Hampi-The Lost Empire – Visit-With-Family 2023

You approach Hampi from Hospet, through the south. Hampi villagehas one main street – Hampi Bazaar, which is closed to all traffic. At the western end is Virupaksha Temple, one of the many places to visit in Hampi. At the eastern end of the street, the museum is located at the foot of Matangi Hill. The ruins are scattered southeast of Hampi Bazaar and northwest of Kamalapura. Be prepared for a bit of walking, even if you rent a car or take a tour – bring your walking shoes. If you can ride a bike or motorcycle, this is a great way to see the place. Whichever you choose, wear some sort of headgear to protect you from the sun and bring a picnic lunch (and water) – you can always buy bread and bajjias, boiled eggs or paranthas from any of the eateries to take with you.

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On your first day here, it may be worth taking the guided tour led by KSTDC or renting a vehicle (car or car) to get a comprehensive overview of the ruins. If you choose the latter, make sure you bring a government-approved guide, or you’ll find yourself getting paid for mediocre guides at each location. Not using the services of a guide also puts you at risk of overdosing on hundreds of stones that don’t speak after all. If you prefer to go solo, do your research because some sites’ aesthetics alone are not enough reason to praise themselves. Be aware that if you don’t have a minimal affection for history, Hampi isn’t for you – no pubs, no non-vegetarian restaurants, no shopping. The locals are a silent lot so there is no easy conversation to make like in Rajasthan, none of the outsider curiosity like in Bihar, none of the colors of Tamil Nadu. Hampi still needs a healthy dose of tourist oriented dynamism. It remains somewhat unexplored territory.
 
Hampi (Photo door Dharani.prakash)
 

The ‘sacred center’ of Hampi lies along the river and consists of temple complexes such as the ancient Virupaksha Temple, as well as those dedicated to Pattibhirama, Raghunatha, Balakrishna and Vittala. The distinctiveness of the Vijaynagara architectural style lay in the construction of mandapas and huge gopurams called rayagopurams. Around each of these temples rose robes consisting of “residential quarters” with quarters named after the king who built them or after the main deities of the temple itself. So we have Virupakshapura and Krishnapura, each with major bazaar streets in front of the respective temple.

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I reached Vittala Temple, whose construction began in 1513 under Krishnadevaraya, but was never completed even in 1565 when the capital was transferred to Penukonda. It’s just fantastic. The story goes that when it was built, Lord Vittala came there from his abode in Maharashtra and seeing the temple went back to his humble abode in Pandharpur and said it was too rich and beautiful to live in. So the consecration of the temple never occurred. It is more likely that the temple was left incomplete since Hampi was invaded while it was still under construction. Yet it is a beautiful place with musical pillars and halls. As I walk around the ruins, I notice several open, pillared structures, many of which are likely Mandapas. I stop at Krishna temple, which was also built by Krishnadevaraya. On the easternmost side is a building that may have been the temple kitchen. The way to Kamalapura is the Badavi Linga, which means little or bad linga. Standing at 12 feet and built in black granite, this massive linga is anything but lean or petite. Locals call the next stop on my agenda Ugra Narasimha – a 22-foot statue, sitting cross-legged, with a snake protecting it by opening the hood. It probably had a small Laxmi idol sitting in its lap that broke at some point and was taken away. which stands at 12 feet and is built in black granite is anything but poor or petite. Locals call the next stop on my agenda Ugra Narasimha – a 22-foot statue, sitting cross-legged, with a snake protecting it by opening the hood. It probably had a small Laxmi idol sitting in its lap that broke at some point and was taken away. which stands at 12 feet and is built in black granite is anything but poor or petite. Locals call the next stop on my agenda Ugra Narasimha – a 22-foot statue, sitting cross-legged, with a snake protecting it by opening the hood. It probably had a small Laxmi idol sitting in its lap that broke at some point and was taken away.
 
Toren van Virupaksha-tempel (Photo door Dharani.prakash)
Toren van Virupaksha-tempel (Photo door Dharani.prakash)
 

I walk around the Kamla Mahal and the elephant stables and they seem to be in remarkably good shape. Some historians believe these were built after the sack of the city, but recent evidence suggests they were of the same era as the other ruins. The secular buildings are also examples of Indo-Islamic architecture. For example, in the Kamla Mahal, the arches are conspicuously curved and the chajjas or canopies are also bracketed, as found in Islamic structures. Even the elephant stables have a dome over each individual stable, reminiscent of Muslim architecture elsewhere. There is a small museum near the base of Matanga Hill. It houses a permanent exhibition of 60 enlarged photographs of Hampi, taken in 1853, by a British photographer. There is another set of photos taken 130 years later (same angles) by an Australian photographer. Discover the changes (or lack thereof) that have taken place since then.

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In Royal Center, I found palaces, zen-zen and baths, as well as the Hazara Rama Temple intended for royal worship. No other kingdom has survived such a wealth of secular structures, not even the mighty Cholas of the Tamil Nadu region. Vijaynagara reached its peak under its great king, Krishnadevaraya. Temple building was given top priority and no aspect of life was ignored. Travelers’ travelogues talk about the wrestling matches, dance, processions, mock battles, astrology and music. You can imagine such activities taking place in open mandapas laid out all over the place. Most impressive is the Mahibavami dibba, a huge platform probably dating as far back as the 14th century, with rough-hewn masonry, but neat joints and some fine statuary. There are steps but no superstructure so it’s impossible to tell what exactly it could be. Foreign visitors of the time describe wooden or fabric superstructures on this. It is speculated that it was a throne room or audience hall of some kind used for royal ceremonies.

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Hampi Town (Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen)
Hampi Town (Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen)
 

Quick Facts

State: Karnataka

Location: Hampi is located on a desolate, rocky terrain, on the cusp of the Tungabhadra River and Reservoir, in the Bellary area of ​​northern Karnataka.

Distance : 350 km NW of Bengaluru

Travel time: by road: 8 hours ; By rail: 10 hours; By plane: 45 minutes

When to Go: The monsoon and winter are best. The temperature varies between 16 ° C and 35 ° C.

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