India is the land of culture, unity, diversity has many interesting tourist spots throughout its territory from Kashmir in the North to Kerala in the South, from Manipur in the East to Mumbai in the West. One such famous tourist spot is Hampi, in Karnataka state. You can visit and enjoy different beautiful places in Hampi.
Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has lots of ancient temples, ruins, and a variety of monuments. The meaning of the word Hampi is derived from an Old Kannada word Pampaa, which means big or great.
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Around 1500 AD, Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagar Empire and was the second-largest city in the world at that time.
It was ruled by king Krishna Deva Raya from 1509 to 1530 AD. Some rich princes at that time built Dravidian temples and were admired by travelers during that period.
In 1565, there was a war, known as the Battle of Talikota that destroyed the Vijayanagar Empire, and Hampi was captured by the Deccan Muslim confederacy.
Hampi was looted of its riches in the subsequent months and was then abandoned at the end of the decade.
Soon over the next few centuries, Hampi lost its glory and importance, and now all that remains are ruins of ancient temples, monuments, and a variety of structures.
Geography and Location
Hampi is in the Bellary district of Karnataka State in Southern India. It is located in hilly terrain on the south banks of the Tungabhadra River.
Hampi has a vast geographical area that spans over 4,100 hectares and situated at an elevation of 467 m. It is around 376 km. from Bangalore and the nearest railway station is Hospet.
There are around 1600 monuments in the region that comprises of temples, structures, ruins. The city of Hampi has a warmer atmosphere with summers ranging from March to June.
How to Reach Hampi?
Hampi can be reached by air, rail, or road transport. The nearest airport is Vidyanagar, around 30 km. from the city. The nearest railway station is Hospet, around 13 km. from Hampi.
It is also well-connected via highways and motorways with major cities in India like Bangalore, Hyderabad, etc. The best time to visit Hampi is from October to March, as temperatures are in the bearable range.
Best Places to Visit in Hampi
Apart from the many temples and monuments in Hampi, there are some prime places worth visiting:
This is a place to collect those attractive souvenirs like handicrafts, leather products, antique coins, shawls, etc.
If you are fond of those captivating sunrise and sunset views, this is the best place to go to Hampi. It takes around 15 minutes to get to the top and the climb is not that difficult.
The view from the top is worth seeing and you can also see some temples from this point. Mainly the Virupaksha Temple in the north and Krishna Temple in the south.
It is said that your trip to Hampi would not be completed without visiting the Lotus Mahal because this is one of the beautifull places to visit in Hampi.
Lotus Mahal has one of the most spectacular and intricate architectural designs in the history of palaces. And it can be identified by its lotus-like structure, hence the name.
It is also called as Kamal Mahal or Chitragani Mahal. It is open on all days of the week from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
During the 15th Century, many royal families of the Vijayanagar Empire are said to have lived in the palace and this was one of those structures that were not harmed during the war in 1565.
Vijaya Vitthala Temple
The Vitthala or Vittala Temple is another 15th Century architectural grandeur, that is worth visiting. Dedicated to Lord Vitthal (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu), this temple can be located in the northeastern part of Hampi.
It is said to be one of the most artistically sophisticated Hindu temples with amazing stone structures.
There is a museum in Hampi that was established by the Archaeological Survey of India. This museum is also worth visiting because it contains many antique items, sculptures, and proof that resonates with the history of Hampi.
You will get to know about the stories, the topography, and the ancient history of Hampi in detail.
While most of the temples and ruins are located in Hampi where tourists live, sometimes they also want to explore the rich hippy culture on the other side of the river.
Hampi Island or Hippie Island in Hampi is a small place on the north banks of the Tungabhadra River where you can go by taking a boat. You can find a luxurious hotel or guesthouse here with scenic views.
Yantrodharaka Hanuman Temple
This temple is located at a distance of 2 km. from Virupaksha Temple. It is dedicated to Lord Hanuman and is the second most important shrine in Hampi.
Since this temple is located on a hill, it offers a nice view so you can click some pics after getting blessings from Lord Hanuman.
Coracles are circular, walnut-shaped boats that are native to this region. Don’t forget to travel in these walnut-shaped boats while you visit and explore different beautiful places in Hampi.
It is said that these coracles have been the prime mode of transport to cross the river since the 15th Century. Today, it is more of a tourist spot and an enjoyable boat ride in Hampi.
Often regarded as a large bath in Hampi, this place truly denotes the architectural beauty of the 15th Century Vijayanagar Empire.
It is located at the entrance of the Royal Enclosure. Despite being so much old, the structure is quite intact and beautiful. It was specifically built for the women (queens) of the royal families.
The Royal Enclosure
The Royal Enclosure was that part of Hampi, where the king of the Vijayanagar Empire once ruled. Now the place is a fortified area and a wide, open ground with many shelters.
The area spans hundreds of square kilometers and some important structures like King’s Audience Hall, House of Victory, stepped tank can be observed.
This is the highest spot in Hampi and offers some amazing views for travel photographers.
It takes around 30 minutes to reach the top may require more effort than Hemakuta hill, but it’s worth the trouble as it offers scenic views, especially during sunrise and sunset.
Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary
This sanctuary is filled with Indian Sloth Bears and is located in Ballari District in Karnataka. With an area that spreads over 82.72 sq. km., this place is around 15 km. from Hampi.
There are also other animals like leopard, mongoose, tiger, pangolins, deer etc.
Elephant stables are one of the attractive places to visit in Hampi. This is a chamber-structured building in Hampi, that was once used as an enclosure for the elephants of royal families.
11 dome-shaped tall chambers span the building and you can get a glimpse of both Hindu and Islamic culture by looking at the designs on domes.
Lakshmi Narasimha Temple
This temple is known for one of the most intriguing statues of Lord Narasimha, which is an avatar of Lord Vishnu.
The statue is placed on a coil of a giant seven-headed snake (Sesha) and the head of this snake protrudes from behind the statue – acting as a hood – above the statue.
Laughing Buddha Café
This is one of those foodie-lovers places in Hampi. Offering a stunning view of the Tungabhadra River, this café serves a variety of tasty food dishes like pizza, burgers, curry, sizzlers, and some fruit juices.
With soothing music that is played in the background, this would be a nice place to relax after all that exploration in Hampi.
Food, Cuisine, and Restaurants
After a detailed tour of those temples and monuments in Hampi, you are bound to feel hungry! But worry not, for Hampi has a variety of tasty food dishes and good restaurants around the area, especially in the Hampi Bazaar region.
The primary food for breakfast, of course, would be Idli and Dosa and that is just awesome and tasty. For lunch, you can get a full Veg. thali that has a lot of different food varieties to tease your taste buds.
Non-veg food is somewhat difficult to get in Hampi, mainly due to the presence of temples in the area and abundant availability of vegetarian food. But some big hotels in the city do serve non-veg. food.
However, once you taste the awesomeness of tasty Vegetarian food in Hampi, you will forget about Non-vegetarian food, at least for the rest of the trip!
Thus, Hampi is one of the great and attractive tourist places to visit that denotes India’s historical importance and architecture. It is one of the recommended tourist places to visit in South India.
It has every element for a memorable trip: ancient ruins, temples, architecture, tasty food, stone structures, river, beautiful nature, etc. Hampi will keep you engaged for a few days and make your trip more exciting.