Hampi Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by anilpradhanshillong
  • Things to Do
    by anilpradhanshillong
  • Things to Do
    by anilpradhanshillong

Most Recent Things to Do in Hampi

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    05-Vitthala Temple

    by anilpradhanshillong Updated May 27, 2014

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    After arriving at Hampi, we still had a few hours of daylight before night fell. Our approved guide, Hussen P (+91-9448719147; hussenguide1@yahoo. com), B.A. Dip. in Archaeology & Tourism), suggested Vitthala Temple, the most splendid building still standing in Hampi. That attraction would take a good 2.5 hours, if not more, to visit.

    The temple is situated on the southern bank of the Tungabhadra River, overlooking the Rishyamuka hill and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in the form of Vitthala or Krishna. It was begun by Krishna Deva Raya in 1513 with additions by his wives and successors. The temple was still under construction when the city was completely destroyed by the Muslim Confederacy in 1565 AD.

    You park your vehicle at the designated car parking lot and then take a battery-operated vehicle (7 am to 5.30 pm) to the temple. The vehicle can seat 8 people, has a tarpaulin roof, no doors and runs at a comfortable pace. Along the dusty track, you pass the ancient market as well as the holy pool.

    The impressive arched entrance of Vitthala Temple is a sight to behold. Hewn out of massive boulders, there are sculptures carved on the rock surface. On all four sides, high walls surround the temple complex while the entire floor area of the courtyard is paved with large slabs of stones.
    The first object that strikes your eye is the stone chariot, still in remarkable shape. Two stone elephants guard the chariot which is placed on a raised platform. The wheels are as richly decorated as the rest of the chariot but may no longer be turned as the stone axis have all but worn out. Stone steps lead to the top enclosure of this chariot.

    Immediately behind the stone chariot is the Vitthala Temple on raised platform which is intricately carved with horses and men and travellers. Huge monolithic stones act as pillars from which delicate smaller pillars have been carved out. These 56 slender, musical pillars, when struck gently, resonate with different musical tones. This is a work of art. Of special interest are the curved endings of the roof which may have served as points for hanging of lanterns or bells. Exquisite bracelet designs are also found in abundance next to these curved endings. Two large stone elephants guard the entrance. There are four entrances to the central hall of the temple on all the four sides. Scenes from the ‘Ramayana’ adorn the roof and sides of the halls. The main image from the sanctum sanctorum is now in the Chennai Museum.

    The Kalyana Mandapa is to the south-east of the temple. Its magnificence rivals that of the main temple. The open area in the centre of this architectural wonder was used for placing the images of the gods and the goddesses during religious ceremonies.

    To the right of the Vitthala Temple (south-west) is a tree, at least a few centuries old. Though withered to a great extent, it still stands proudly and firmly, defying time and the school boys who insist on scampering up its branches.

    The Amman shrine and some other buildings are of no particular interest after the brilliance of the Temple and of the Kalyana Mandapa.

    Tickets are required to enter this temple. The cost is a nominal amount of INR 10/- for Indian nationals.There is a separate ticket for the use of the battery-operated vehicle which ferries you from the parking lot to the temple and back.

    First Written: Feb. 18, 2013

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    Malayavanta Raghunatha Temple

    by abi_maha Written Nov 17, 2013
    The Temple Complex
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    Lord Rama is always seen standing, but Hampi hosts a unique temple where Rama and Laxmana are in sitting posture. This is the Malayavanta Raghunatha Temple, a little far from the heart of the city which is the reason why it was not destroyed by the Muslim invaders at the fall of the empire. Pooja's continue to happen here, the complex itself is beautiful and do not miss going to the back of the temple for some panaromic views. We also met a very interesting saint who had come all the way from Ayodhya here. There are some interesting rock sculptures of Shiv Ling also here.

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    Public Bath

    by abi_maha Written Nov 17, 2013
    Large public pool

    Further form the pushkarni is a public swimming pool- it can only be described as a huge pool!! By the time we got here it had started raining...so we took a quick round and started back towards the palace...when the downpour started the guide suddenly took us thru an underground passage where we took shelter form the rain for a few minutes.

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    Pushkarni

    by abi_maha Written Nov 17, 2013
    Stepped Tank Pushkarni

    Pushkaranis are sacred tanks attached to temples- most of the large temples in Hampi have a pushkarni attached to it. These tanks are fed in thru rain water harvesting but from a ritualistic perspective they are treated with great respect. Please don't throw garbage or put your slippers in the water. Most people spray a little of this water on their head as an offering of obeisance to the temple in the vicinity. In active temples the gods may be brought here for an immersion too.
    The stepped tank pushkarni is Hampi's most popular pushkarni and this is just walking distance from the king's palace.

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    King's Palace

    by abi_maha Written Nov 17, 2013

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    The King's palace is said to have been a resplendent structure, unfortunately they were built of wood based on a sprawling stone foundation. Today only the foundation remains, the palaces fell prey to the arsenal that followed the fall of this mighty empire. However interestingly enough some secret underground passageways remain and our guide skillfully guided us thru them to avert the rains that we were stuck in during our visit of the King's Palace Complex.

    Merely climbing the foundation itself provides us with a 360 degree view of the city. Sprawlying in size, surely the King's palace plays on one's imagination as we try to conjure up what could have been!

    At the entrance to the palace we can see a huge stone door- what strength it must have taken to operate them- one can only imagine!!

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    Queens Bath

    by abi_maha Written Nov 17, 2013
    The Queens Bath
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    What looks like an unassuming building from outside is in fact a royal bath enclosure. A walkway surrounds what was the 'pool' and it hosts some balconies. Also the pool has a water harvesting capability to ensure adequate water supply in the pool for the queens to bathe in. The walkway around has beautiful carvings on the roof, in what is believed to be the lotus at various stages of bloom. The canal outside is the source of water and it had a means of auto adjusting the height of the water to ideal height as desired by the queens.

    We took turns posing in and outside this structure :)

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    Elephant Stables- A dream come true

    by abi_maha Updated Nov 17, 2013
    A double rainbow flanks the lovely stables
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    Once the rain let up a little we walked ahead from the Lotus Mahal to see the elephant stables behind. The structure itself was beautiful, every stable had some carvings inside. Again it started raining and as we stood in the stable we got a view of what the elephants would see on an October day :) The sunlight played beautifully against the trees and very soon we had both the sun and the rains in all their glory. we fooled around a bit with the play of light on our shadows and sure enough when we got out the stables were flanked by a dream like double rainbow! :-D An unforgettable moment was captured on camera...!

    Just as we were rushing in Shyam and AJ had decided to leave their DSLR's behind since they didn't want to risk a wet camera in the rains...however when this beautiful rainbow formed a backdrop tot he stables they both regretted their decision severely...for once an I Phone took a pic that the DSLR missed.!

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    Visit Lotus Mahal

    by abi_maha Written Nov 17, 2013
    2 storied Lotus Mahal
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    It started raining on our second day tour of the city, it is then that we ran to the Lotus Mahal for shelter. Basically this is a two storied structure with an open base floor there is an upper floor with balconies and arched windows, however the access to this is now closed. This is believed to be a social area for the queens of the empire and this structure is guarded by 3 sentinel posts.

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    Saraswati Complex

    by abi_maha Written Nov 17, 2013
    Silhouette photo
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    This temple is dedicated to Goddess Saraswathi, the goddess of learning. We came here on the very first day of our arrival and found it almost deserted excepting for a few local by passers. We spent a good couple of hours taking pictures in and around the temple. It was very dark inside so we didn't get to see the idol. It is located right at the entrance of the road to the King's palace. A brief flight of steps leads to the temple, against the fading sun we got some great silhouettes of this temple. I couldn't help feel the plants growing on the Gopuram looked like scarce hair on a balding man's head! =))

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    Hazarama Temple

    by abi_maha Written Nov 17, 2013
    Panaromic view of the temple complex
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    The name Hazarama literally translated means a thousand Ramas, the name is believed to be derived from the fact that the walls are carriers of thousands of carvings narrating the entire story of Ramayana- an Indian epic.

    The temple is not very vast and is located within the royal enclosure very close to the King's Palace. However the exquisite carvings are mesmerizing and the details in the sculptures (bangles women are wearing to nose rings) are indeed a work of art!

    As you walk around the temple complex you will notice mantapas behind the temple and simple rain water harvesting constructs. Once inside you will see the 10 avatars of Vishnu etched on sandstone pillars that are breathtakingly detailed.

    Do not ruch away from the temple, we witnessed 2 gorgeous sunsets at this temple...the manicured lawns outside also make for a good picnic spot. Behind the temple is the erstwile elephant mounting station and the mint.

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    Tungabhadra behind Vittala

    by abi_maha Written Nov 17, 2013
    The river flows in full force
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    Having come to Hampi you must not miss visiting the Purandaradasa Mantapa situated right on the river Tungabhadra. The walk to the river itself from the Vittala Complex is a short 5 minutes. The currents are very strong and you will see the mantap only if you are lucky- more often than not it could be submerged under the river in the monsoon months :)

    The Purandaradasa Mantapa is an elevated pavilion found near the Vijaya Vittala temple. According to a popular folklore, the great saint poet Purandaradasa who is known to have composed about 75,000 songs once upon a time, sat here and sang songs in praise of his favourite god, Vittala. Sadly none of his songs were documented, most of them have been lost and only about a thousand odd are known to exist. But consider his greatness at having composed 75,000 hymns in a single lifetime. The mantapa also has a small statue of Purandaradasa with the tambura. We sat here for hours in conversation with our feet in the running tungabhadra waters. Finally when it was time to leave we paid obeisance to the statue and reluctantly left. On the way back we stopped for a glass of sugarcane juice at the entrance of the pathway to the mantap. All in all a morning very well spent :)

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    Climb Matanga Hills

    by abi_maha Written Nov 17, 2013
    Me in the mantap at the peak
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    Matanga Hills is right at the heart of Hampi and it has the exclusive advantage of being the highest point in Hampi offering 360 degree aerial views of this city that can be any photographer's dream :) The minute our guide mentioned this to us we were eager to climb the hills. So on the second day the 6 of us set off on this 2 hour trek. We started from our hotel at 5:45 and reached the Virupakasha Parking lot by 6 AM. From here we set off on the climb. Every 5 minutes we were ascending at a decent pace and when we turned around we had a new sight accost us. What is beautiful about Hampi is its seemingly barren rocks interspersed with some dense foliage in the form of palm groves and paddy fields juxtapose the beauty of brown and green canvas all around you. No place is a better place than the Matanga Hills to view this!!
    Once you climb up to the peak there is a narrow trail on the opposite side that connects you to the Achyutaraya Complex. So we descended from there to walk all the way to the Tungabhadra. Thsi is where we got some yum freshly prepared idli and chilli bhajji for breakfast amid some flutter caused by a blind cat that kept meowing at us under our seats by the river. Once done with breakfast we made a quick visit to the rama temple there and walked by the river back to the hampi bazaar.
    All in all the trip was a good 5 hours but we enjoyed every second of it!! :-) Do not miss this trail if you are in Hampi

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    Visit Achyutaraya Temple Complex

    by abi_maha Written Nov 16, 2013
    Inner and outer columns
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    Completed in AD 1534, this temple is a fine example of Vijayanagara style temple architecture in its most advanced form - being the last of the grandiose projects of this empire- it stands tall in all its glory between the hills of Mathanga and Gangamadana.The temple dedicated to Lord Tiruvengalanatha, a form of Vishnu , was constructed by a high officer in Achyuta Raya’s court and hence the name. This complex is a little secluded from the rest of the Hampi ruins, making this a bit secluded and deserted. Sadly this also makes it a hot spot for smoking pot as well as some untoward incidents. You are well advised to go here only with a local guide and in larger groups.
    The main shrine is located at the centre of two rectangular concentric courtyards- the inner sides of both the courtyard walls are lined with a pillared verandah (see pics for a better understanding). The outer cloisters are mostly in ruins with the pillars scattered randomly along the wall base. Two huge ruined towers (gopuras), one behind the other, give access to the temple courtyards.
    If you are daring enough do venture to the small shakti temple v=behind this complex- makes for a lovely quiet prayer place.

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    Virupaksha Temple

    by abi_maha Written Nov 16, 2013
    The Chariot Street leading up to the East entrance
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    Virupaksha temple is the oldest and the principal temple in Hampi and it almost feels as if all roads in Hampi lead to the Virupaksha. This temple is located on the south bank of the river Tungabadra, just next to where the local bus drops you. It is also in the midst of the Hampi Bazaar making it the most visited landmark in Hampi. This area in general has been an important pilgrimage centre for the worshipers of lord Shiva- hence you see both tourists and pilgrims at this temple.The very origin of Hampis history as a sacred place revolves around the myths associated with this temple- It believed that this temple has been functioning uninterruptedly ever since its inception in the 7th century AD which makes it one of the oldest functioning temples in India.
    The original worship place was only a few separate humble shrines (believed to be as old as 7th century) housing the image of the god and the goddesses. Over the centuries the temple gradually expanded into a sprawling complex with many sub shrines, pillared halls, flag posts, lamp posts, towered gateways and even a large temple kitchen. You access the temples main entrance tower through the chariot street in front now popularly called the Hampi Bazaar.
    This east facing giant tower (Gopura) leads you the first courtyard of the temple complex. This pastel painted 9 storied tower with a pair of cow horn like projections on top is the most prominent landmark in Hampi. The lower two tiers of the tower is made of decorated stone work. We can see this tower from almost anywhere in Hampi.
    The main temple is east facing and has two large courtyards, one leading to the other. You directly enter into the first courtyard through the tower mentioned above. This courtyard mainly houses a pillared hall called 100-column hall at the far left corner, Kalyanamantapa at the far right corner, administrative offices, the ticket counter, a police outpost and even an old well.
    Just next to your left immediately after you have entered, you can see the unusual triple headed Nandi (bull statue). Behind this the wall is painted with a large map of Hampi with the main attractions marked. Also the temple hosts an Elephant, so do pay a visit if you are interested. This is probably the only complex open until 8 PM. So you can also visit it at the end of your day if you are in Hampi for only a short period of time.

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    Visit Krishna Temple Complex

    by abi_maha Written Nov 16, 2013
    Krishna Temple from Mathanga View

    When we visited Hampi in Oct 2013 the Krishna Temple was under restoration having been excavated only in the last decade. This temple was built by king Krishnadevaraya to celebrate the conquest of Utkala (present day Orissa). The main idol installed was that of Bala Krishna (Young Krishna) and you can also see the carvings of the 10 avatars of Lord Vishnu. (This is nothing but the Hindu mythology version of the evolution of life on Earth)
    Since we did not go into this temple complex I don't have too many photos to upload, however even viewed from the Mathanga hills it was a beautiful complex.

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