Hampi – All You Need To Know the great Vijayanagara empire

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Located on the banks of the Tungabhadra river, Hampi is a historical city in the Ballari district of Karnataka. a dynamic and dramatic place, dotted by several temples ruins of palaces, remains of aquatic structures, ancient Market Streets, royal pavilions, and Bastions.

History of Hampi and vijayanagara empire

The rich cultural heritage of the place and its story of prosperity armed with a spectacular landscape makes Hampi a truly well deserved UNESCO World Heritage site. it is a land rich in stories.

The history of the place gradually mingles with folklore and then subtly blends with mythology. As per historical evidence, Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagara empire that was established by Saint Vidyaranya in 1336 AD with the help of two of his disciples, Hakka Raya and Bukka Raya.

From 1323 to 1565 for almost 200 years, four dynasties ruled over the place and made the Vijayanagara empire one of the richest and most famous empires of that time. however, the Empire was brutally attacked by the Deccan Sultans in 1565. They looted and ransacked the city for almost six months leaving only mass destruction everywhere.

The glorious lost City gradually lost its strategic importance and became a ghost town. Hampi is known as the Kishkinda Kshetra through which is linked to the Ramayana. If you visit Hampi you can find boulders of various sizes scattered everywhere. It is believed that in the fierce battle between Sugriva and Bali the army threw boulders at each other and thus these boulders piled up all around Hampi.

Best Time To Visit

Hampi can be visited All Around The Year. However, October to February is considered the best time to visit as to whether it’s pleasant and great for exploring the town. You can also visit the place during the monsoon, but you have to be careful walking on the boulders as they become quite slippery.

If you want to know more about the rich culture of the Kannadigas, you must visit Hampi during the Vijay Utsav which is held in the first week of November, for 3 days. This Festival is also known as the Hampi Utsav and is the grandest of all the festivals celebrated in the region.

How To reach

Hampi’s well connected to different parts of the country by road, rail, and air. Hubli Airport is the closest domestic aerodrome to Hampi. It is approximately 166 km away from the main city. Bangalore Airport is the nearest international airport which is about 350 km from Hampi. The nearest railhead is Hospet which is about 13 km away.

From Hospet, you can easily take an auto to Hampi. Hampi is well connected with major cities and towns of Karnataka by bus services. Several governments, private and tourist buses regularly fly from neighboring cities and towns. The real pleasure of exploring Hampi lies in cycling or walking around.

You will get bicycles on rent at a very cheap rate of 100 rupees per day without gear and 150 rupees per day with gear. You can also get a Moped on rent for just 200 rupees per day. However, you will not get to scooter or bike on rent at the temple site of Hampi. On the opposite side of the river, you may get scooty and bikes for rent at 250 to 400 rupees. per day depending upon your vehicle. You can also take auto rickshaws to see the various places in Hampi. which can cost you around 1200 rupees a day.

Why is Hampi famous

Hampi is a visual delight, especially due to its Stark contrast from most other places. there are many sites of interest in and around. here are some of the best things that you must not miss out on.

The UNESCO Heritage site of Hampi has a number of temples and monuments whose architectural excellence will fascinate you. these ruins will give you a sneak peek into life from more than 600 years ago during the glorious days of the Vijayanagara empire.

Some of the famous temples around Hampi are the Vijaya Vittala Temple, Virupaksha Temple, Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, Krishna temple, and many others.

Vittala Temple

Vijaya Vittala Temple, Hampi
Vijaya Vittala Temple, Hampi

As the epicenter of Hampi’s attractions, the Vijaya Vittala temple is the most extravagant architectural wonder of the place. Vittala which is another form of Lord Vishnu was worshipped in the temple.

Virupaksha Temple

Virupaksha temple vijayanagara empire
Virupaksha Temple

Virupaksha Temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva is one of the most prominent structures of Hampi. one of the most striking features is the use of mathematical concepts to build and decorate it. it is clear that all the temples in Hampi have some unique features or stories to fascinate you.

Anjaneya Hill

anjaneya hill
Anjaneya Hill

You must also visit Anjaneya Hill. it is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman. it is located on the other side of the Tungabhadra river in the Anegondi area. The serene and picturesque Ambience over the Hilltop offers mesmerizing views of sunrise and sunset, making it one of the best places to see in Hampi.

Coracle Ride

coracle ride Vijayanagara empire
coracle Ride

While at Hampi, do not forget to take a coracle ride over the Tungabhadra river. This is going to be an experience of a lifetime. Since the reign of the Vijayanagara empires, coracle boating has been widely used here along the swirling waters of Tungabhadra. At Hampi, there are three places for coracle crossing. the first one is at the ghat near the Virupaksha temple. the second is in front of the Kondandarama temple and the third and the most popular one is near the Vittala temple.

Lakshmi, The elephent

Lakshmi elephant
Lakshmi Elephant

At Virupaksha Temple, you must meet Lakshmi the elephant. if you offer prasad to her, she thanks you by keeping her trunk on your head. Lakshmi goes for a bath every morning to the Tungabhadra river try not to meet that scene.

Hire Benakal

If you have an extra day in your hand you can proceed To Hire Benakal of Vijayanagara empire, the megalithic site dated 800 BCE to 200 BCE period. Recently Hire Benakal has been added to the tentative list of World Heritage sites.

Where to stay

The best part is that you can get an ample number of hotels and resorts around the city depending on your budget. if you are a backpack and what to stay on a low budget, you can choose homestays or guest houses.

Some of these are Tilak Homestay, Gopi guesthouse, Raju guest house, and Mowgli guest house. if you want to spend your days in a luxury hotel or resort, you can choose Hyatt Place, Boulders resort, Kishkinda Heritage resort.

How Long Should The Trip Be

Hampi is like an open Museum, you just have to explore the place at your own Pace and Discover its charm. To explore the best of Hampi, it would be great to take out at least 3 days so that you can cover all the sites around it without Rush.

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