A small village in North Karnatka, that takes you back in time to 14th century Empire of Vijayanangara, where diamonds were sold on street. Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as Group of Monuments at Hampi. With a plethora of historical heritages this small village has earned a great repo among historians and archaeologists. Situated on the banks of Tungabhadra river, it is 353km away from the capital city Bangalore and 13km away from Hosapete, that is the nearest railway station. The place has innumerable temples and ruins of the empire that had kept alive its glorious past for centuries.
Places to Visit
The Hill offers a breathtaking view of the landscape below. It is also a sunrise and sunset point. One needs to get up as early as five in morning and begin the trek to the top to witness the sunrise. It is prudent to go in a group. The best trek for the enthusiasts is from Hampi bazaar to Achyutarya temple, which goes across the low lying northern end of the hill. There have been fables linked with this hill and this place hold sgreat importance in the Hindu mythology of Ramayana. There is even a small temple of Veerabhadra, associated with Lord Shiva lineage. The view from the top gives an aerial view of Achyutaraya’s temple complex to the South, Turthu Canal to the North and a continuity of chain of hills and the Tungabhadra River flowing along the ridges.
Hampi Bazaar and the Virupaksha Temple
Once a part of the markets of the nobles, Hampi Bazaar is a one kilometer long stretch near the Virupaksha Temple. This old temple is that of Lord Shiva and stands intact witn its structures. The chariot festival, one of the famous festivals in Hampi Is celebrated in the premises of the temple, during the month of February. The east end of the Virupaksha Temple ends at the foothills of Matanga Hill. The area has rows of shops and restaurants and is a little congested. Due to this no vehicles other than two wheelers are allowed in the Bazaar. The market is easily accessible by the local transport.
The main attraction at Hampi, the temple is cut and carved out of the rocks intro beautiful sculptures, the most famous being the Stone Chariot in the main hall, in front of Vithala Temple. The stone is carved with mythical battle scenes, along with four cartwheels that look more like real ones, with their axis shafts. The two elephant sculptures appearing to pull the chariot , made out of granite, blocks over blocks, with carefully hidden joints.
Noblemen s Quarters
The ruins of this place gives you an idea about the homes where aristocrats and other would live. most of the quarters are rectangular, along with attached horse stables. Climbing a nearby tall rock would give a whole view of a simple but systematic structure and designing of this place. You can even survey the area from Mohammadan Watch Tower,which is a little far from there.
Shri Krishna Temple Pushkarni
Pushkarnis are the sacred tanks that were attached to almost all large temples for the ritual purposes. These tanks were of great significance and served as the venue for annual boat festivals wherein idols of gods and goddesses were taken in a coracle. Many of these tanks are ruined but the archaeologists managed to preserve one of these at Pushkarni that is still intact and in its original form. There are steps around the tank reaching to the base. Since there is no water in the tank so you can even see the base of the tank.
A major tourist attraction, this place was used to keep royal elephants. There are total eleven chambers, some of which are inter-connected. The domes are shaped in Islamic style, with well preserved patterns. The tower has a large central hall for occasions involving elephants. Though the place is a destroyed, the five pairs of domes on either sides are well preserved.
Daroji Bear Sanctuary
If you love wildlife, then this is a must place to go. The Jungle Lodges Resort offer a good service, along with binoculars and long range spotting devices to spot the black bear. You can trek up to the hill in your own car to get the best view of the sloth bear. You just have to be patient, to get a glimpse of this wild animal.
You can reach Hampi from the nearest airport at Hubli, that is 143 kilometers away. Going via Mumbai, Goa or Bangalore can be expensive. Trains are the best option to reach your destination, the nearest railway station being Hospet that is 13 kilometers away from Hampi. Many trains run during night several times a week from Bangalore, Hyderabad and Goa. There are trains even from Mysore to Hubli to Hospet and finally Hampi. The prices are cheap and affordable.
Hampi is more of a site that brings forth a civilization that faded with time. Rich in temples and archaeological sites, it showcases influence from the merge of various communities, that took over these lands and left their historical marks in the form of the temples and halls, that we see today.