Things to do in hampi
I have traveled across the globe and I can confidently say I have never seen such a place before. You will come here trying to explore the remains of the lost civilization but instead you will lose yourself in the mystery called Hampi.
The moment you arrive in Hampi it feels that you have stepped into another world, a world of fantasy straight from pages of Ice and Fire or Lord of the Rings.
Here’s a list of top Hampi attractions and best places to visit in Hampi:
Surprisingly well preserved and still in use today, Virupaksha Temple stands majestically tall, as it has done for centuries, at one end of the Hampi bazaar. The temple, located on the banks of a small tributary of river Tungbhadra, is dedicated to Lord Virupaksha, an avatar of Lord Shiva.
The temple is believed to be constructed somewhere in the 7th century much before the risde of Vijayanagara empire. But the temple grew in prominence only during the rule of Vijayanagara empire. The famous king Krishnadevaraya is said to be an ardent devotee of Lord Virupaksha. Fortunately, the temple miraculously escaped the wrath of mogul onslaught in the 16th century. Virupaksha is quite a big temple with a large courtyard, inner sanctum and a group smaller temples. Inside the temple it’s hard to miss the giant statue of nandi, the vahana of Lord Shiva, located somewhat in the center of the courtyard. The temple is still functioning and if you are interested you can do a darshan inside, and partake in the pooja activities.
Virupaksha Temple also a cute temple elephant name Lakshmi which you can see roaming around(!). You can get blessings from her or if you are lucky you can watch it take bath in the nearby river.
Located bit away from the center of Hampi is the Vittala temple which spreads over acres of land and sits // by the side of meandering Tungbadhra river with a backdrop of //uneven hills //boulders. The temple was constructed in 15th century and is marvel of architecture and a testimony of building and designing skills of the Vijayanagara time period. Around the temple you’ll remains of a once fledging township, called Vittalapura.
The entry to the temple is so long that you need to take an electric golf cart to the entrance. At the entrance you’ll buy a ticket which costs 20 INR/- for Indians and $5 for foreign nationalities. The temple opens at 8 AM and closes at 5 PM.
The first thing you’d notice when you enter the complex is the iconic stone chariot synonymous with the name of Hampi itself. The various temple buildings are well laid out in a geometric shape.
The buildings appear to be huge monolith but in reality the architecture is such it hides the connecting points between the massive granite blocks making the structure look like it is cut from one stone.
The other interesting aspect is the majestic pillared halls which are made of single granite and are intricately carved. Mahamandapa (The great Mantapa) is notable for the musical pillars which were designed in a way to enhance the sound of musical instrument that played in there.
If you are interested in further understanding of the temple architecture and the carving, I suggest you hire a local hampi Travel guide who you’d find waiting at the entrance of the Vittala temple. This way you would also help support the local economy. The guide will cost you about 150/- INR. Try not negotiate if you are traveling in a group – you can certainly afford it and the guide will not cut back and enthusiastically show your around.
Hampi Bazaar Walk to Vittala
The walk to Vittala temple complex has to be right on top of you Humpy itinerary. The walk takes you along the serpentine river and through the mountainous path. On your way you will come across lots of ruins which do not feature in the tourist circuit. One of the highlights of the walk is the old remains of Tulabharam – a giant scale which on which the king was weighed against precious metals like gold, which was to be donated for the welfare of poor. I would go fasting for a month if I were the King!
I recommend you take a walk in the late evening under the orange hue of setting Sun when the route gets completed deserted. You’ll feel a strange eeriness around you, it is as if you are being watched. Spooky!
Monkey Temple Hampi
Located bit outside the temple of Hampi and easily accessible by hired moped is the old monkey temple perched high on top of a hill. As you might have guessed the temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The temple is small but remains quite busy. The complex includes Living quarters for the temple priest and family.
There are around 700 steps to the top and is a definitive fitness test for the lazy city folks. Once at the top you are aptly rewarded with the excellent 360-degree view of the entire valley! Giant boulders, crumbling hills, meandering river, majestic ruins, sprawling palm trees and the road like a thin line cutting across the moonlike Hampi landscape makes you forget your blues. Just sit on one of the giant boulders and watch the world go by.
Statue of Ugra Narsimha
The 6.70 metres tall statue of Ugra Narshimha, an incarnation of Vishnu, is unlike any idol you have seen so far. The statute Lord Narshimha sitting cross legged atop Seshanaga, the snake. Particularly notable are the angry expressions of the statute with eyes popping out of the socket.
This Imposing sculpture was built in 15th century under the reign of the famous Krishnadevaraya. The sculpture is actually Laxmi Narasimha but unfortunately the statue of Laxmi was completely destroyed during the Mogul invasion of Hampi.
Hampi – Travel Blog Tips
It is true in fact that the region for thousands of years has been mired in myths and legends. This is where nature has wreaked havoc working relentlessly for millions of years, this is where a kingdom rose to glory and then fell apart, this is where the great monkey god was born and this is where the ideal King gathered his army to march against the Lord of asura.
Hampi was once a bustling capital of the powerful Vijayanagra Empire which extended its influence over the entire South India. Hampi also finds its reference in Kishkindha Kanda, the fourth of the seven kanda of Ramayana. As the legends has it Hanuman was born in Hampi and ultimately met Lord Rama and Lakshmana. Rama helped Sugreeva in reclaiming the kingdom by killing his brother Bali, in return for a promise of an army which would march to Lanka and fight against the evil asura Ravana.
The surreal landscape of Hampi casts an indescribable spell on its visitors. Today, you will find the majestic ruins of the lost empire which fits seamlessly with a backdrop of huge boulder hills that surround the town.
As soon as you reach Hampi, grab a map from the hawkers whom you will find everywhere on the road creating minor annoyance to the tourists. They sell a small sized travel guidebook on Hampi which provides some basic information on the different ruin sites around the area; the booklet will cost you a mere twenty rupees. This Hampi guidebook also has a useful map which you can purchase separately if you don’t want to buy the guidebook; the map will cost you a whooping(!) five rupees.