Hampi is located in the northern part of Karnataka. It is one of the popular temple towns of South India. Hampi was a part of the Vijayanagara Empire and it is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. For Hindu followers, Hampi is still a spiritual hub. It was under the Kingdom of Maurya during the 3rd century. During excavation, the archaeologists found a seal which was dated to 2nd century CE. In the Vijayanagar Kingdom, Hampi was a beautiful place during the period 1343 to 1565.
During the 14th century, Kampili Kingdom was at its best. The brothers Harihara and Bukka were in-charge of the kingdom. They had a fight with Mohammed Bin Tughlaq once and lost it. The Tughlaq took the brothers into custody along with some others. Because of their brilliance, the brothers were sent out from the jail. Then they made Kampili into the Vijayanagara Kingdom. But it was made into a reality by Harihara 1 and Bukka 1. Hampi’s one side was Tungabhadra River and other three sides were covered with hills. Hampi was naturally protected from the invaders. In 1800 only Hampi leftovers were examined.
The Stone Chariot of Hampi
The Stone chariot is something that you should first visit in Hampi. It is a beautiful treat for your eyes. It is a holy place which is devoted to Garuda. This is within the Vittala temple compound. There was a huge statue of Garuda on top of the Chariot, but currently, nothing is there. This stone chariot comes under the three chariots of India, the other two being Orissa’s Konark and Tamil Nadu’s Mahabalipuram. This was made by ruler Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara kingdom in the 16th century. Once he had a fight at Odissa where he saw the Konark Sun chariot. He wanted to build something like that in his region. The architectural brilliance of the Chariot is really worth exploring. The people of Hampi believe that the world will end the moment this Chariot moves from its present status.
Home of Vijayanagara Kings and Queens
Photo by rambla
When we discuss Hampi, all of us will be verbal about the musical pillars and Vittala temples. But there’s another interesting place where the Vijayanagara Royal family used to stay earlier. It is actually stretched across 59000 sq mts. At present the whole place in ruins. But if you move around the place you can get some idea about their amazing lifestyle. The Vijayanagara Empire was centered on Hampi. This royal home had worship places, underground compartments, containers, stages, and halls. More than 45 buildings were there in the complex. You could see the Mughal and Vijayanagara style of architecture in the constructions. The frontage of the palaces is either east or north. A strong Mughal influence in structural design is visible at the Lotus Mahal.
Photo by MysteryBee
This temple is devoted to Lord Shiva. During the term of Raja Deva Raya 2, the temple was made under the guidance of Lakkana Dandesha. Virupaksha temple has many devotees and they visit the temple in the last month of every year. In the month of February, every year, they conduct the Chariot festival. It was made sometime during the 7th century in a very small manner. Lord Shiva’s deity was made in the 9th century. Later, it was converted into a big temple complex. The Chalukya and Hoysala periods were more significant in the development of Virupaksha temple. Vijayanagara kingdom was under threat when the Muslim invaders attacked. But this temple never was under any threat. In the 19th century, some additions were made to the Virupaksha temple.
Photo by nickjohnson
Hampi has many temples such as Saraswathi temple, Achyuta Raya temple, and Sasivekalu Ganesha temple. If you visit these temples, you will come to know the architectural excellence of Vijayanagara style. You must also visit the Lotus Mahal, Dassara Dibba and Hampi Bazar where you could find old coins, handicrafts, handmade bags and designer scarf. Hampi bazaar is a place where can spend hours shopping and exploring India’s rich culture.
Featured Photo by rajagopal_rajeev