Hampi, the unique temple town in Karnataka, in South India, is a place beyond imagination. Also known as «The Group of Monuments at Hampi», it has gained a significant position among the precious «UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites». It’s actually a village, which includes many historical and religious monuments, dating back to the time when the Vijayanagara Empire ruled the region. Then, Hampi was constituting the center of the kingdom, a place where today plenty of archaeological remains have been found, lightening the glorious past of the Empire. Let’s check out some of the most important discoveries that you should totally visit.
Virupaksha Temple: The Imposing temple of Virupaksha is basically devoted to the homonymous reincarnation of the Lord Shiva, who was the principal God of the Empire. Built in the 7th century and located in the margins of the river Tungabhadra, the temple remains an important pilgrimage centre for the religious Hindu and tourists around the world. Regarded as a holy place, it was once a small-scale shrine, while later it was evolved to a giant complex, maintaining the main shrine. This brick enormous structure is considered as «Gopuras», referring to the rising towers of Dravidian style that it has. Go there and observe the numerous carving pillars of the temple, the monastery, the main hall, the endless courtyards as also the smaller shrines and the many storeys of the marvelous structure. Don’t forget to walk through especially from the eastern gateway, the most sizeable and grandiose of all.
Vijaya Vittala Temple: The temple is rather the most popular and one of the largest in Hampi. Its marvelous musical pillars as well as the dominant Stone Carved Chariot, adorned with mythical scenes, elephants outside and floral motifs on the wheels, characterize the structure, enchanting the visitors. Built in the 15th century, it is dedicated to Vittala, another form of the God Vishnu. Rectangular in shape, made of enormous granite blocks and outstanding Dravidian’s architecture, it’s actually a large complex, renowned for its virtuosity. It contains large mandapas with musical pillars, many enclosures, temples, halls and pavilions.
Zenana and Royal Enclosure’s Structures: The lost town of Hampi has ruins not only of religious structures but of royal too. So, the «Zenana Enclosure», the fortified area that accommodated the Royal women of Vijayanagara Empire, is one of them. It contains the «Lotus Mahal», the largest excavation in Hampi, known as the amazing lotus-like domed palace of the queen, created in Indo-Islamic architecture, pyramidal towers, decorated arches, balconies with windows, carving pillars. In the area, there are also the «Queen’s Baths» and the «Elephant Stables», the structure with the domed chambers that once housed the Royal elephants. Next to Zenana Enclosure stands the «Royal Enclosure», the large fortified area, which was the centre of the Empire. It includes the ruins of many royal structures and wooden palaces. Inside the enclosure lies the «Dasara Dibba», known as the «House of Victory», the «King’s Audience Hall», the «Stepped Tank», the «Hazara Rama Temple», the «Vira Harihara Palace» and the «Palace of Krishnadevaraya» among others.
As you can imagine, Hampi, the giant open monument has so much more to show you as it includes countless monuments, making it difficult to enumerate them all. However, you could also explore the past main market, the «Hampi Bazaar» and the «Archeological Museum», where both have ancient artifacts and relics. Visit other religious masterpieces, like the «Hemakuta Hill Temple Complex», the «Achyutharaya Temple», the iconic «Sri Krishna Temple», the statues of Ganesha and Lakshmi Narasimha. Don’t forget to discover or even trekking the town’s highest peak, the «Matanga Hill» with the breathtaking view and try to go rock climbing as it is used in Hampi’s extremely rocky terrain.