Hampi is synonymous with ancient temples. In fact, it can be aptly called the temple village of Karnataka. Today the city may be in ruins, but its history is a testimony to its rich heritage. The numerous temples in the city clearly explain about its ageless beauty. It is located in north Karnataka. Originally Hampi was known as Pampa, the puranic name of the Tungabhadra river.Hampi was founded by the two local kings Hakka and Bukka in the 14th century. Later it became the capital of the famous Vijayanagara Empire.
Hampi is also mentioned in the great Hindu epic, Ramayana. Several legends are associated with the village. The Matanga Hill is the place where Sugriva took refuge after a battle with his brother Bali. Malyavanta Hill is the place, where lord Rama came in search of Hanumana. These hills are located in Hampi. Hampi is also known as the 'The City Of Ruins'. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is the blessed birth place of lord Hanuman. It is the land where he met lord Rama. In the city, a temple named Raghunatha is dedicated to lord Rama.
Hampi is blessed with numerous ancient temples built in very artistic style. These Hindu temples are still held in high esteem by Hindu devotees. Travellers from across the globe throng in here throughout the year. It boasts of around 500 monuments. These monuments include mesmerizing temples, palaces, remains of lakes and ponds, regal pavilions and much more.
Some of the most important temples in Hampi are: Virupaksha temple, Monolithic Bull, Varah temple, Ranganatha temple, Veerabhadra temple, Krishna temple, Hemakuta temple, Chandikeswara temple, Vishnupada Shrine, Saraswati temple and Sugreeva's Cave.
Virupaksha Temple is an ancient temple of Hampi steeped in beauty. It is located on the bank of the river Tungabadra. It is dedicated to lord Shiva who is also known as Virupaksha or Pampapati. Pampa is the name of the goddess Parvati, the consort of lord Shiva.
Nandi, the monolithic bull is a huge and impressive piece of architecture. It is located in the Virupaksha Bazaar, Hampi. Local people call it Yeduru Basavanna or Nandi. Nandi is the vehicle of Lord Shiva. It is also the gatekeeper of the lord. All the temples dedicated to lord Shiva always have a Nandi statue.
One of the finest architectural marvel of the Vijaynagara Dynasty, Varaha Temple is located in the northern end of the Courtesan's street. There is a beautiful river near the temple. The temple is famous for its wall carvings. The bas-relief's of boars are the wall carvings attracting tourist's attention.
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Ranganatha Temple is a must-see temple of Hampi. It is also called Vishnu Temple. Vishnu, the preserver of the universe, can be seen here resting on the serpent Ananta. This temple is located near the Achyut Raya's temple in the northern end of Courtesan's street.
Hampi is a major destination of Karnataka when it comes to brilliant temples. Perched on the highest point in Hampi, the Veerabhadra temple is located at the Matanga hilltop. It is blessed with peaceful ambiance. Despite being in ruins, the temple attracts a lot of tourists from far and wide.
As the name suggests, the Krishna temple is dedicated to lord Krishna. The main shrine of the temple had an extremely beautiful idol of Balkrishna(lord Krishna as an infant). This divine idol has now been transferred to the state museum in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Sugreeva's Cave was once the abode of the mythical monkey warrior Sugreeva, a great devotee of Lord Rama. It is a natural cave. The curiosity to see the home of the mythical monkey brings thousands of tourists to this cave every year. The place is very peaceful and offers panoramic views of the surroundings.
Hampi bazaar is lined with a few shops. Handlooms are its main shopping attractions. The famous shopping places in Hampi are Andhra Handloom House(Hospet), Karnataka Handloom (Station road) and Tamil Nadu Cooptex, Gandhi Chowk.
Hampi offers vegetarian South Indian dishes. Equally famous are its pancakes, pasta and bread toast. Non vegetarian food and alcohol are not available here.
Hampi does not offer any accommodation facility, but Hospet which is located 15 km from Hampi offers decent hotels. The hotels provide good facilities including sight-seeing tours in and around the city.
How to Reach
Air: The nearest airport is atTornagallu in Sandur. Other nearby airporta are at Bellary, Belgaum and Bangalore.
Rail: The nearest railway station is at Hospet which is connected to Hubli, Bijapur, Bangalore and Guntakal.
Road: Hampi is well connected to the major cities of South India by road. The main bus stop is located in Hampi bazaar area.