Hampi, placed on the banks of river Tungabhadra is a part of the UNESCO world heritage sites. It is a small village town in the State of Karnataka, placed in the North of the State. Being the former Capital of Vijayanagara empire, it holds some of the most important historical artefacts, architecture and relics of the state. The astounding historical facts are some of the most exciting things to explore in this city which dates back to 1 AD since the settlements are that old. It could also be called as one the favourite sites for the Archeologists for the amazing amount of history content they can excavate in this beautiful city with an outstanding architecture. Here I have shortlisted a list of top 10 must see places in Hampi,
1. Virupaksha Temple
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Virupaksha Temple is one of the most important Centres of worship in the city of Hampi. This temple is considered to be one of the most sanctified pilgrimages for over centuries. The temple follows the Dravidian style of architecture and bears a resemblance to the Pallava temple at Kanchipuram. The temple has incorporated a few renovations in the beginning of 19th century.
Things to see: The temple is one of the important relics left even after so many destructions that have been caused by the invaders over years and centuries. The structure of this historical architecture will capture your heart with all the beautiful inscriptions and the sacred sanctum on the inside.
2. Vitthala Temple
The imposing Structure of this temple holds one the most splendid work of the ancient architects. A wide area is covered by the temple, which includes the excellent stone inscriptions, pillars and impressive arch with carvings.
Things to see: The stone chariot of this temple is like the ideogram of this temple, which is located inside the premise of the temple. It has a large courtyard with the stone chariot in the middle and with the temple behind the stone chariot. There a number of temples inside the premises of the temple. This temple is definitely worth a visit for the magnificent ancient architecture that it has upheld for over the centuries.
3. Lotus Mahal
This supreme piece of architecture was used by the female royalties of the Vijayanagara Dynasty. This splendid structure is within the Zenana Enclosure. The uniqueness of this temple is defined by the Structure which matches a lotus. The Lotus Mahal is also called as the “Kamal Mahal” and also “Chitrangi Mahal”.
Things to see: The balcony and the passages of the Mahal look like the buds of the lotus. The structure also has an Islamic touch to its architecture. This stunning structure totally deserves a spot on the list of the places to visit in Hampi.
4. Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple
Hampi is home to a number of Sanctums which date back to centuries behind, one such glorious temple is the Sasivehalu Ganesh Temple. As analyzed from the inscriptions that were found in this temple, the temple was founded in 1500 AD by the King Narasimha II.
Things to see: This temple is basically a huge statue of Lord Ganesha. This marvellous statue has been carved from a single block of rock which 8 feet tall.This temple holds some of the eminent statues and inscriptions and gives a lot of particulars about the era in which it was erected. This temple is definitely worth a visit.
5. Achyuta Raya Temple
Built in the year 1543 AD, the eye catching temple is located amidst the Matanga hills and Gandhamadana. This was a temple which was built when the Dynasty was nearing its end and hence the structure is the most modified version of the dazzling styles that were followed for most of the temple’s architecture.
Things to see: This is one of the improved forms of the old temples that are found in this city, which also date back to the time of the Vijayanagara Empire. The place is relatively peaceful and plain compare to the other places in Hampi which are mostly jam packed with people since it is secluded and is not that easily accessible.
6. Saraswati Temple
The temple is located in the heart of the city, that is the Bellary District of Hampi. The temple is in a disassembled state but still up holds the quote “old is gold” with the charms of the style and ideas that were used once upon a time. As the name states, the temple is dedicated to Goddess Saraswathi.
Things to see: The mesmerizing inscriptions are still protected on the pillars of the temple. The sanctum and the shrine are in a better shape than the other sections of the temple. Even the canopy and the pavilions are in a better condition. The temple is pinpointed by an octagonal bath in the close proximity of the temple. Glimpses of the history of Hampi can be obtained here
7. Dasara Dibba
Dasara Dibba is basically a stone platform which is almost in ruins now. But maybe it the damaged carvings on the sides of the platform which make the importance of this place even more important. This stone platform is where the festival of Dussehra was celebrated during the old times. King Krishnadevaraya had constructed this platform to mark the glory of his success over Udayagiri.
Things to see: It is a 12-meter massive granite base in three diminishing tiers of different lengths. The zenith of this structure is the largest amongst the places in this area. The carvings on this structure show various auspicious royal culture scenes. This architecture is worth a visit appreciation for the beautiful outlook and talent of the ancient creators.
8. Matanga Hill
Matanga hill is the highest spot in the city and is the best spot to capture the magnificent aerial view of the whole city. One end of the hill terminates at the bank of the river Tungabhadra which offers a wonderful view of the city. There are more than one trails that have paved the path in the hills and lead to different destinations, one of the trails connects the Hampi bazaar and the Achyuta Raya’s Temple. There are a couple of paths that lead you to the top of the hill.
Things to see: The top of the hill is embarked with the Veerbhadra Temple. The hill also holds a position in the Hindu Mythological story of Ramayana. The place was the hermitage of Saint Matanga who is a part of the story. Since this is a trek, it has to be cautiously planned but it totally is worth a visit.
9. Archaeological Museum
The archaeological museum is the government’s effort to preserve the important artefacts and exhibits from around the ancient city of Hampi. The museum houses the kinds of stuff that were found during archaeological excavations.
Things to see: The museum has several galleries where each gallery holds a collection of sculptures of deities, coins of different metals and many more things that give us particulars about the history of the city. The museum has successfully showcased the vast history of the city inside this small hall. This is a paradise for all the history seekers out there.
10. Anjaneya Hill
Considered as the birthplace of Hanuman, whose another name is also Anjaneya, the Anjaneya hill is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The hill is a trek which leads to the temple at the peak. The sculpture of Hanuman is carved on a stone. The place also has a shrine that is dedicated to Lord Ram and Mata Sita.
Things to see: The top of the hill will fill you with euphoria which is caused by the wonderful view of the foothill and that cool breeze softly embracing you. The hill and the temple here is totally worth exploring and is also one of the beautiful remains of the ancient City.
The best time to visit the city is from October to March. Hampi is the city which holds some of the best ancient marvels. Almost every structure here has been maintained from over centuries. The city is a total bliss to all those Wanderers who have a keen interest in history. Try to get a guide for yourself for a better understanding of the monuments. The beauty of the city will make you curious about the history and the amazing structures will leave you with awe. Hampi is the number one on the hit list of the cities to be visited in Karnataka. The eye catching beauty of this place should definitely be visited once, so make sure to add this to your bucket list and do not miss out on the World Heritage site.
Contributor: Akshita Srivastava