamic style than the Hindu style.
There is a pond that encircles the building, which lies outside the Queen's bath. The building has a crude design that prevents any intruders from walking into the place where the royal women take their bath.
Now, one can find a small garden at Queen's Bath, which is made just in front of the bath. It is a favorite spot for the local picnics groups. Admission is free & photography is also allowed.
Tourists, photographers, archeologists and historians will enjoy a visit to the Queen's Bath. Reaching the Queen's Bath is easy as Hampi is well connected with the cities nearby. Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, Vithala Temple Complex, Hazara Rama Temple and Old Palace are some attractions nearby.
HistoricalThe Elephant Stable near Lotus temple is an important site at Hampi that draws many tourists. This building which was once used to tie up elephants is now preserved as a monument.
There are eleven rooms adorned with high domes and roofed with amazing carvings. The centre hall is quite big and more decorated and it has a larger dome. There are metal hooks hanging on the top which were used to tie the elephants and manholes are located at the rear of each hall through which mahouts can enter the elephant compartments. The architecture clearly displays the royal extravaganza in olden days and detailed workmanship.
There is a nominal entry fee for the tourists and there is some charge on cameras as well. From here one may proceed to the Guard's Quarters and to the Ranga Temple located nearby. There is also a museum housing an exhibition of gold, stone statues and pictures. The Lotus building and the Queen's baths are also worth seeing.
The best time to visit the place is between September and February when it is cool. A visit to Hampi is recommended to casual tourists, photographers as well as history buffs and archaeology students.
Vijaya Vittala Temple
HistoricalOriginally built in the 15th century A D, Vittala Temple is one of the most popular attractions in Hampi’s. Built in a rich architectural style, this spectacle is in an expansive campus with compound walls and towers as gateways. Also constructed along are many temples, pavilions and halls within the campus.
Vittala is another incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who was amongst the ordinary people and is worshipped as a deity by the cattle herds. There are still the remains of a township called Vittalapura, which existed around this temple compound. Vittala temple has extraordinary pillared halls and the stone chariot and is also the chief attraction of the temple. Also, present are an array of sculptures on the giant granite pillars carved in the halls. Vithala Temple Complex Historical Vithala Temple is one of those exceptional pieces of architecture, located in Hampi. On visiting the site, you will realize it was built in the form of sprawling campus with compound wall and gateway towers. Vithala is a form of Lord Vishnu who is being worshipped at this temple.
There are numerous halls, pavilions and temples present inside the campus of temple complex. The temple chariot at this place is very distinctive. Like most of the temples here, Vithala is also in ruins and the idol here was moved to another temple in Maharashtra during some attacks.
Temple and Vithala Temple complex are located on either sides of the Hampi Bazaar Street. If you go further ahead, there is a Shiva temple and even further, you will reach a riverside. If you have more time to spend, you can take a ferry to the other side of the river. The Hanuman temple is located there.
Tourists, archeologists, photographers and families will find a trip to the Vithala Temple interesting. A trip to Hampi is like traveling back in history as it displays the great engineering skills art and creativity of the olden times. Hampi is easily accessible from the nearby towns. Museum Muesuem The museum that is run by the government has many different things that were discovered while excavating the site. The museum is a small one. It has about two models of Hampi that show the topography of Hampi.
The museum is comprised of four sections. They include the models, daily use products of the ancient people of Hampi, the royal remains and other artefacts of Hampi’s ancient culture. Mahanavami Dibba Historical The Mahanavami Dibba is the tallest structure that can be observed in the enclosure. Three layers make up this square structure. The top can be reached by two stair cases Which has carvings of elephants, horses and others on the front. The back portion of the structure has a twin staircase that is not as decorative as the front one.
One can climb up from the front staircase and reach the top that provides a complete view of the town and get down through the other staircase.
King Krishnadevaraya had built this after his victory in Udayagiri, presently in Orissa. This was used by the kings to see the processions of the army, other celebrations and most importantly the Navarathri celebrations of their empire. Statue of Ugra Narsimha Historical The statue of Ugra Narasimha is a monument located in Hampi. Ugra Narasimha means Narasimha of terrifying countenance. Created from a single rock, Ugra Narasimha was installed in the year 1528 AD. The Narasimha image has a mane, broad chest and bulging eyes and is seen seated on the coils of Adishesha, the seven hooded snake. The entire image is set within a Makara Torana. Ugra Narasimha had a smaller image of Goddess Lakshmi seated next to him which was damaged in the Battle of Talikota.
The largest monolithic structure in Hampi, Ugra Narasimha was built from granite. Though granite is not suitable for intricate art work, the delicacy of art was compensated by the size of the sculptures. The statue of Ugra Narasimha is a perfect example of volume.
Many student communities, tourists and history enthusiasts visit this monument and it is part of all the guided heritage tours.
The Underground Shiva Temple and Akka Tangi Sister Rock are the other attractions located close to Ugra Narasimha.
Hampi is one of the prominent tourist hotspots and shared taxis, cabs, rented mopeds and rented cycles are available here. The best time to visit Hampi is during the Hampi Utsav celebrated in November. Hampi Bazaar Historical Hampi Bazaar is located in front of the Virupaksha Temple in Hampi.
About a kilometre long, the bazaar is lined with a series of granite pavilions, some of them two storied. These structures were once part of a thriving market belonging to the Vijayanagara Empire.
All of these pavilions have been encroached upon and converted into shops, restaurants, and homes. Many guest houses can also be found in the Hampi bazaar area, mainly catering to backpackers. There are numerous shops that sell items like ethnic clothes, bags, and religious artefacts and this is also a good place to buy souvenirs. A photo gallery in the bazaar displays photos of the monuments in Hampi which were taken by Alexander Greenlaw in 1856.
Now the entire stretch in front of the temple has been razed to the ground, leaving hundreds of people with no means of livelihood.
The monolithic Nandi, Virupaksha Temple and the Hemakuta Hill are situated at a walking distance from Hampi Bazaar.
The bazaar is a perfect place for morning walks and also the ideal place where you can spend quality shopping time with your loved one.
The best time to visit Hampi Bazaar is between September and March. Matanga Hill Historical Matanga Hill, located in Hampi is well known for its association with the epic Ramayana. Today, it is a hotspot tourist destination because of its temples and trekking tracks. Standing on the roof of Veerabhadra Temple on top of the Hill one gets a magnificent view of the city. People come here to view sunrise and sunset.
River Tungabhadra, Achyuta Raya Temple and the Kodanda Rama temple are some other nearby religious attractions. Hill peak is on the southern side. Cart trail and Turthu canal can be seen from here.
For trekking enthusiasts there are many tracks around Matanga Hill. Most popular track is one in the north starting from Humpi bazaar to Achyuta Raya Temple. Another trekking path in the west leads to the top from the bottom of the Hill and is in the form of a stepped ramp. There are no roads to the top.
The Matanga Hill tour is free for all. There are no entrance fees or camera charges. However, the lighting being poor in the neighbourhoods, a torch light will be handy for the tourists, if they plan to stay longer after sunset.
The Matanga Hill is easily accessible from all parts of Hampi town. Hemakuta Hill Temple Historical Hemakuta Hill near Hampi is famous for its cluster of temples, archways and pavilions scattered all over the top. Most of these are dedicated to Lord Shiva and are built in 10th century AD. It takes only 15 minutes to climb to the top from the famous Viroopaksha Temple at the end of Hampi bazaar.
On top of the Hemakuta Hill a series of temple complexes can be seen. There are at least 3 dozen stone structures on top and the biggest ones are on the northern side. Because of the pyramid like structures, these temples are often mistaken for Jain Temples. Construction is in 'Trikutachala' style with three temples with sides at right angles facing a central courtyard.
A shrine of Hanuman from where tourists get a good view of sunrise and sunset, a two storey archway and a monolithic Sasivekalu Ganesha statue are other attractions located close by.
The Hemakuta Hill is open for all and does not charge any entrance fee or other charges.
If you are a historian, photographer, tourist or an archeology student, you will find many interesting spots in and around the Hemakuta Hill. It is easily accessible from all parts of Hampi. Hazara Rama Temple Historical The Hazara Ramaswamy temple is located at the heart of the historical town of Hampi. It is a small temple in comparison with the others at Hampi. The outside walls of the temple are decorated with sequences from the Ramayana. Till now, this is the only temple with such carvings on the outside walls of the temple compound.
The temple has a blanket of green lawn from which a mud path is seen. This leads to the Pan Supari Street further down. Close to this temple are the Zenana Enclosure and the Lotus Mahal.
At the north-east corner, the Danaik’s enclosure and the underground Shiva temple can be found. There are many more shrines and pillars inside the temple premises. Daroji Bear Sanctuary Wildlife Natural Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary is located near Hampi. Established in the year 1994, this sanctuary is home to the endangered sloth bear.
Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary is the ideal habitat for sloth bears that prefer to live in the small rocky caves on stony hillocks. The staple food of bears is termites and honey, which are also available here. Waterholes have been added by the sanctuary staff who have put in a lot of effort for the upkeep of the sanctuary.
The sanctuary is also home to many other wild animals, reptiles and avian species.
The best time to visit the sanctuary is from August to April when the animals are sighted best. Timings to visit the sanctuary are from 6 am to 6 pm on all days. The ticket charge for adults is INR 50 and for children is INR 25.
A visit to the Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary is considered to be a fun as well as educational trip for the whole family, but do not forget to wear dark coloured clothes.
Daroji Bear Sanctuary is situated at a distance of 15 km from Hampi and is accessible by road.
One can visit the heritage sites at Hampi while visiting the sanctuary.
HistoricalThe Monolith Bull is located in Hampi. The idol of Nandi, Shiva's vehicle, facing the sanctum sanctorum is a very common sight in every Shiva temple. However, the Monolith bull of Hampi is the star attraction in this town.
This massive monolithic stone Nandi bull idol is housed in a two-storey pavilion constructed on a high platform near the east end of the Virupaksha Bazaar Street. It is placed in the background of a heap of mammoth boulders. There is a big stone lamp station with metal spikes over it at a little distance in front of the idol.
This Nandi idol sits facing the Virupaksha Shiva temple, which is situated at the other end of the street. In fact the Virupaksha temple compound houses a Nandi statue that has three heads. The sheer size of Nandi bull idol, also known as Yeduru Basavanna, is simply overwhelming.
A visit to the Monolith Bull site is a must for the students of archaeology and architecture. Photographers will also benefit from a visit to the site.
The place is well connected by road. The weather is generally warm and dry and the best time to visit the Monolith Bull is from September to February.
HistoricalAchyutraya temple has a modern look from the other temples of the empire. This temple was probably one of the last temples built before the empire of Vijayanagara was wiped out.
The temple was constructed by a high official of Achutha Raya’s court that is dedicated to Lord Tiruvengalanatha, a form of Lord Vishnu. The hills of Gandhamadana and Matanga give a valley like shape to the temple and the street that is attached to it.
The main shrine of the temple is located in the middle of two courtyards that are concentric. These have many figures inscribed on them. Along the wall base, there are some pillars that are ruined.
There are many carvings on huge monolith blocks that depict mythological importance. At the chambers close to the various shrines, the walls are all carved with different stories from different epics and popular stories about the gods.
OthersCoracle is a small boat that was, and still is, used to travel from one side to the other. There are three places where the coracle crossings were in use, the first one being at the Virupaksha temple near the Ghat or bathing place to cross from the Virupapur Gadde. Tourists are also given a ride on it without any particular destination but just for the experience.
The second crossing is at the Kodandarama temple, also near the ghat. The most important third one is at the Vijaya Vittala temple and might have ended at the Anegondi village at that time.
The ferries can carry 5 to 6 individuals at a time.
HistoricalBalakrishna temple is a famous temple located in Hampi. Built by king Krishnadevaraya in 1513, this temple is a part of the Hampi ruins today. The main deity of the temple was Lord Krishna as an infant (Balakrishna). The original idol of the deity is now on display in the state museum at Chennai.
One of the must see sites of Hampi, the Balakrishna temple, enthrals both the devotees and the tourists alike. The ruins tell the story of the grandeur of Indian Architecture of yore. A major attraction here is the carvings of epics on the temple walls.
The best time to visit Hampi is during the months of October to March when the climate would be pleasant.
Apart from the ruins and other temples spread around the Balakrishna Temple, Hampi is also famous for Anegundi Fort, Hampi Bazaar, Monolith Bull, Mahanavmi Dibba, Old Palace, Royal Enclosures, Zenana Enclosure, Elephant Stables, Queen's Bath, Matanga Hill, Daroji Bear Sanctuary, Big Shivlinga, Hanuman Temple and the Hazara Rama Temple.
Hampi is a must-see destination not only for tourists and historians, but also for photographers and casual travellers. It is well connected with almost all of the important towns of the state.
Lakshmi Narasimha Temple
HistoricalLakshmi Narasimha Temple is a popular pilgrimage and tourist destination located near the Royal Centre.
This giant monolithic statue of the man-lion god is the largest icon in Hampi. Narasimha is found in a cross-legged seated position, sitting on the seven hooded Sesha snake.
Also known as the Ugra Narasimha, the original structure had his consort Lakshmi sitting on his lap. Now only the hand of Lakshmi can be seen attached to Narasimha at the back. The statue of Lakshmi was damaged during enemy invasion and is now one of the exhibits at the nearby Kamalapura Museum.
This is a perfect place for those who are interested in archeological monuments. The whole family can enjoy the heritage walks organized by guides. The weather in Hampi can be quite hot during the peak summers due to the heat emanating from the rock monuments. The best time to visit the monument would be between the months of October and February when the weather is cooler.
The Badavalinga Temple and the Krishna Temple are the other attractions located close to the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple.
Hampi is one of the prominent tourist hotspots. Shared autos, cabs, rented mopeds and rented cycles are available here.
HistoricalThe Purandaradasa Mantapa is an elevated pavilion found near the Vijaya Vittala temple. According to a popular folklore, the great saint poet Purandaradasa who is known to have composed about 75,000 songs once upon a time, sat here and sang songs in praise of his favourite god, Vittala.
The poet’s songs are sung even today, most popularly in the state of Karnataka. But, since none of his songs were written down, most of them have been lost and only about a thousand odd are known to exist.
These songs are now sung at the birth anniversary of the poet that Hampi celebrates at the same mantapa in the months of January or February for 2 to 3 days. That is also the time when noted Carnatic music singers render their performances.
The mantapa also has a small statue of Purandaradasa with the tambura, a classical music instrument. The pavilion is used to celebrate many religious festivals even today.
HistoricalMonkey Temple is situated on Anjanadri Hill in Anegundi. Believed to be the birth place of Sri Hanuman, Anjanadri Hill is located at a distance of 4 km from Hampi.
A flight of granite steps takes you to the Monkey Temple which is a small concrete structure and the idol of Hanuman is carved from a granite rock. Near the main idol, a small shrine for Sri Rama and his consort Sita is found. Beware of the monkeys around; as the name suggests there are many monkeys here.
From the top of the hill one gets to see Hampi and many of the heritage sites. The view of sun set and sun rise from here is spectacular.
Other attractions near Monkey Temple include Pampa Sarovara Laxmi Temple, Bukka's Aquaduct, Anegondi Fort and Rishyamukha Sarovara.
The ideal time to visit this place is from September to February when the temperature here is not very hot.
As Anjanadri Hill lies on the northern bank of the river Tungabhadra and very close to Hampi, it takes less than an hour to walk to Monkey Temple from here. One can also hire a coracle that will take you across Tungabhadra River to the base of Anjanadri Hill.
HistoricalThe Zenana Enclosure was initially a place that was restricted to the entry of royal women only. The enclosure has a huge wall to protect the harem and to the south-east corner, there is the famous Lotus Mahal.
The Lotus Mahal was built in the shape of the lotus. The building is 2 storied and was built with a sharp geometrical touch. This, to the Queen acted as a summer palace since it had many openings as windows.
The Zenana Enclosure has a huge compound with a mud road leading into it. This place was primarily for the Queen, her friends and for those who accompanied her. It was mainly the place where she stayed. The queen’s palace that is around 49x24 m is the biggest excavation that has been done in Hampi.
Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple
ReligiousThe Sasivekalu Ganesha temple is located at the southern foot of Hemakuta hill. The Ganesha idol here is a monolith that has close resemblance to mustard seeds owing to which, the locals call the Deity, Sasivekalu Ganesha, in the local language, Kannada.
Owing to popular legends that the deity ate too much and to protect himself from bursting, tied a snake to his stomach, the Ganesha has been carved in such a way that he sports a snake tied at his stomach, a broken Modak or a kind of sweet and a noose.
The hand in which he holds the sweet is broken. This idol is about 8 ft high. It has a large pavilion around it. According to the nearby inscriptions, the pavilion was sculpted by a merchant from Chandragiri in 1506 AD in memory of the then King Narasimha II.
Old Palace (Gagan Mahal)
HistoricalGagan Mahal is an old palace located in the sleepy little village of Anegundi near Hampi. This place is soaked in legends and history and lots of tourists visit this place during their tour in Hampi.
The 16th century palace is surrounded by a fort and most of its parts are in ruins now. This small yellow colour palace has protruded decorated windows and four beautiful towers. There are guides available who can walk the way around the palace and through history.
Anegundi has a plethora of other sightseeing places like Anjeyanadri Hill, Pampa Sarovara Laxmi Temple, Sabari cave, Srikrishnadevaraya Samadhi, Nava Brindavana, entrance gates and beautiful temples. Durga Temple, Ranganathswany Temple, Huchhappaya Matt and Pampa Sarovar are some of the other attractions that might be of interest to tourist visiting Anegundi.
The best time to visit the place is between October and March when it is cool. Public transport is almost nonexistent here. One can hire a two wheeler from Hampi and ride to river Tungabhadra and cross the river by a ferry to reach Anegundi. Else, one can hire a local auto for a full day tour of Anegundi covering all the important places.
HistoricalThe Talarigatta Gate is an arched structure, close to which the coracle ferry passes. This was one of the most important entrances to the empire.
The gate is in a damaged condition. There is a small Hanuman temple close to it. The Talarigatta Gate was once used as a toll gate, during the period of the Vijayanagara Empire. The whole fortification can be seen from the top of the gate.
HistoricalShivlinga, also known as Badava Linga, is a monolithic monument that is carved out of a single black stone. Situated in Hampi, this Shivlinga is 3 m in height. Locals believe that the Shivlinga was carved by a poor woman whose wishes were fulfilled by Lord Shiva. The beautifully carved linga has three eyes resembling the three eyes of Lord Shiva. It is placed in a chamber opened at the front side. A water channel has been made to flow through the inner chamber always keeping the level of water full. The pedestal of the Shivlinga always remains immersed in water.
Locals as well as tourists visiting Hampi visit this Shivlinga to enjoy the magnificent view of the huge idol. Though no offerings can be done here, devotees can offer special prayers to the idol and obtain the blessings of Lord Shiva.
Shivlinga is open on all days. Lakshmi Narsimha temple, located right next to Shivlinga, is also worth visiting while in Hampi. Shivlinga is included in the guided heritage walks organized in Hampi and lies on the main road to Hampi Bazaar.
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