|Shri Virupaksha Temple||On the southern bank of the holy river Tungbhadra|
|Shri VijayaVitthala Temple||Situated about 2 kilometers from the market place of Hampi|
|Achyutaraya Temple||Located near bazaar|
|Hazara Rama Temple||Located in the midst of the Royal Center|
|Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple||Stationed at the southern footings of the Hemakuta Hills|
|Stone Chariot||Located in the Vittala Temple Complex|
|Ugra Narasimha||Located to the south of the famous Virupaksha Temple|
|Queen’s Bath||Situated in the Royal Center to the south of the famous Hazara Rama Temple|
|Mahanavami Dibba||Located near Pushkarani(Public Bath)|
|King’s Balance||Located to the southwest of the auspicious VijayaVitthala Temple|
|Lotus Mahal||Placed close to the Hazara Rama Temple|
|Elephant Stables||Located near Zenana Enclosure|
|Zenana Enclosure||Placed near the Royal Enclosure|
|Hampi Bazaar||Near the Virupaksha Temple|
|Anjanadri Parvatha||About 16km from the main site of Hampi|
|Tungabhadra Dam||Located about 16 km from Hampi towards Hopset|
|Anegondi||Located on the northern banks of the river Tungabhadra|
Shri Virupaksha Temple
Shri Virupaksha Temple also recognized by the name Pampapathi temple is one of the most sacred pilgrim destinations of Hampi. Positioned in the panoramic milieus on the southern bank of the holy river Tungbhadra, this shrine dedicated to Lord Virupaksha i.e. Lord Shiva is the oldest and the most famous places of worship here. Lord Shiva is known by the two names Virupaksha (the one with deformed eyes (called so due to his three eyes) and Pampapathi (the Lord of Pampa). Pampa is the original name of the river Tungbhadra. The Virupaksha Temple also houses the shrines of the Goddesses Pampa and Bhuvaneshwari.
Nestled at the foothills of Hemakuta Hills in the heart of the town Hampi, this temple of Lord Virupaksha is dated back to 7th century AD. At the time of its construction, this shrine was quite small in size. But gradually, several Hindu Kings developed the temple and brought it to its present stature and grandeur. The 50 meter high Gopuram of this temple majestically towers the entire town and stands revealing the cultural and architectonic heritage of Vijayanagara Empire. Smaller sub shrines, imposing towers, elaborate lamp posts, intricately carved pillars, marvelous gateways, colossal pillared halls and uniquely engraved temple walls amplify the magnanimity of this edifice of yesteryears.
King Krishnadevraya also contributed significantly in the improvement and expansion of this temple. The 38 beautiful pillars that support the Ranga Mantapam are divided into two vertical sections. One of them resembles Yali; a mythological lion and the other depicts various Shaiva Themes.
Shri VijayaVitthala Temple
Shri VijayaVitthala Temple, situated about 2 kilometers from the market place of Hampi is as remarkable for its religious worth as it is for its architectural adroitness. Originally constructed in 15th century AD in the honor of its presiding deity Lord Vitthala, the temple has undergone a number of changes and additions as a result of the interest taken by various kings of different clans. The explicit artwork and the intricate craftsmanship applied here has rendered this temple the best piece of architecture ever offered to the deity on the back of the earth. As the allegory goes, the temple was too grand for the Lord Vitthala or Lord Vishnu that the galvanized deity returned to his humble abode at Vaikuntham.
It is estimated that the construction of this peerless temple commenced during the governance of Krishnadevraya, the great monarch of Vijayanagara in 1513 AD. The work continued for next five decades and the enormous temple reached to its completion in 1565 AD. Based on the Dravidian style of architecture, this temple depicts the typical South Indian order of engineering. The small sanctum is fronted by a bigger Sabha Mantapam and the temple is fortified by a strong wall with 3 gateways.
The most remarkable feature of this temple structure is its Mantapam supported by 56 musical pillars that produce sweet melody when tapped gently. These pillars are also referred to as SaReGaMa pillars after the seven notes (surs) of music. Moreover, the VijayaVitthala Temple is also noteworthy for its beautiful monolithic structure of the stone chariot placed on an elevated platform adorned by delicate carvings.
An arresting example of how Vijayanagara style of architecture will look in its modernized garb, Achyutaraya Temple, dedicated to Lord Tiruvengalanatha (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) is dated back to 15th century AD. This edifice, due to its advanced fashion of Vijayanagara order is supposed to be one of the last pieces of architecture built before the decline and fall of Vijayanagara Empire. Erected during the dominion of King Achyutaraya, this temple of Lord Vishnu is set up amidst the valley like pattern created by the Gandhamadana and Matanga Hills.
The main shrine of this temple facing north is placed in the middle of two concentric courtyards embellished with various elaborate engravings. The temple has a number of Prakaras, out of which the external one is topped by a massive Gopuram and the internal Prakaras are covered with three Gopurams. To the west is a huge Kalyana Mantapam and to the north is a market called Achyutapete. Many parts of the temple are in ruined condition today, yet they still retain their artistic appeal.
Hazara Rama Temple
Hazara Rama Temple, also called Hazari Rama at times, is a testimonial of aesthetic genius dated back to 15th century AD. Located in the midst of the Royal Center, this temple of Hazara Rama is presumed to be a private place of worship for the members of royalty. It is supposed that the use of this temple was restricted to the royal ceremonies only. The temple derives its name from the numerous panels decorating the walls of the temple that depict the various episodes of the great Hindu epic Ramayana. The entire Ramayana Epic is chiseled in these walls and encrypted there in great details. These elaborate carvings portray the famous scenes from Ramayana such as the birth of Lord Rama, the seizure of Devi Sita and the ultimate battle between the forces of Rama and Ravana.
The pillars of this temple are adorned with the carvings presenting various forms of Lord Vishnu. The walls of the temple are also ornamented with five horizontally carved panels revealing the parade of elephants and horses accompanied by their armored riders as well as attendants. These processions symbolize the force of the mighty armies that the contemporary kings possessed. Some figures of beautiful girls in dancing postures also magnify the glory of these panels. The Hazara Rama Temple stands as the haughty model of the expertise and resourcefulness of Vijayanagara artisans and also canonizes the cultural heritage and artistic dexterity of that erstwhile Kingdom.
Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple
Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple, stationed at the southern footings of the Hemakuta Hills, is a prominent place of worship in Hampi. The idol of Lord Ganesha placed in the sanctum of this holy temple is a monolithic statue made out of black stone. The color of this idol closely resembles the color of black mustard seeds. To mark this semblance, the natives have bestowed the title of ‘Sasivekalu’ upon the deity Ganesha. This word has been coined from Kannada language which means black (kalu) like mustard (sasiv).
The Lord Ganesha seated in this temple has one more legend associated with him. Once upon a time Lord Ganesha ate too much. At that time he tied a snake around his stomach to save himself from bursting. Marking this lore, the idol worshipped in this shrine is carved in such a fashion that it depicts a snake tied around the stomach of the deity and the Lord is shown holding a half eaten Modak in one of his hands. This monolithic idol of Lord Ganesha is about 8 feet tall and the hand that holds the aforementioned Modak is in depleted position today. The massive statue of the patron deity is placed in a large pavilion that is believed to be sculpted in the year 1506 by a trader from Chandragiri. The temple was set up in the honor of the then King Maharaja Narasimha II.
‘God made man in his own image and likeness’. This axiom seems to be coming true when we witness the stone chariot of Hampi, the most astounding marvel of architecture existing on the back of the earth. The celestial God of architects, Lord Vishwakarma must have felt proud of his mortal disciples on seeing this stone chariot placed in the renowned temple of Shri VijayaVitthala. Even Gods in the heaven wouldn’t mind passing this chariot for a masterpiece that would surpass all divine concoctions. This stone chariot is structured in such a way that it seems to be so true to life. Some people even believe that the wheels must be rotating and the chariot could actually be put into use. This exotic piece of art is constructed out of multiple rocks. Installed at the eastern wall of the VijayaVitthala Temple, this stone chariot, one of the Hampi Group of Monuments resembles a minuscule temple on wheels. Such chariots, known as ‘Ratha’ in India languages were used to carry the idols of the deities out of the temple for processions, baths or such similar holy ceremonies.
Narasimha is the forth of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu who killed the demon named Hiranyakashapu. The name Narasimha itself describes the characteristics of the deity who is half man and half lion. Ugra Narasimha means the Lord Narasimha in his ferocious and terrifying mood. The statue of Ugra Narasimha, one of the Hampi Group of Monuments is a colossal effigy about 6.7 meters in height. Located to the south of the famous Virupaksha Temple of Hampi, this mammoth statuette of the deity is supposed to be sculpted in 1528 AD. As suggested by the inscription found there, the sculpture was chiseled out of rocks during the dominion of Krishnadevraya of Vijayanagara.
Originally, this statue of Lord Narasimha bore a small image of Goddess Lakshmi sitting in his lap. The entire framework of both Narasimha and Lakshmi was hewed out of one single granite boulder. Owing to this formation, this deity was also known by the name Lakshmi Narasimha. But, the figure of Goddess was vandalized and damaged in the year 1565 AD and presently it can be found in the Kamalapura Museum.
The idol of Ugra Narasimha is seated cross legged on the coils of the Adishesha whose seven hoods provide canopy for the Lord. The facial expressions of the countenance reveal boundless umbrage and the large protruding eyes and the broad chest create a scary and frightening appeal. The mane is delicately carved and the entire statue is placed within an arch named Makara Torana, which is surmounted with a lion head. This unique sculpture of Ugra Narasimha is the symbol of the fusion of creativity and destruction.
Queen’s Bath, today in a ruined condition, is a rectangular shaped edifice where the noble women from the royal family used to enjoy bathing. Situated in the Royal Center to the south of the famous Hazara Rama Temple, Queen’s Bath comprises a long verandah that approaches a square tank from all the sides. This 6 feet deep tank was filled with perfumed water and flowers floating in it for the royal dousing of Kings and their ladies. The structure of Queen’s bath is designed in such a way that intruders could not walk in while the royalties were bathing there. Queen’s Bath is the most elaborate of all the baths found here. The architecture of this construction reveals the pure Indo – Saracenic order and it is remarkable for the antithesis between the interiors and the exteriors of the edifice. The exteriors of Queen’s bath are as simple and plain as the interiors are ornate and intricately carved. The Queen’s Bath is enclosed by a pond which can be crossed by a bridge like structure set up there.
Mahanavami Dibba, popularly known as Mahanavami Platform is the tallest structure found in Hampi Group of Monuments. This imposing pulpit is a place where the Monarchs of Vijayanagara used to seat themselves on the gem studded golden throne and observe the royal and religious processions passing by. Mahanavami Dibba was specially used by the king at the time of Navaratri Festival to be seated and enjoy the Mahanavami Celebration .This elevated platform flanked by a double sided staircase at its back is adorned with the thick carvings of parading soldiers, elephants, horses, battle scenes, musical and dancing concerts as well as various aspects of country life. It is believed that this 3 layered dais was constructed by the great emperor Krishnadevraya to commemorate his victory over Udaygiri. If you stand on this platform, you can get the magnificent view of entire Hampi town.
Located to the southwest of the auspicious VijayaVitthala Temple of Hampi, King’s Balance is a huge structure tourists never miss to visit. Also known by several other names in regional languages like Tula Bhadra and Tula Purushadana, this mighty framework exhibits two 100 feet tall granite pillars topped with a 12 feet stone column linking the two. The base of this edifice depicts a figure of a King flanked by two queens, who is supposed to be the King Krishnadevraya along with two of his consorts. The King’s balance was a platform to weigh the Kings on the special occasions such as birthday, coronation day, New Year’s Day, victory, eclipses and so on. They used to give away precious gems, gold, coins, arms, and similar valuable articles in charity equal to the weight of the King.
Lotus Mahal, also reckoned as Kamal Mahal and Chitragani Mahal, is the highlight of Zenana Enclosure. Placed close to the Hazara Rama Temple, this exquisite pavilion was probably used by the women folks of the royal family as the socializing area. Revealing the classic Indo-Islamic style of architecture, this edifice found in Hampi is a pleasant deviation from the typical order of architectonics generally witnessed here. Lotus Mahal falls under the category of non religious edifices of Hampi and fortunately this masterpiece of architecture was left undamaged when Hampi was devastated by Deccan Muslim Confederacy.
Contradictory to other structures in Hampi, Lotus Mahal is constructed out of lime mortar and brick made composition. The pavilion derives its name from its lotus like shape wherein eight conic roofs are symmetrically arranged around a central dome. Moreover, the cardinal dome bares a carved figure of lotus bud. Lotus Mahal is basically a two storied structure embellished with beautiful archways creating an air conditioning effect. At night the illuminated Lotus Mahal creates a magnificent spectacle. This is the most photographic locale of Hampi and tourists enjoy taking a nap on the lawn cultivated around the Lotus Mahal.
Elephant Stables, an ostentatious structure of 11 domed chambers located near Zenana Enclosure is a monument that once served as the quarters of royal elephants of Vijayanagara Empire. The architectural order that these chambers depict is that of Brahmani School. These chambers have long recesses and arched openings. The central chamber of Elephant Stables is particularly big and ornately decorated. Probably this chamber was meant for the artists and musicians to sit and perform at the times of regal celebrations involving elephants. To the north of these stables is an arcaded structure which must be serving as a viewing gallery at the times of such concerts. The roofs of the elephant stables still hold the metal hooks that were used to tie the elephants there. The manholes designed at the rear of each hall which were used by the Mahouts to enter the apartments can also be seen here.
Zenana Enclosure, popularly known as Women’s Quarter is placed near the Royal Enclosure of Hampi. This women’s quarter was specially built to provide a personal space and solitude to the ladies of royal families. Queens and other royal women used to relax in this high walled edifice. The Zenana Enclosure is divided into four major structures; Queen’s Palace, Queen’s Bath and two watch towers. Queen’s Palace is the largest building in Zenana Enclosure which is in ruined condition today. The two watch towers built for the women to view the proceedings taking place outside are placed on the north and the south east. Queen’s bath is an enclosed place where royal ladies used to enjoy rejuvenating baths. Lotus Mahal is the lotus shaped edifice where royal women used to meet each other and socialize. Zenana Enclosure suggests the importance given to the privacy of women and the quality of life they were offered in those olden days.
The street that stands facing the Virupaksha Temple in the heart of Hampi is known as Hampi Bazaar or Virupaksha Bazaar. This place boasts of its tremendous historical significance as the ancient pavilions erected on both the sides of the street are the eye witnesses of the past prosperity of Hampi. This is the very Pan Supaari Street where diamonds, other precious stones, pearls, silks, brocades, horses and many such invaluable items were very commonly sold during the Vijayanagara Rule like vegetables are sold today. The Archeological Survey of India has declared this market as the Thread Needle Street. Hampi Bazaar is renowned far and wide for the jewels prepared by the Lambani nomads and the embroidered textiles available here.
Today Hampi Bazaar is the throbbing place of Hampi Tourism. A massive statue of Nandi, the scared Bull of Lord Shiva is placed at the east entrance of the street which is an important landmark of Hampi Town. Today, Hampi Bazaar is a favorite shopper’s stop. Tourists can purchase Hippie Style dress and shirts, zari clothing, customized clothes, other outfits, stitched blankets, shawls, ethnic bags, fabrics, handlooms, silver jewellery, diamond jewellery, antique coins, bangles, toys, antique and leather goods, souvenirs, handicrafts, idols, stone carvings, wooden god statues, paintings, photographs, postcards, etc. from here. A photo gallery exhibits the pictures of Hampi sites and ruined structures clicked by Alexander Greenlaw in the year 1856.
As suggested by the references from Ramayana, Hampi can be identified with Kishkindha Nagari, the capital of monkey kingdom reined by Vali and later Sugriva. This is the very place where Lord Hanuman was born and where he met Lord Rama and became his ardent devotee. Anjanadri Parvatha is the very epical mountain where Devi Anjani (Anjana) gave birth to Lord Hanuman. Due to this mythological background associated with it, the mountain is named Anjanadri. A famous temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman is perched at the top of this Parvatha. Devotees and adventure lovers make it a point to trek to the top and reach at the holy feet of Lord Hanuman. From the top of the Anjanadri Parvatha, we can enjoy the awe inspiring vista of surrounding region and the meandering Tungabhadra River.
The River Tungabhadra, adorned by the name Pampa in Ramayana is a sacred river of Southern India that flows through the states Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Tungabhadra, the tributary of river Krishna is bounded by the Tungabhadra Dam located about 16 km from Hampi towards Hopset. This is a multipurpose reservoir that generates electricity, provides water to surrounding regions, supports irrigation and agriculture and prevents floods. The dam bears the storage capacity of 135 Tmcft. Thirumalai Iyengar was the main architect of the dam after whom a general purpose hall is named. Tungabhadra Dam is an ideal picnic spot near Hampi and taking a tour of the entire area takes about 45 minutes.
Anegondi is a small hamlet of Koppal district in the state of Karnataka. Located on the northern banks of the river Tungabhadra, this village bears an exceptional historical significance. The term Anegondi is a Kannada word which literally means an ‘elephant pit’. It is believed that Anegondi Village was the original capital of the great empire of Vijayanagara. Mohammad Tughlaq attacked Anegondi and defeated the king Jambukeshwara Raya. At that time he appointed Malik Nayab as the ruler on the behalf of Mohammad Tughlaq.
Harihara and Bukkaraya, two Telugu princes took over Anegondi under the guidance of Vidyarana. They did not conquer Malik Nayab by might, but they used tack and won the empire back without any bloodshed. They completely impressed Malik Nayab when he was fully drunk and snatched away the reigns. Later, these two brothers reestablished Vijayanagara Empire with Anegondi being the capital. Gradually with expansion of the kingdom, the capital was shifted to Hampi.