Hampi – The Ruins of Vijayanagara (Part 1)

Hampi is a remote village in northern Karnataka, was once the capital of the mighty Vijayanagara Empire. In its prime it was one of the richest and largest cities of the world. It is situated on the banks of Tungabhadra River. It is surrounded by hills on three sides and gushing Tungabhadra on the other. The ruins of Hampi stand testimony to the architectural splendour of the Vijayanagara era. The huge boulders from the surrounding hills where used in carving the temples and other structures of the capital city. The ruins are declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. Its magnificent and functioning temples make it a pilgrim’s delight and the royal pavilions and buildings make it a backpacker’s paradise.

The nearest rail head is Hospet which is 13 kms from Hampi and is well connected by a fleet of state transport buses and rikshaws. It is 535 kms from Bangalore and is 74 kms away from Bellary the district capital.

There are basic accommodations available near the Hampi bus stand and around Hampi bazaar. Almost every village household will provide homestay and local food. There are many lodges with A/C, TV and Wi-fi connections. During season it is a must to make prior reservation otherwise you may find it difficult to get a decent accommodation. There are few roof top restaurants which offer temple views and river views. “Mango Tree Restaurant” is the best which is always crowded with tourists, a hot favourite among foreign tourists.

The best time to visit Hampi is from November to March. The best way to explore Hampi is by foot but make sure you can cover 10 to 15 kms a day. It is really interesting to explore the ruins by walking through the paddy fields and banana plantations with occasional breaks with coconut water and bananas which are available with vendors at every nook and corner. Alternatively you can hire a bicycle from one of the shops in Hampi Bazaar. Most of them rent bicycles on hourly basis and daily basis on very reasonable rates. You can hire rikshaws also on daily basis but only after negotiating the prices before starting the tour.

Monuments of Hampi

VIRUPAKSHA TEMPLE

The main attraction of Hampi is the Virupaksha Temple Complex with its imposing tower of the entrance gopura, which is 50 meters high. This is a functioning temple and the main point of interest for the pilgrims.

Entrance Gopura of the Virupaksha Temple
Entrance Gopura of the Virupaksha Temple
Painted Ceiling of the Mandapa in Virupaksha Temple Complex
Painted Ceiling of the Mandapa in Virupaksha Temple Complex
Stone Carvings inside the Mandapa of Virupaksha Temple
Stone Carvings inside the Mandapa of Virupaksha Temple
Carvings in side the Mandapa of Virupaksha Temple
Carvings in side the Mandapa of Virupaksha Temple
Carvings on one of the Pillars
Carvings on one of the Pillars
The Columned Gallery inside the Virupaksha Temple Complex
The Columned Gallery inside the Virupaksha Temple Complex
The Stone Carved Urn inside the Virupaksha Temple
The Stone Carved Urn inside the Virupaksha Temple
The Pillared Hall inside the Virupaksha Temple Complex
The Pillared Hall inside the Virupaksha Temple Complex

HEMAKUTA HILL & GANESHA MONOLITHS

From the main gopura of Virupaksha Temple turn right and follow the stepped path to reach the Hemakuta Hill and the two Ganesh Monoliths.

Kadalekalu Ganesha
Kadalekalu Ganesha
Sasivekalu Ganesha
Sasivekalu Ganesha
Carved Column of the Ganesh Shrine
Carved Column of the Ganesh Shrine
Vendor Selling Tender Coconuts
Vendor Selling Tender Coconuts
Hemakuta Hill Top
Hemakuta Hill Top
Inscriptions on the Hemakuta Hill Top
Inscriptions on the Hemakuta Hill Top
Lingas Carved on the Hemakuta Hill Top
Lingas Carved on the Hemakuta Hill Top
A Small Water Body at the Hemakuta Hill Top
A Small Water Body at the Hemakuta Hill Top
Virupaksha Temple Complex as Seen from Hemakuta Hill Top
Virupaksha Temple Complex as Seen from Hemakuta Hill Top
Shree Krishna Temple Complex as Seen from Hemakuta Hill Top
Shree Krishna Temple Complex as Seen from Hemakuta Hill Top
Hemakuta Hill Top
Hemakuta Hill Top
A Stone Structure at the Hemakuta Hill Top
A Stone Structure at the Hemakuta Hill Top
The Captivating View of the Sunset from the Hemakuta Hill
The Captivating View of the Sunset from the Hemakuta Hill
The Captivating View of the Sunset from the Hemakuta Hill
The Captivating View of the Sunset from the Hemakuta Hill

MATANGA HILL

Matanga hill is one of the important places to visit in Hampi, which will offer the best aerial view of Hampi and its environs. There are many paths that lead to the top of Matanga hill where the Veerabhadra temple is located. There is a stepped ramp at the west and trekking trail on the north. The climbing will take around 30 to 40 minutes. There are around 500 to 600 steps to reach the top. In some places these steps are very tricky and one must be very careful especially while descending. The best place to watch the sunset and sunrise are from the roof of the Veerabhadra temple.

From Matanga hill top one can get the spectacular view of the ruins of Hampi, surrounded by huge boulders from all the three sides and the Tungabhadra River on the other and green patches of paddy and banana fields strewn around. You can identify each and every monument that you have visited in the previous day.

On the way to Matanga Hill
On the way to Matanga Hill
On the way to Matanga Hill
On the way to Matanga Hill
Steps towards the Matanga Hill
Steps towards the Matanga Hill
Markings on the rock to guide on the right path
Markings on the rock to guide on the right path
More steps in between the huge boulders
More steps in between the huge boulders
Views of the fields as you go up and up
Views of the fields as you go up and up
More views as you climb up
More views as you climb up
Tungabhadra River and the way leading to the Achutaraya Temple as seen from Matanga Hill
Tungabhadra River and the way leading to the Achutaraya Temple as seen from Matanga Hill
Boulders and more boulders
Boulders and more boulders
The view of the Virupaksha Temple Complex from the top of Matanga Hill
The view of the Virupaksha Temple Complex from the top of Matanga Hill
The aerial view of the Achutaraya Temple Complex from Matanga Hill
The aerial view of the Achutaraya Temple Complex from Matanga Hill
The spectacular sunset from the Matanga Hill
The spectacular sunset from the Matanga Hill

UGRA NARASIMHA STATUE & BADAVILINGA TEMPLE

The Ugra Narasimha statue is carved out of a single stone and is 6.7 meters in height. It was made in the year 1528 during the reign of Krishnadevaraya.

The Ugra Narasimha Statue
The Ugra Narasimha Statue
Another View of the Ugra Narasimha Statue
Another View of the Ugra Narasimha Statue

Located next to the Ugra Narasimha statue is the monolithic Badavilinga statue. It is housed in a closed chamber with an opening in the front. A close look can reveal three eyes of the Siva.

The Monolithic Shivlinga
The Monolithic Shivlinga

THE UNDERGROUND TEMPE

The underground temple so called because once it was partly buried but now fully exposed by excavation. The interior is still partially covered under water. The temple was originally consecrated for Virupaksha.

The Entrance Gopura of the Underground Temple
The Entrance Gopura of the Underground Temple

One of the Carved Pillars inside the Temple
One of the Carved Pillars inside the Temple

View of the coconut trees around the temple
View of the coconut trees around the temple

Next to the temple is the area which is still under excavation by the ASI
Next to the temple is the area which is still under excavation by the ASI

THE ZENANA ECLOSURE & LOTUS MAHAL

The Zenana enclosure was reserved for the royal women and was protected by walls and watch towers. The main attraction is the Lotus Mahal. The Queen’s palace is also visible but only the basement.

The Lotus Mahal
The Lotus Mahal
Lotus Mahal seen with the watch tower
Lotus Mahal seen with the watch tower
A closer look of the carved arches
A closer look of the carved arches
The encircling walls and the watch tower
The encircling walls and the watch tower

THE ELEPHANT STABLE

The Elephant Stable is a major attraction of Hampi and one among the few least destroyed structures. The long building with row of 11 chambers was used to park the royal elephants. Metal hoods used to tie the elephants can be seen on the inside roof.

The Elephant Stable
The Elephant Stable
The view of the elephant stable with the parading ground
The view of the elephant stable with the parading ground
The structure with arcaded veranda on the north side of the Parade Ground
The structure with arcaded veranda on the north side of the Parade Ground

HAZARA RAMA TEMBLE
This temple was dedicated to Lord Rama and it was once the private temple of the Vijayanagara kings and the royal family. This temple is famous for its panels depicting the story of Ramayana. It was build during the time of Devaraya II.

The Main Façade of the Hazara Rama Temple
The Main Façade of the Hazara Rama Temple
The carved pillars of the temple
The carved pillars of the temple
One of the carvings inside the temple
One of the carvings inside the temple
One of the carvings inside the temple
One of the carvings inside the temple
The Ramayana Story depicted on the wall panels
The Ramayana Story depicted on the wall panels
Carved pillars in front of the temple complex
Carved pillars in front of the temple complex
Another view from inside the temple
Another view from inside the temple
The carved water outlet from the Sanctum
The carved water outlet from the Sanctum
The ornamental carvings on the external of the temple
The ornamental carvings on the external of the temple
The depiction of the Ramayana on the walls
The depiction of the Ramayana on the walls
A view of the external compound wall of the temple
A view of the external compound wall of the temple

THE QUEEN’S BATH

The Queen’s bath is believed to be built by King Achutaraya for the women of the royal family. This is located just outside the royal enclosure and built in the Indo Islamic style of architecture. This rectangular structure covers an are of 30 square meters.

The Queens Bath
The Queens Bath
The arched corridor of the Queen's Bath
The arched corridor of the Queen’s Bath
The intricately carved ceiling of the Queen's Bath
The intricately carved ceiling of the Queen’s Bath

MAHANAVAMI DIBBA

One of the main attractions of Hampi is Mahanavami Dibba or Dasara Dibba, constructed by Krishnadevaraya to commemorate his victory over Udaygiri. This grand platform was used as stage by the kings to watch the celebration of the nine day long splendid Mahanavami festival. This platform has a height of around 12 meters. All the three tiers of the platform is richly decorated with engravings.

The Mahanavami Dibba
The Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The Engravings on the Mahanavami Dibba
The remains of the other structures around the Mahanavami Dibba
The remains of the other structures around the Mahanavami Dibba
The Pushkarani - A stepped tank around the Mahanavami Dibba
The Pushkarani – A stepped tank around the Mahanavami Dibba
The duct through which water was brought to the tank
The duct through which water was brought to the tank

GANAGITTI JAIN TEMPLE & BHIMA’S GATE
Ganagitti temple is one of the earliest structures constructed during the reign of the Vijayanagar empire. The temple was constructed by Iruguppa Dandanayaka one of the ministers of Vijayanagara during the reign of King Harihara II. It was consecrated in the year 1386.

The Ganagitti Jain Temple
The Ganagitti Jain Temple
Stone Inscriptions Inside the Temple Compound
Stone Inscriptions Inside the Temple Compound
Stone Inscriptions inside the Temple Compound
Stone Inscriptions inside the Temple Compound

Bhima’s Gatewy is one of the many gateways of the ancient walled city. The gateway is a classic example of Vijayanagara military architecture. The gate got its name from the legendary Bhima of Epic Mahabharata, the strongest of the Pandava brothers. There is an impressive carving of Bhima with Saugandhika flower in his hands.

The Bhima's Gate
The Bhima’s Gate
The Carving of Bhima with Saugandhika Flower in his hand
The Carving of Bhima with Saugandhika Flower in his hand

PATTABHIRAMA TEMPLE

Though bit off from the main tourist trail this temple is notable for its size and completeness superb example of the Viyayanagara style of architecture.

The Entrance Gopura of the Pttabhirama Temple
The Entrance Gopura of the Pttabhirama Temple
The Gallery with Columns in front of the main Temple
The Gallery with Columns in front of the main Temple
One of the carved pillars
One of the carved pillars
The exterior wall of the Sanctum
The exterior wall of the Sanctum
The pillared gallery inside the Temple
The pillared gallery inside the Temple Complex
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s