When you hear the name Hampi, you will immediately think of the beautiful architecture of the sprawling city of Vijayanagar surrounding the famous ruins. The capital of the Vijayanagara Empire and a site that splendidly displays the Hoysala tradition of architecture, Vijayanagar or Hampi is a rhapsody in stone.
Some Quick Facts on Hampi
Though Hampi is ancient and is also mentioned in the Ramayana and was called Kishkintha according to historians, it truly flourished in the 13th to 16th centuries as the capital of the Vijayanagara kings.
Located in the northern part of Karnataka about 350 kilometers from Bangalore, Hampi can be easily reached by road in a matter of hours from Bangalore. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site that attracts millions of tourists every year. To fully experience the magnificence of the Hampi ruins, you can hire a bicycle and tour the ruins at your leisure as most tourists do.
Why Tourists Flock to Hampi - Tourist places in and around Hampi
Hampi is also famous for its religious history rather than just the architectural beauty of its ruins. There are many well known temples here including the Virupaksha Temple, the Vittala temple and Anjeneyadri. The Tungabhadra, one of the major rivers of Karnataka flows serenely along this town, providing an awe-inspiring natural setting near the ruins.
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The natural stones of the surrounding hills were the source of huge boulders which were used by the Vijayanagara kings for the impressive stone carved pillars of the temples in Hampi.
Apart from the temples and the natural scenery, there are also numerous water tanks and other public buildings that are beautifully constructed, reflecting the town-planning skills of the Vijayanagara kings. There are Aqueducts and Canals that give a glimpse into the water management system of the 13th to 15th centuries.
There are more 500 places of interest for visitors to check out, with over a 100 of them attracting thousands of visitors annually. The stone chariot at the Vittala Temple stands as an icon of the rock carving traditions of the Vijayanagara kings, and has been adopted as the emblem of the state's tourism department.
Excavation continues in Hampi to this date, with artifacts being unearthed on a daily basis. The Archeological Museum here is also a must-see for visitors to Hampi.
The Vijayanagara kings chose Hampi/Vijayanagara as their capital because of its location because surrounded by hills on three sides and fronted by the Tungabhadra; it offered enemies a difficult target. Today, the hillside and the river offer tourists some unforgettable natural and archeological splendor. Any visitor to South India should not miss this epitome of Hoysala architecture.
Winter is the ideal time to visit Hampi
Hampi can be reached by air, train and road.