Best Places to Visit in Hampi

Stone Chariot, Hampi

Hampi, previously Vijayanagar, is one of the most astounding tourist places in India. The rich history of Hampi makes it a place worth visiting in one’s lifetime. Hampi was the main capital of the Vijayanagar Empire. It was founded by Bukka and Harihara in the year 1336. The empire flourished for around 200 years before falling to Muslim rulers in North India during 1565 in the battle of Talikota. The Vijayanagar Empire saw its Golden era during the rule of King Krishna Deva Raya of the Tuluva dynasty. Hampi is a land of grandeur where mythology and history merge. Hampi is basically a cluster of zones and villages that are interconnected by roadways and sometimes by ferries. The important areas of Hampi include the sacred center, the Royal Center, the Islamic quarter, the Kamalapura and the Anegondi.

There are innumerable places to visit in Hampi. If you are a photography enthusiast, or an archaeology enthusiast then Hampi is a place that you must visit. The aesthetically beautiful Hampi tourist places are a photographer’s paradise. The history laden places in Hampi has numerous unique Vijayanagara style architectural monuments and temples which are a must see for history and architecture enthusiasts. If you think that Hampi has only temples and monuments to offer, then you need to take a look at the beautiful boulder lined hills along the Tungabhadra River. Backpackers can derive the ultimate thrill by setting on foot along the Tungabhadra and devour in the beautiful sight. The best way to discover Hampi is by taking a walk among the ruins and losing your self in the beauty of the bygone era. In Hampi, you will be on an endless trail of discovery, and before you can realize, you will be absorbed in this fascinating place. You can know more about Hampi tourism from the internet and plan your tour.

Hampi is generally hot and dry. The summers last from March to June and the temperature can shoot up to 40 degrees, which dissuades outdoor activities. Monsoon lasts from June to August and is the perfect time for you if you love the rain. The outpour washes down the dry earth, monuments and the trees. A lush green scenic beauty is unleashed, and you can absorb in the freshness and revel in it. Winter lasts from November to February and is the most ideal time to visit Hampi. The temperature hovers below 34 degree centigrade and can fall as low as 12 degrees at night time. The winter month are pleasant and sees the maximum footfall. Hampi is easily accessible from all major cities and towns. You can look up Hampi Karnataka India map to get the detailed location of the place. You can also consult the various Hampi maps that enumerate the rail, road and air connections to get to Hampi.

There are multiple routes to reach Hampi. Whether you travel by rail, bus or car your main point of entry to Hampi is the sleepy town of Hospet. Hospet is well connected with major cities and towns like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mysore, Bangalore, Hubli, Belgaum, and Bijapur etc. To reach Hampi you need to reach Hospet as it is the nearest town to Hampi with railway station and bus stop. Your travel to Hospet may require multiple modes of transport as there are no direct connections. Once you reach Hospet, you can take a local bus or auto rickshaw to Hampi which is 14km away from Hospet.

If You are in Hampi, Then the Ten Main Attractions that You Must See are as Follows:

The Kodandarama Temple

Kodandarama Temple, Hampi

This temple has immense religious significance. This temple is renowned more for its religious importance than for architectural significance. It is visited by many faithfuls who come for pilgrimage in Hampi. Kodandarama temple, when literally translated from the local dialect means crowned Rama. This temple has important mythological implications. It is said that Lord Rama killed Vali in this very place and crowned Sugreeva. The humble shrine has more stories to tell than it meets the eye. This temple harbors a sacred bathing spot which is one of the holiest pilgrimage spot for the Hindus. The proof of this temple being a holy spot for centuries is evident long the ancient pavilions, which are next to this temple, where pilgrims used to rest. Enclosed in the sanctum of this temple are three tall statues of Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana. The idols were carved on a huge boulder at the hill side.

The temple sanctum as well as the pillared pavilions was added around the idols at a later stage. If you visit Hampi during monsoon you can see water rising and reaching up to the temple courtyard. The only way to reach this temple is via foot or on a bicycle. From the Virupaksha temple you need roughly 45 minutes to reach Kodandarama temple on foot. Before visiting this sacred temple you should keep in mind that it is an active religious place and therefore must maintain decorum and etiquette suitable for places of worship. If you are in Hampi, then make sure that you do visit this beautiful temple.

The Bhima’s Gateway

Bhima’s Gateway, Hampi

The Bhima’s gateway is abounding with the tales from Mahabharata. The BhIma’s gateway is one of the many gateways to the city. This gateway arouses interest on account of its style of construction and the carvings engraved on it. This gateway is an example of the Vijayanagara Military architecture. As is evident from the name, this gateway has been named after Bhima, a legendary character from the Mahabharata. A figure of Bhima is carved on the gateway. The gateway draws attention towards it because of its tricky design. It is impossible to cross the archway in a straight line. You have to enter this archway through a western arch and as you walk straight ahead you will encounter a huge wall like structure. To go around this wall like structure you need to go right then left and then finally turn left to exit at the north.

The importance of this construction is that it was used to tackle invading armies and catch them off guard. It was not an easy task for elephant mounted armies to go around this puzzling gateway. This gave the defending army to launch a counter attack. The Bhīma’s gateway is also renowned for the carvings. These carvings typically depict scenes from the epic Mahabharata. These scenes are carved as murals on the gate. A visit to this gateway is a must if you are in Hampi. There is no entry fee. Most of the temples are all clustered together so you can easily visit other sites from the gateway.

The Badavilinga Temple

Badavilinga Temple, Hampi

This temple is close to the Lakshmi Narasimha temple, and you can visit both of them together. The Badavilinga temple is located close to Narasimha statue. The main Linga is housed is a chamber that has an opening in the front portion. There are umpteen numbers of Shiva Linga all over the country, but what makes the Badavilinga temple stand apart is that it is the largest monolithic Linga in Hampi. The name of this temple has a unique origin. It is said that this temple was commissioned to be built by a local peasant woman, and therefore it has been named Badavilinga as Badva when translated from the local dialect mean poor. If you take a close took at the shrine you can see three eyes carved on it, which depicts the three eyes of Lord Shiva.

An important piece of Hindu mythology is ingrained in all temples of the Lord Shiva. Based on the Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva volunteered to take the impact of the flowing Ganges on to his head to prevent its destructive forces from splitting the earth. To depict this all temples dedicated to Lord Shiva have a pot with dripping water over the Shiva Linga. The Linga in the temple is housed in a sanctum which is always filled with water and has a channel for the water to flow. You may have seen a Shiva Linga umpteen times all over India but make sure you catch a glimpse of the deity at Hampi as it holds a special place and importance for the local people here.

The Chandikesvara Temple

Chandikesvara Temple, Hampi

This temple is well known for its typical Vijayanagara style architecture. It is a Vaishnava temple and is not used for religious purpose at present. This temple is noteworthy for its pillared front hall. The temple is designed like a campus and has pillars decorated with various themes, acting like a porch to the temple campus. There are two shrines within the temple compound. The main shrine is located in the centre while the other shrine is located at the North West. At present, the shrines are devoid of idols. It is believed that the central shrine had a Vaishnava idol and the second shrine was dedicated to a goddess.

The decoration and architecture at the temple has typical Vaishnava theme. The main hall of the temple has pillars depicting Vaishnava themes such as Garuda-the eagle, Kamadhenu-the godly cow, Hanuman and many other Vaishnava themes. All the pillars are connected by lotus bud tipped capitals with the granite beams that support the roof. If you go to the southwest of the temple’s compound you can spot the ruins of the hall that is believed to have served as a sanctuary for the pilgrims. This temple is easily visible from the main road to Hampi as its porch protrudes on to the main road. This is one of the most easily accessible temples in Hampi, and so tourists should pay close attention to avoid missing it. There is no entry fee, and there is no bar on photography.

The Krishna Bazaar

Krishna Bazaar, Hampi

The Krishna bazaar is associated with the Krishna Temple and is a relatively new excavated site. The Krishna bazaar is low lying in comparison to the area close to the temple, which is built on elevated ground. While going to the Krishna bazaar you will have to tread some broad steps which lead to the bazaar from the temple. Being low laying the Krishna bazaar got covered with silt over time and later it got converted into a banana plantation. It was due to the excavators efforts of the  that this historically important place was excavated, and today this once busy and crowded market place is for all to see. If you are an archaeology enthusiast then this site will certainly interest you.

If you enter from the side of the Krishna temple you can spot many interesting excavations such as rows of pavilions along the bazaar street, cobbled pathways and other interesting structures. An interesting structure among these ruins is the Pushkaran or the sacred tank. There is a small pavilion at its centre, and there are innumerable carved aquatic devices to feed water into the tank. Near the bazaar, there is a large rectangular pavilion curved out of a huge boulder, and there is a small rectangular opening at the top. It is said that devotees used to offer food grains in this box. If you visit Hampi then ensure that you don’t go back without visiting this newly excavated Krishna Bazaar as it has many interesting sights to offer.

The Virupaksha Temple

Virupaksha Temple, Hampi

The Virupaksha temple Hampi dedicated to lord Shiva is one of the most important and famous temple in Hampi. The Virupaksha temple is one of the oldest functioning temples in Hampi. The temple was constructed in the 7th century AD. The temple has been used for religious purpose uninterrupted since the time of its construction. This grand temple is attributed to the Vijayanagara kings from the 14th century. Having stood the test of time, the Virupaksha temple testifies the rich history of this region. Initially when the temple was construct it was very modest and had only a few idols of god and goddesses. With the passage of time as various dynasties came to power, the Hindu kings added to the temple by building towers, pillars and even a temple kitchen.

Today the temple has many shrines, which were added during the years. The interior of the temple has carvings that testify how different rulers had molded it. The carvings differ in genre. Each of the carvings have some or the other story behind it. The carving sequences portray historical and mythological tales. The Virupaksha temple has so much of history associated with it that you should go there with enough time to explore the place as much as possible. Inside the temple, you can find a shrine for the Virupaksha and a shrine for the sage Vidyaranya. If you visit the place in the morning or in the during the evening hours, you will be able to catch a glimpse of the rituals. The temple opens early morning and entry fee along with fee for still camera, and video camera is levied.

The Stone Chariot

Stone Chariot, Hampi

The stone chariot, located inside the Vittala temple, is one of the major attractions of Hampi. The stone chariot is not a chariot per se, but it is a shrine that is built in the fashion of a chariot. The chariot appears as a monolithic structure, but in reality it is built of innumerable pieces of granite, craftily joined together to make it appear as though carved out of a single boulder. The shrine lies in the axis of the Vittala temple and faces its sanctum. The shrine once contained the icon of the Garuda who is known as the lord of eagles. The Garuda is considered as the mount of Lord Vishnu who is the other form of Lord Vittala. The entire chariot is built upon a rectangular platform which has mythical battle scenes carved all around it.

The wheels of the chariot are decorated with concentric floral motifs. It is thought that the wheels were once free to move. The undercarriage of the carriage sports beautifully carved paintings, and they were preserved from the wind and rain owning to their position. This shows that the entire Vittala Temple might have been beautifully painted, but time weathered them out. There are two elephants positioned just in front of the chariot. There were many other structures associated with the chariot but with time they just disappeared. The earliest photograph of the chariot bears testimony to this fact. If you visit Hampi, then you should visit this shrine as it is one of the most beautiful carving of the bygone era.

The Vijaya Vittala Temple

Vijaya Vittala Temple, Hampi

This temple is a must visit for all tourists to Hampi. It has been declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. The sheer beauty of the temple architecture keeps you mesmerized. The Vittala temple was built around the 15th century and with the passage of time came under the reign of several Hindu rulers. The temple was molded, and various structures were added to by various kings and the remains of the Vittala temple that we see today bear a testimony to the rich history of the bygone era. The temple is built within a large campus area, and it is bounded off by compound walls and gateways. Within the boundary wall of the Vittala temple, there are numerous temples, pavilions and halls. This temple has some exquisite pillared halls and some of the granite pillars have extraordinary sculptures and carvings on them.

The Stone chariot is situated within the compound of the Vittala Temple and is the main tourist attraction. The temple is mainly dedicated to the Lord Vittala who is another incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vittala was primarily worshipped by the cattle herds. One of the unique characteristics of the pillars at the Vittala temple is that it is said the pillars give out melodious sounds on striking them and hence they are called the musical pillars. However, being delicate, tourists are prohibited from touching them. The remains of erstwhile Vittalapura Township can still be seen surrounding the temple. You can take photographs of the beautiful architecture of this temple.

The Kadalekalu Ganesha Temple

Kadalekalu Ganesha Temple, Hampi

The Kadalekalu Ganesha temple is one of the major attractions of this region. The Kadalekalu Ganesha is one of the largest Ganesha idol in this region. This huge Ganesha idol was carved out of a single large boulder at the slopes of the Hemakuta Hill. It is said that the belly of the statue resembles Bengal gram, and therefore the name Kadalekalu was given to it. In front of the temple, there is an open porch, and it is adorned with slender long pillars that are so typical of the Hampi architecture. Each of those pillars are beautifully carved and decorated with mythical themes. The scenes depicted include that of infant Krishna hiding on a tree and his hiding the clothes of the courtly women.

The Kadalekalu Ganesha statue is 4.5 meters tall and one of the largest in Hampi. A sanctum is built around this statue. The pillared hall in front of this sanctum is every bit as mesmerizing as the statue itself. You do not have to pay any entry fee to visit this beautiful temple. If you love moving around with your camera, then you can make the maximum utilization at the Kadalekalu temple. There is no prohibition on photography, and you can capture the beauty of the temple without any restriction. From the pillared hall, you can get a great view of the Hampi bazaar and the foothills of the Matanga hill. If you are visiting Hampi then make sure that Kadalekalu temple is on your list of the must see temples in Hampi.

The Courtesan’s Street

The Courtesan’s Street, Hampi

The courtesan’s street is near the Achyuta Raya temple. The importance of the courtesan’s street lies in the fact that it signifies the important trading centre that Hampi used to be in the bygone days. There are many pillars on either side of the street that were once part of the pavilion. The street is said to be 50 meters wide and about half a kilometer long. The street testifies that Hampi was an important commercial and trading center at one point of time. As you stand on the courtesan street you can see the unfinished pillars on one side of the street. There is also a small tank in the north end portion of the street which is said to be connected to the Achyuta Raya temple. You can find pillars near this tank with elephant carvings on their base.

The courtesan’s street was the trader’s and merchant’s hot spot, and they came from different places all over the world to trade in various items ranging from gems to items of necessity. The Courtesan’s street is accessible on foot. In fact as already mentioned, Hampi is best discovered either on foot or on a moped. The courtesan’s street as well as other temples, pavilions and shrines keep the rich history of Hampi alive. Hampi is full of interesting archaeological excavations. Some of the sites in Hampi are still under excavation and history keeps unfolding with time. Hampi is dotted with umpteen numbers of temples, and though there are only ten most interesting places mentioned here, you can discover a lot more when you visit Hampi.

If You Visit Hampi, Then You can Lodge With any of the Following Hotels:

Hotel Mayura Bhuvaneshwari

Hotel Mayura Bhuvaneshwari is located at Hampi, and it is a government of Karnataka Undertaking. It is one of the finest hotels in Hampi and the location is convenient as due to is good connection with all the major tourist spots in the city. The hotel is well connected with Hospet via road and rail. Once you reach Hospet you can avail of either train or road transport and reach the hotel which is at a distance of 15km from Hospet. The hotel provides all basic amenities. You can choose from the standard non-A/C room, the A/C semi deluxe room, deluxe room and presidential suite. There is 24 hours water supply so you need not worry about the availability of water. There is attached bathroom and T.V in all rooms. Additional the hotel has a bar and a restaurant. The rate varies with the type of room that you opt for.

The Malligi Hotel

The Malligi hotel is one of the best options you have among all the Hampi hotels. The hotel excels in its service to customers. The classic atmosphere and elegance of the hotel adds to its beauty and charm. If you opt to stay in this hotel then be ready to get top notch hospitality. This hotel is very conveniently located at the intersection of Hampi road and Bellary road. If you come to Hampi by bus then you can reach the hotel within minutes on foot, and if you arrive by train it is a 10 minute drive from the station. Malligi provides top class amenities for all its guests. You can rejuvenate at your private guest room, cool off at the pool or unwind at the spa. You can avail of the great dining experience at their restaurant.

The Royal Orchid Central Kireeti

The Royal Orchid Central Kireeti is another great option you have when travelling to Hampi. The hotel is located just one km from Hospet and at a distance of 25 km from the world heritage site of Hampi. It is a relatively new 5 star resort promoted by the Royal Orchid groups of hotels. It is a contemporary hotel which provides modern facilities like swimming pool, spa, 24 hour coffee shop, as well as a business center. There are 135 rooms and you can choose from among the deluxe rooms, Executive suite or the presidential suite. Apart from all the basic facilities, the hotel provides amenities like LCD TV, DVD player, Electronic safe Deposit, bathrobes, Tea-Coffee maker, mini bar and high speed Wi-Fi in all rooms. The rates differ with the type of room that you avail of, and they include breakfast. Hotel Royal Orchid is a great option if you travel to Hampi.

Vijayshree Heritage Resort

One of the best resorts in Hampi is the Vijayshree Heritage Resort. This resort is easily accessible from Hospet. Whether you travel by air, rail or road, you can easily reach the resort from Hospet. There are a number of facilities at the Vijayshree heritage resort which you cannot avail of at any other resort. There are forty five cottages from which you can choose. You can opt for a royal apartment with Jacuzzi. There is a swimming pool and also a pool for children. There is the facility of 24 hour café, in-house laundry and dry cleaning, 24 hours energy back up, Nirvana Health Spa, beauty salon, snooker desk, Wi-Fi connectivity and a host of other such facilities. You may request for themed dinner and can also avail of other facilities that are available on request. The Vijayshree resort gives holistic services, which are bound to make your stay in Hampi worthwhile and thoroughly enjoyable.

The Hotel Krishna Palace

The hotel Krishna Palace is another good option when you visit Hampi. The hotel is situated in Hospet and is easily accessible form the Bus stand and is at a distance of 1km from the railway station. The hotel provides luxury with a traditional touch. Apart from the basic amenities the hotel provides facilities like beauty salon and many others. You can avail of rooms according to your convenience and the rates vary accordingly. You can choose to dine at Fiesta- the restaurants at the hotel which provides the finest quality meal. You can enjoy yourself at their bar with the finest cocktails. Alternatively you can also choose to avail of their banquet hall facility which can easily accommodate up to 250 people. Hotel Krishna palace is one of the finest serving hotels in Hampi, and if you visit Hampi then Hotel Krishna Palace can be worth your consideration.

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