Hampi - Enter a bygone era!Name : Subramanian R (email@example.com)Date of Visit: April 17th and 18th 2010
Index• About Hampi• Location details• A peek into the history of Hampi• Monuments of Hampi• Itinerary to cover Hampi on a weekend• Reaching Hampi from Bengaluru• Few Precautions
About HampiOnce the capital of the magnificent Vijayanagar empire, Hampi is now among the top tourist destinations in India. The ancient ruins and monuments are spread across an area of 26sq kms , thus making Hampi the worlds Biggest Open Air Museum. Bounded by the river Tungabhadra on one side and with eccentric giant boulders on the other sides, Hampi offered natural defense to its rulers. Hampi was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986 and since then has mesmerized tourists from all over the world.
Location Details Hampi is a village in Bellary district of Karnataka, India. It is situated at a distance of 346 km from Bengaluru , 74 km from Bellary and 13 km from Hospet. Hampi Source of Maps: YahooMaps and Hampi.in
A peek into the History of Hampi• History of Vijayanagar’s had been a saga of resistance against the northern Sultanates as well as building of its spectacular capital in Hampi.• Ruled by four dynasties namely the Sangama, Saluva, Tuluva and Aravidu Dynasties between 1136 AD and 1759 AD.• City was founded by Hakka and Bukka under the guidance of Guru Vidyaranya who wanted to build a strong force to resist the invading armies of the Mohamediens.• King Krishnadeva Raya (1509-1529 AD) of the Tuluva Dynasty stands tall among the rest. During his regime the empire saw its peak. Vijayanagara Empire covered the whole of south India and beyond.• The capital Hampi was one major trading center, anything from horses to gems was traded in Hampi. Art and architecture found its special place here. The rulers were great patrons of art and religion.• The warring Deccan Sultanates could finally join together in 1565 AD to defeat the Vijayanagara army at Talaikota, a place north of Hampi.• Vijayanagar army suffered heavy losses. The capital city was plundered, its population massacred. Treasure hunters ransacked its palaces and temples for months.
Monuments of HampiSacred Center : Royal Center :• Virupaksha Temple •Hazar Rama Temple• Vittala Temple •Mahanavami Dibba• Lakshmi Narasimha Temple •Lotus Mahal• Badavi Linga Temple •Elephant Stables •Stepped Tank - Pushkarni water tank• Kadalekalu Ganesha •Zenana Enclosure• Sasivekalu Ganesha •Ancient Bridge• The King’s Balance• Hemakuta Temple (also known as Jain temples) Map of Hampi
Virupaksha TempleBuilt in 7th century AD, the Virupaksha temple on the south bank of the riverTungabadra has been functioning uninterruptedly ever since its inception in the 7thcentury AD, dedicated to Lord Virupaksha (Shiva) and his concert Pampapati. Thetemple complex expanded over the years and a major renovation was performed byKrishnadevaraya in the 16th Century. The 12 tier 50 m high gopura of the temple is thetallest in the state of Karnataka.
Vittala Temple As the epicenter of Hampis attractions, Vittala Temple is the most extravagant architectural showpiece of Hampi. Built in the year 1513 AD by King Krishnadevaraya. The highlight of Vittala temple is its impressive pillared halls and the stone chariot. Vittala, after whom the temple is known, is a form of lord Vishnu. This aspect of Vishnu was worshiped in this part of the country as their cult deity by the cattle herds.
Lakshmi Narasimha Temple This is the largest statue in Hampi. Narasimha is sitting on the coil of a giant seven-headed snake called Sesha. The heads of the snake acts as the hood above his head. The god sits in a cross- legged Yoga position with a belt supporting the knees. Carved in the year 1528 AD by Krishnadevaraya, the original statue contained the image of goddess Lakshmi, consort of the god, sitting on his lap. But this statue has been damaged seriously during the raid leading to the fall of Vijayanagara.
Badavilinga Temple and King’s Balance Badavi Linga This is the largest monolithic Linga in Hampi. Located next to the Narasimha statue the Linga is housed inside a chamber with an opening in the front. A close look on this icon can reveal three eyes (depicting the three eyes of Siva) carved on it. Legend has it that this was commissioned by a peasant woman and hence the name (Badva means poor in kannada). King’s Balance . This 16th century balance also known as "Tula Bara" is 5 meter tall and is a very simple structure. It is believed that on special days like Solar or Lunar eclipse King used to weigh himself in gold, silver, gems and precious stones. Then this used to be distributed among the priests. .
Kadalekalu and Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple Kadalekalu Ganesha - This giant statue Kadalekalu Ganesha of Ganesha was carved out of a huge boulder at the northeastern slope of the Hemakuta hill. The belly of this statue resembles a Bengal gram (Kadalekalu, in local language) and hence the name. This 4.5 meters (15 feet) tall statue is one among the largest sculptures in Hampi. Sasivekalu Ganesha Sasivekalu Ganesha - This monolithic statue carved out of a huge boulder measures about 2.4 meters (8 feet). An open pavilion is build around the statue. According to inscriptions found nearby this pavilion, it was built by a trader from Chandragiri (in present day Andhra Pradesh)in 1506 AD, in memory of one of the Vijayanagara king Narasimha II (1491-1505 AD)
Hemakuta Temples Some times referred to as Jain Temples, these clusters of temples on the Hemakuta hill is one of the beautiful sites in Hampi. Thanks to its architecture these temples are mistaken for Jain Temples. In fact most of them are dedicated to Siva worship. These smart looking compact temples with pyramid-like roofs resemble that of the Jain temples.
Hazar Rama TempleThis 15th century shrine of Lord Rama located in the Royal Area of Hampi is popularlycalled "Hazara Rama Temple". Inside walls of the temple have the scenes from Ramayanaand other scriptures. Devaraya I erected it in the early 15th century. This is the onlytemple in the area with its external walls decorated with five rows of bas-reliefs. Theyportray the processions of elephants, horses with attendants, military contingents, anddancing girls.
Mahanavami DibbaIn the Royal Enclosure zone of Hampi this is a giant 3 layer structure and is the tallest inthis area. From a distance this looks very simple elevated square stage and may notgenerate any interest to go near it. But as one approaches the structure, more detailsemerge and one can appreciate the marvel in stone. The platform is known as theMahanavami-dibba (House of Victory).
Lotus Mahal and Elephant Stables Lotus Mahal Built in Indo-islamic style, Lotus Mahal is a successful fusion of temple-like elements of Vijayanagara styles and sultanate elements. Curved leaves, pyramidal towers depict temple-like elements then the lobed arches, plaster designs depict sultanate elements. The base of the structure depicts a Hindu foundation of stone just like in the temples. Elephant Stables It was meant for the royal elephants. There are eleven stables here. All these are nearly interconnected with small doors. This building with archs is built of stone and mortar. The domes over the roof are of different types - circular , ribbed ones and vaulted octagonal ones.
Stepped Tank and Zenena Enclosure Stepped Tank The stepped tank of 15th century within the Royal Enclosure of Hampi is one of the very ornate and proportionate in terms of design. This square tank built using black chlorite schist measures about 22 meters in square. It is 7 meters deep. It has five distinct tiers, each fitted with symmetric steps set in a pleasing pattern. Zenena Enclosure This whole area was the private enclosure for the royal women folks. The Queen’s Palace (only the basement is visible) is located here. Measuring about 46 x 29 meters, this has been the largest palace base excavated in the Hampi ruins so far. The four corners of the fortifications have watch towers.
Ancient Bridge Historians believe that this had been constructed by Kampabupa , brother of the king Harihara II. The bridge is constructed at a point where the River Tungabhadra makes a bifurcation and immediately rejoins to form a tiny rocky island. The bridge runs through this island. This location was selected as there could have been no way to put up a bridge on the rocky bed of a torrential river.
Others…. Tungabhadra River Anjaneyadri Hill Other places that can be covered around Hampi are :• Anjaneyadri Hill – Birth Place of Lord Hanuman• ASI Museum at Kamalapura• Anegondi – Older capital of the region.• Tungabhadra Dam near Hospet.
Itinerary to cover Hampi on a weekend• A weekend is just sufficient to cover Hampi monuments. Travel can be planned to leave Bengaluru by Train/Bus to arrive at Hampi on Saturday Morning.• Monuments in the sacred center can be covered on Saturday and monuments in the Royal center on Sunday.• Once done, a overnight journey by Train/Bus can get u back to Bengaluru Monday morning.• Hampi can be explored on foot (in the right season), on bi-cycles/mopeds or four wheelers. Hiring a guide helps in place a like Hampi which is very much spread across and mine of history to be unraveled.• If time permits, places around Hampi can be covered and a they require a vehicle.• Don’t miss the Mango tree restaurant for the delicious food set along the banks of Tungabadhra.
Reaching Hampi from Bengaluru• By AirHubli 153Km away and Bellary 50 Km (check current status of flights) are the nearest Airports and have daily connections to the Bengaluru Airport.• By train– Nearest railhead is Hospet, 9Kms away. Ideal train would be Hampi Express (#6592), departs Bengaluru at 9 PM, arrives at Hospet 7:05 AM the next day. Leaves Hospet at 8:30 PM and reaches Bangalore next day at 6:10 AM. For bookings visit www.irctc.co.in.All trains details• By CarDistance – 346 Kms. Drive till Chitradurga on NH-4, take a right turn on NH-13 towards Sholapur till Hospet, and then drive another 13 km to reach Hampi .Road Map• By BusKSRTC operates one direct Rajahamsa service to Hampi and many services are available to Hospet town which is 13kms away. For bookings and schedules visit www.ksrtc.in.
Best time to visit• The “On Season” time of Hampi is November - February when there is a large inflow of foreigner tourists. However, the best time to visit Hampi would be in the months of July - September when the weather is rainy and the city is not crowded. Most of the restaurants and guest houses shut operations in “Off Season”.• Hampi Temperature - Hampi’s weather is generally warm and dry. During the summer season (March to May) the temperature reaches a maximum of 40°C. Monsoon (June to August) brings some wet weather with good showers. The winter weather in Hampi is from November to February, during which the climate is very pleasant and cool. During winter day temperature is less than 30°C and night temperature can go as low as 12°C.• Hampi Utsava - Hampi hosts Hampi Utsav every year during first week of November.This is one of the biggest attractions for tourists to visit Hampi. Cultural Performances , Lighting of the ruins and the VIPs add to its glory. However this is a very busy period in Hampi. During the festival the last-minute hotel prices also go high. So book well in advance if possible
Few Precautions• River Tungabadhra - One of the risky things in Hampi. Depth and current of the river are bit deceiving and adventures should be abstained from.• Nights at the Ruins - Avoid roaming the sites during night, particularly the remote ones and when you are alone.• Heat - Never underestimate the heat and dust of Hampi. The summer temperatures can reach 40 °C ( 104 °F) . Once you are out for the site visit, Hampi is an open expanse with not many shelters. Carry sufficient water and skin creams to protect yourself from ill effects of heat.• As usual Hampi has its share of crooks and even when hiring a guide look for his identity cards.• The law in Hampi prohibits preparing and serving non-vegetarian foods. Respect the holiness of the city.• Being a holy city, alcohol is banned in Hampi. Please do not try to consume alcohol while in the vicinity and respect the law.
Miscellaneous but useful tips…• If you are travelling by car, try doing the journey by day as NH-13 from Chtiradurga to Hospet has lot of oversized humps with no indication of their presence. Adding more misery would be the heavy commercial goods vehicle traffic that this road carries.• Coming to stay, Hampi offers lot of guesthouses and home stay options. But if you are very particular about infrastructure, prefer staying at Hospet as the options are wide and they stand a value for money preposition. It hardy takes a 15 minute drive to reach Hampi from Hospet.• For very comprehensive information and maps of sites in Hampi, visit www.hampi.in, to post queries on Hampi, visit www.indiamike.com and try posting your queries in the relevant thread in the forum.