Hampi is a village in North Karnataka and is also deemed as the city of ruins. The name is derived from Pampa which is the old name of Tungabhadra River on whose banks the city is constructed. It used to be the capital of Vijaynagar Empire. The city is infested with monumental palaces and forts. Hampi was constructed by Harihara and Bukka Rai in 1336 AD and its significant features included majestic forts, magnificent palaces, magnanimous temples, huge markets, big pavilions and stable of elephants.
Hampi is a sanctified place for the Hindus as it is Pampakshethra - home of Pampa, the daughter of Lord Brahma and wedded to Shiva. During medieval times, Hampi was a commercial centre with the trade of horses and gems. At present, Hampi's economy is dependent on agriculture and mining. Hampi has attained the status of UNESCO World Heritage site.
CONNECTIVITY TO HAMPI:
The nearest railhead is Hospet which is 13 km away from Hampi. Bellary is the nearest domestic airport, which is about 60 km away and Bangalore is the nearest international Airport, which is 350 km away. KSRTC buses connect Hampi to various cities in the country.
ATTRACTIONS IN HAMPI:
HAMPI BAZAR: The street facing the Virupaksha temple is Hampi bazaar, or Virupaksha Bazaar. It consists of rows of shops showcasing numerous products.
Both sides of the street have very old single storied and double storied pavilions. One of the distinctive features is that this bazaar is well-known for jewels prepared by the Lambani nomads and also for embroidered textiles. One could get to purchase shawls, skirts and bags here. A massive Nandi structure is located on east side of the entrance
MONOLITH BULL: Situated on east side of the Hampi Bazar is a bull shaped structure. Locally the bull is known as Yeduru Basavanna, the ride of Lord Shiva. The sculpture is placed in a two storied pavilion constructed on a high platform. It is placed in the background of a heap of mammoth boulders.
MAHANAVMI DIBBA: is a magnanimous structure and it is where the kings of the Vijayanagara Empire ruled the kingdom with the gem studded golden throne and observed the religious and royal processions passing by. The structure is intrinsically marked with thickly carved bands of soldiers, horses and figures related to a variety of religious and royal processions passing by. The structure is intrinsically marked with thickly carved bands of soldiers, horses and figures related to a variety of aspects of courtly life.
-OLD PALACE: also known as Gagan Mahal is located in an erstwhile capital city Anegondi near Hampi. It is surrounded by a fort but both the palace and fort are in ruins. It is an interesting place for history lovers.
-ROYAL ENCLOSURES are an appealing site to behold. Hampi region is divided into two parts about 3 km apart-The Sacred Center and the Royal Center. Sacred Centre encloses royal site while the Royal Centre encloses royal buildings. Royal Enclosures are poular among the tourists due to its stone-walled enclosures.
-ZANANA ENCLOSURE: These were high walled relaxing places where women used to seek solitude. The largest structure inside the enclosure is the Queen's Palace which is in ruined state nowadays. Two buildings served as watch towers which are placed in the north and south-east of this enclosure. They were used to view proceedings happening outside.
Lotus palace, an aesthetic monument situated in this area, is supposed to be the Zenana Enclosure. The two-storied palace resembles a lotus and is assumed to be the meeting place for the royal women folks. Its architecture evidently marks the amalgamation of Indian and Islamic influences.
-QUEEN'S BATH: located in royal enclosure is a rectangle shaped building with a large veranda inside approaching a square tank of 6 feet depth from all sides and was assumed to be the place where kings and their wives used to take royal scented bath as the tub used to be filled with perfumes and fragrance flowers. The architecture of the bath is in the style of Indo-Saracenic and appears to be bit Islamic style more than the Hindu style.
-UGRA NARSIMHA STATUE: meaning Lord Narsimha is depicted in angry state. It is a gigantic statue 6. 5m high located in the south region of the temple complex of Hemkuta group. Narsimha is postured in sitting state under the covering of a seven hooded snake. Lord Narsimha being half man and half lion is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
-ELEPHANT STABLES: The building is dome shaped and served as the quarters of the royal elephants, is situated nearby the Zenana Enclosure. These stables are ancient monuments, constructed as long structure with resting places for the royal elephants.
-MATANGA HILL: is the most renowned hill in Hampi. It is described in Holy Ramayana as the hermitage of Saint Matanga. It is an ideal spot for capturing an aerial sight of Hampi and its surroundings.