History and culture go hand in hand in the ruins of Hampi. This lost city of Asia has a significant role in the tourism chapters of India. People from across the globe throng to Hampi to explore the rich history. Hampi also enjoys a significant place in the list of World Heritage Sites. It is an integral part of Vijaynagara, which now stands on its ruins. Vijayanagara was once the capital of renowned Vijaynagara empire.
This place is visited by all kinds of tourists. Those who are interested to visit the religious centers as well as those who are keen to flip through the pages of history can be seen in large numbers at this site. Declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hampi is considered as the largest open monument. The city is adorned with palaces, fort walls, tanks, temples, irrigation channels etc. and is spread over an area of 25 sq. km. It finds mention in the Ramayana as well. When Sita was lost, Rama and Lakshaman stayed in Hampi. The story says that Rama met Sugreev at this location. This place is visited by people for sightseeing and research. Also, this place is being excavated by Archaeological Survey of India now and then to find out something.
Now let’s discuss the top 7 attractions of the town which tell the tales of rich, royal and glorified ancient era.
1. Archaeological Museum
The history lovers would find this place more like a paradise. The wide collection of sculptures and different kinds of antiques appeal to each and every tourist visiting this place. The museum was established by the Archaeological Survey of India. Most of the ancient findings were discovered by Britishers but they kept these rare findings under elephant stables. The ASI, in 1972, formed this museum and shifted varied kinds of antiques here. There are four galleries of this museum. The first gallery has sculptures of different mythological characters such as Virabhadra, Bhikshatanamurti, Bhairava, Shakti, Mahishasuramardini, Ganesha, Kartikeya and Durga.
Also there is a central hall resembling to Hampi temple which houses statues of Shivalinga, Nandi and Dwaramantapa.
Gallery 2 consists of armory, religious metal objects, copper plate grants, brass plates, gold coins and Copper coins belonging to Vijaynagara dynasty.
The third gallery has tools, coinages, arms and other objects that were in use during the Vijayanagara Empire days. Here, you will find the book-kind documents, made of brass which are bundled with a ring.
The fourth gallery has antiquités displaying stuff from prehistoric as well as protohistoric period. There are medieval Hero stones as well as sati stones. A display of other excavated items such as stucco figurines, shards of porcelain, iron objects, among other things can also be seen here.
It’s open for tourists on all days except on Fridays.
2. Virupaksha Temple
The principal deity of the Vijaynagara rulers, Lord Virupaksha still finds many followers. This temple is dedicated to him and it also serves as a pilgrimage center. The architectural wonders can leave you speechless here.
It is believed that the temple was built in 7th century. Initially, it was a small shrine but later it was developed as a magnanimous temple under the Vijaynagara rulers. At later stages, many additions were made in the temple during the reign of late Chalukya and Hoysala.
It was renovated at the start of nineteenth century to restore its structure and aesthetics.
3. Monkey Temple (Hanuman Temple)
Hampi and Ramayana are linked and have many stories to share. It’s believed that Hampi is the birth place of Lord Hanuman. There are a lot many monkeys seen in and around this temple, which justifies its name. The Monkey Temple is located on top of Anjanadri Hill in Anegundi. Hence it gives lovely view of the city around. Scenes of sunset and sunrise would also leave you enthralled.
Pampa Sarovara Laxmi Temple, Anegondi Fort, Bukkaâ Aquaduct and Rishyamukha Sarovara are other temples which should also be visited here.
4. Vijaya Vittala Temple
If you are keen to see the excellent traces of architecture dating back to 15th century, then you should visit the Vijaya Vittala Temple. With an expansive campus, it houses many Hampi temples, pavilions as well as halls. Lord Vittala was the incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
The temple has beautifully pillared halls with a huge stone chariot. There are remains of Vittalapura township too which did exist outside the temple campus. The religious architecture is something which is worth watching at the site.
5. Royal Enclosure
Once the seat of power of the Vijaynagara rulers, it presently stands as a fortified area or the Royal Enclosure. Presently, it is a wide open ground with many small shelters.
There are interesting relics attached to many places here.
The King’s Audience Hall, also known as the 100-Pillared Hall, a stepped tank, and the Mahanavami Debbie, also called as the Dossier Platform, are some of the important places to visit.
One needs to explore this place by walking a large distance. No vehicles are allowed in this area so it’s better to explore it either in mornings or in evenings when the weather is cool.
6. Riverside Ruins
If you are a big time devotee of Lord Shiva or if you want to know more about architecture, then Riverside Ruins could be the best place for you. It is located on the North of the Kodandarama Temple. There is a riverside gorge which stores a few finely-carved Shiva Lingas on rock surface. As you go near the river’s edge, you will see many Shiva Linga mandalas.
Many pavilions, half-submerged small shrines and motifs carved on rocks are yet another area which you can visit.
7. Queen’s Bath
On entering Hampi complex from the side of South-West corner, Queen’s Bath is the first of its kind ruins you would be visiting. It is a plain rectangular complex surrounded by a big water channel. It was constructed to block intruders to get into this place where the royal women would bathe. From inside, you can look at a huge circular veranda with a big open sky pool in the center.
The architecture is of the Indo-Saracenic styled.
Besides these beautified places, Hampi is also blessed by other wonders such as Daroji Bear Sanctuary, Laxmi Narsimha temple, elephant Stables which should be visited. Each of these places come loaded with many stories from ancient past making you feel to be in the same era. So try to fix some dates to visit these sites which will take you in the ancient era of kings and queens.