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Tour Destinations In Karnataka - Hampi

Earlier History | Culture of Karnataka | Facts & Figures | Beaches in Karnataka | Cuisines | Festivals | Around Karnataka

Hampi the seat of the famed Vijayanagara empire was the capital of the largest empire in post-mogul India, covering several states. The empire reigned supreme under Krishnadevaraya, the Emperor. The Vijayanagara empire stretched over at least three states - Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh. The destruction of Vijayanagar by marauding Moghul invaders was sudden, shocking and absolute. They reduced the city to ruins amid scenes of savage massacre and horrors beggaring description.

Although in ruins today, this capital city once boasted riches known far beyond the shores of India. The ruins of Hampi of the 14th Century lies

scattered in about 26 sq. km area, amidst giant boulders and vegetation. Protected by the tempestuous river Tungabhadra in the north and rocky granite ridges on the other three sides, the ruins silently narrate the story of grandeur splendor and fabulous wealth. The splendid remains of palaces and gateways of the broken city tells a tale of men infinite talent and power of creativity together with his capacity for senseless destruction.

Strewn over a large area (about nine square miles) the ruins at Hampi offers to the tourist a remainder of the greatest land in the whole world. Every rock, every path and every monument at Hampi speak the same language; a language of glory and beauty.

In March 2002, the Government of India has announced that Hampi would be developed as an international destination centre. The State Govt will constitute a Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority for integrated development and conservation of Hampi.

Places of Interest


Virupaksha
The Virupaksha Temple rises majestically at the western end of the famous Hampi Bazaar. The temple has a 120 feet tall tower on its eastern entrance. The temple contains the shrines of Shiva, Pampa and Bhuvaneswari.Parts of this temple are older than the Vijayanagar kingdom itself. The work of this style dates back to the 11th or 12th century.
Nearby is the 6.7m tall monolith of Ugra Narasimha. An inscription nearby states that it was hewn from a single boulder in 1528 during the reign of Krishnadeva Raya.
 

Vithala Temple Complex
The most splendid monument of Hampi is undoubtedly the Vithala Temple Complex with its 56 musical pillars. To the east of the hall is the famous Stone Chariot with stone wheels that actually revolve. In front of the shrine stands the great mantapa. Resting on a richly sculpted basement, its roof is supported by huge pillars of granite, about 15 feet in height, each consisting of a central pillar surrounded by detached shafts, all cut from one single block of stone.Several of the carved pillars were attacked with such fury that they are hardly more than shapeless blocks of stones and a large portion of the central part has been destroyed utterly.Nearby is the 'PurandraDasara

Mantapa ' which has been also declared a protected monument.

House of Victory
It was built when Krishnadeva Raya came back from his victorious expedition against the King of Orissa. The spaces between the rows of the plinth-mouldings here are most elaborately and elegantly carved. The kings of Vijayanagar used to sit on a grand throne in the House of Victory and witness the nine-day Dasara festival.

Westwards from the House of Victory, leading through two ruined gates, the path leads to the Hazara Ramaswami temple. This temple is believed to have been the private place of worship of the royal family. The chief attraction of the temple is the series of scenes from the Ramayana carved on two of the inside walls of the mantapa. The genesis of the place known today as Hampi dates back to the age of the Hindu epic Ramayana when it was the site of Kishkinda, a monkey kingdom.

King's Balance
Hampi is also full of surprises: like the King's Balance where kings were weighed against grain, gold or money which was then distributed to the poor, the Queen's Bath, a swimming pool, 50 ft.long and 6 ft.deep, with its arched corridors, projecting balconies and lotus-shaped fountains that once sprouted perfumed water, the two-storeyed.
 

How to Reach

By Air:
Bellary is the nearest airport to Hampi. Air Deccan operates direct flights to Bellary Airport from Bangalore and Goa.

By Rail: Hampi do not have a railway station of its own and the nearest railhead to Hampi is Hospet, which is about 13 km from Hampi. There are about 10 daily trains and about 5 special trains, which ply once or twice a week. Two of these trains are from Bangalore.

By Road: Hampi is well connected by road to Bangalore and other major cities of Karnataka. KSRTC buses ply regularly from Hospet to Hampi. Travellers can either avail taxi or auto-rickshaw to explore the ruins of Hampi. Bicycles can also be obtained on rent.
 

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