Terrestrial artistry of Vishwakarma
|Type of Tourism||: Heritage Tourism|
|Area||: 467 meters|
|Population||: 59,941 (As per Indian census- 2001)|
|Best Tourist Season||: October to March|
|Telephone Code||: India (08394), International (+91)|
|Pin Code||: 583239|
|Languages spoken||: Kannada, Hindi and English|
|What to buy||: Hippie Style Dress And Shirts, Zari Clothing, Customized Clothes, Other Outfits, Stitched Blankets, Shawls, Ethnic Bags, Fabrics, Handlooms, Silver Jewellery, Diamond Jewellery, Bangles, Toys, Antique And Leather Goods, Souvenirs, Handicrafts, Idols, Stone Carvings, Wooden God Statues, Paintings, Photographs, Postcards, etc.|
|Food Specialties||:Typical South Indian Cuisine Including Idly, Dosa, Uttapam, Medu Vada, Vada Sambhar, South Indian Thali, etc.|
|Local transportation||: Bicycle, Motorcycle, Taxi, Car, Motor Boats, Walking|
The quondam capital of the great Vijayanagara Kingdom, Hampi; a small hamlet in the state of Karnataka is renowned world wide for conserving the legendary ruins of that erstwhile empire. Positioned on the banks of the river Tungbhadra, Hampi was compared to Rome by Domingo Paes, a Portuguese traveler who described it as, “the best provided city in the world.” The title ‘Hampi’ finds its origin from the word ‘Pampa’, the former name of Tungbhadra River. The Kannada word that was derived from Pampa is ‘Hampe’ which was later anglicized as Hampi.
Hampi, a potpourri of history, culture and religion is metaphorically called a vast open museum of architectural ingenuity and ancient cultural legacy of India. The township, surrounded by thousands of boulders sings the sagas of rich and vibrant history of Vijayanagara Empire. The Hampi Ruins, acknowledged by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site are spread over the total area of 26 square kilometers. The ruins of magnanimous palaces, pavilions, invincible fortifications, splendid temples, elegantly carved pillars, regal stables, aqueducts, baths, market streets, and many other edifices ascertain the saying that if poems were composed out of stones, it would be Hampi. Each and every rock and each and every wreck speak the language of beauty and grandiose.
Located about 74 km from Bellary and 350 km from the state capital Bangalore, Hampi is also an important pilgrim destination of Southern India. Virupaksha Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva is a much sought after religious sight of Hampi. Flanked by the Tungbhadra River, the boulder- spotted landscape of Hampi provides a flavor of relics from antiquity. A 15th Century Persian Traveler saluted this epitome of tradition and heritage saying, “the pupil of the eye has never seen a place like this, and the ear of intelligence has never been informed that there existed anything equal to it in the world”.
History Of Hampi
Hampi, traditionally known by three distinct names ‘Pampa Kshetra’, ‘Kishkindha Kshetra’ and ‘Bhaskara Kshetra’ boasts of its ancient history dated back to Ramayana period of Threta Yuga. As suggested by epical evidences, 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. The first human settlement at Hampi which is supported by historic evidences is dated back to 1 CE.
Taking a shift of a millennium, Hampi was founded in 1336 AD by two Telugu princes Harihara and Bukkaraya (also referred to as Hakka and Bukka). From 1336 to 1565 Hampi was the biggest metropolitan of Vijayanagara Empire and owing to its strategic location, it was also chosen as its capital. Hampi is bounded by Tungbhadra River on one side and the remaining three sides are fortified by mighty hills that defended the territory from enemy invasions. During the domain of Krishnadevraya of Vijayanagara Kingdom, Hampi reached to the pinnacle of its prosperity. The Pan Supaari Street, i.e. the main street of Hampi records the trade of diamonds, other precious stones, pearls, silks, brocades, horses and many such invaluable items. A Portuguese visitor rightly said that every sort of thing on earth could be found in Hampi.
Even though, the golden era of Hampi came to an end with the invasion of Deccan Muslim Confederacy in the year 1565 who demolished this architecturally and culturally flourishing empire within the period of merely six months and turned it to ruins. Yet, the remnants of Vijayanagara Empire attest the extravagance and architectural dexterity of yesteryears even today. Hampi was declared the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1986. And The Archaeological Survey of India is constantly undertaking the efforts to excavate more and more historical artifacts and the evidences of architectonic grandeur of the era gone by.