Hampi or “The City of Ruins” is an ancient village situated approximately 353 km away from Bangalore, the capital city of Karnataka State. It is also called Hampe in Kannada, the state language. Hampe is also said to be the old name for Tungabhadra river as it is situated on its banks.
Hampi has also been called as Vijayanagara or Virupakshapura. Vijayanagara became most powerful during the reigns of Krishnadevaraya and Achyutadevaraya. This was also the period of greatest architectural activity, as both these rulers commissioned several buildings in the royal capital and in other parts of their vast empire. Lord Virupaksha, was the patron deity of the Vijayanagara rulers.
The Vijayanagar kingdom reached the height of its glory under Krishnadevaraya. The people traded in pearls, diamonds and silks. They also traded in horses. Vijayanagar became the strongest military power in the south. During his reign, the Vijayanagar Empire extended from Cuttack in Orissa to Goa on the west coast and from Raichur to the Indian Ocean in the south. It was the largest Hindu kingdom in India.
The architecture of Vijayanagar was big and grand in scale. It had large temple complexes with gopurams leading to multiple shrines. The buildings had beautiful mantapas and delicately carved granite columns. Krishnadevaraya built the famous Vithalswami temple, the grand entrance tower to Vithala and the temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and many others.
When he died in 1529, there was a struggle for power, and his brother-in-law Achyutraya became the King, but real power was in the hands of his prime minister Ram Raya. Vijayanagar did not have a strong after Krishnadevaraya.
The Bahamani sultans who were the traditional enemies of Vijayanagar, were waiting for an opportunity to attack. When they saw that there was no strong ruler, they attacked and defeated the Vijayanagar army in the Battle of Talikota in 1565. Thus the muslim invaders – the Bahmanis – conquered Vijayanagar and burnt and looted and plundered its beautiful sculptures and buildings. 250 years of a glorious empire came to an end and passed on into history.
Sri Virupaksha Temple: Virupaksha temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Pampadevi, this is the only temple here that is still used for worship. The temple, with its nine storied gopuram, towers above the other structures at Hampi. The Virupaksha Temple has a 160 foot high tower at its entrance situated at Hampi Bazar.
Vijaya Vithala temple: The Vijaya Vithala Temple is Hampi’s greatest glory, with a magnificent stone chariot standing temple courtyard. Equally impressive is the large Ranga Mantapa with 56 musical pillars that resound with musical chimes when struck.
Kadale Kalu Ganesha
Malayavanta Raghunatha temple
Sasive Kalu Ganesha
The Underground Temple
Uddana Veerabhadra temple
Yentrodharaka Anjaneya temple
Some of the other places where the tourists can visit are:
The Kings’ Balance
Aqueducts and Canals
Archaeological Museum, Kamalapura
Famous Stone Chariot
The annual Vijayanagar Festivals organized by the Government of Karnataka in November. This region also has a presence of several mineral deposits such as iron-ore and manganese.
Virupaksha car Festival is held during March or April.
Hampi has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage centre.
Other places near Hampi:
Anegundi: Anegundi is about 15 kms from Hampi. Anegundi lies in the mythical kingdom of Kishkinda, ruled by the monkey-king Sugriva of the Ramayana fame. Anjanadri Hill, near Anegundi, is believed to be the birthplace of the monkey god Hanuman.
Best time to visit: October to March
Distances from Hampi (Approx):
Bangalore: 353 Kms
Bijapur: 235 Kms
Bellary: 75 Kms
Aihole: 125 Kms
Belgaum: 263 Kms
Chitradurga: 150 Kms
Dharwad: 180 Kms
Goa: 312 Kms
Hubli: 160 Kms
Mangalore: 475 Kms
Mysore: 500 Kms
Pattadakal: 200 Kms
Hospet: 12 Kms
Routemap from Bangalore to Hampi:
Bangalore – Tumkur – Chitradurga – Hospet – Hampi
How to reach Hampi:
By Road: KSRTC Buses ply regularly from Bangalore to Hospet.
Nearest Airport: Bellary (75 Kms)
Nearest Railhead: Hospet (12 Kms)
Nearest Town: Hospet (12 Kms)