The erstwhile City of Victory, Hampi is today reckoned as a prominent UNESCO World Heritage Site in India that owes its importance to the legacy left behind by the Vijayanagara Empire. It is the famous heritage town in Karnataka that features the largest Open-air Museum in the world along with magnificent palaces, ancient temples, waterworks, markets, hamams and whatnot. Founded by Harihara and Bukka, Hampi was once the royal city and the centre of trade.
Right from diamonds to pearls, silks and brocades, this capital of Vijayanagara Empire was inhabited by the merchants who traded the precious commodities. Besides its grandeur, the uncanny boulder strewn landscape of Hampi is also recognised as one of the oldest exposed surfaces on earth.
A delightful place to catch a glimpse of magnificence of bygone era, the imposing monuments in Hampi and their architectural brilliance will never cease to fascinate the visitors. It is certainly among the best places in India that has stunning landscape, vibrant culture and rich heritage in store.
Best Time to Visit Hampi
The weather during summers is hot and stifling in Hampi therefore the best time to visit this historical town is during the winter season that falls between October to February. During these months the weather remains pleasant and travellers are at ease for sightseeing and excursions.
Also, two important festivals of Karnataka, Virupaksha Temple Car Festival and Purandaradasa Aradhana Music Festival are celebrated in January or February. Adding these festivals to your schedule will be enriching and delightful.
History of Hampi
The excavations in Hampi suggest its history dating back to the Neolithic and Chalcolithic era, i.e., the 2nd and the 3rd century. It is believed that in the 3rd century, Hampi grew to prominence and became an integral part of the Mauryan Empire. Many proofs in the form of rock edifices belonging to the timeline of Ashoka have been found in the region which supports the fact. In 1336 AD, Hampi became the capital of Vijaynagar and flourished under the rule of Krishnadeva Raya who belonged to the Tuluva Dynasty. The ruins along with the concert halls as well as the bazaars and boulders of this place speak of the eminence of the Vijayanagar empire.
Talking about trade, Hampi had a good flow of commerce with Vijayanagara and became the richest empire. Over two centennials, the flourishing city witnessed four rulers on its throne.
Folklore of Hakka and Bukka
Hakka and Bukka were local chiefs who once went on a hunting expedition. They experienced an unusual mystery of a hare chasing a hound while hunting and narrated the incident to Guru Vidyaranya. This made Guru so fascinated with the land that he shifted his capital to Hampi. This was the beginning of this flourishing kingdom and which is why it became popular as the City of Victory.
History Behind its Name
Hampi’s name has been derived from one of the old names of Tungabhadra River - Pampa. In the Kannada language, Pampa became Hampe from which the name of Hampi has been taken.
Legend Associated with Ramayana
Interestingly, there is a legend associated with Hampi which dates back to the time of Ramayana. In one of the episodes of Ramayana, both Lord Ram and Lord Lakshman travelled to the land of monkeys that was none other than the soil of Hampi. This anecdote is backed by proof that suggests its mythological significance.
Places To Visit In Hampi
Hampi is among the best places to visit in Karnataka. The ruins here are spread over an area of around 26 sq km. There are the remains from the last Hindu kingdom that highlights the richness of the Vijayanagar Empire. However, the major attractions of Hampi are the Virupaksha and Vitthala temples. The bygone past of this place, along with its ruins comes across as fascinating and is a prime reason for travel enthusiasts to visit this place. So check out the list of major attractions in and around Hampi and know why it is so popular.
1. Virupaksha Temple
Hampi is popular as the heritage temple town of Karnataka as it is home to many beautiful temples. One such temple is Virupaksha Temple which is extremely famous for its beautiful architecture. This temple is also known as the Pampapathi Temple. It traces its roots back to the 7th century and with this, it comes across as one of the oldest functioning temples in India. People with religious inclinations are bound to like this place. Virupaksha temple is one of the best historical places in Karnataka.
2. Vijaya Vittala Temple
The Vittala temple in Hampi is known for its enchanting architecture. The main attraction of this breathtaking temple is its beautifully carved stone chariot. This iconic temple also features musical pillars which are truly fascinating. Due to its overall magnificence, this particular temple was considered as one of the most famous structures in Hampi. Also, this temple serves as the venue for the famous Purandaradasa festival.
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3. Archaeological Museum
The Archeological Museum is one of the best places to visit in Hampi as it will take you back in time when this place was flourishing and known to be the richest. There are various galleries where beautiful sculptures, gold coins, precious stones and myriad artefacts are displayed for public view. This museum is a treat for history buffs and travel aficionados.
4. Ruins of Vijayanagara
If you visit Hampi, then you get this amazing opportunity of discovering the fascinating sights of the ruins of Vijayanagara. These ruins withstanding the testimony of time depicts the grandeur and architectural finesse during Vijayanagara Empire. These ruins are not only a top attraction for heritage lovers but also are a dream for trekkers and hikers as it is spread over a massive area. Make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes whilst exploring this spectacular site in Hampi.
5. The King's Balance
One of the top attractions of Hampi is the King's Balance which is also known as Tulapurushandana. This magnificent arch like structure which is about 5 m tall is located on the southwest of the Vittala temple. This place in Hampi holds much importance as it was a site where the King was weighed with gold and many other precious stones during the eclipses and the festival of Dussehra. The carved pillars here speak volumes about the grand rituals practised during Krishna Deva Raya’s kingdom.
6. The Narasimha Statue
One of the brilliant monolithic statues in Hampi, witnessing Narasimha statue is a sight to behold. This mammoth sized statue is carved out from a single stone and depicts the dexterity of the artisans from the bygone era.
7. Hampi Bazaar
Hampi Bazaar is where you can indulge in some gratifying retail therapy. You can shop for jewellery, clothes, antiques and also discover the beauty of this market as it was once a residential area where the nobles used to stay. This market has an old world charm which fascinates shopaholics and history buffs alike.
Festivals to Attend in Hampi
Pattadakal Dance festival is quite famous among the locals of Hampi. It is an annual festival that is organised by the Government of Karnataka in the town of Pattadakal. The performances by the participants in this festival are quite awe-inspiring and give a kaleidoscopic view of their colourful culture.
A famous traditional festival of Karnataka that is celebrated on a yearly basis, the Kambala festival is absolutely amazing. Once it was a favourite pastime of the royals, now this buffalo race festival has become a prominent tradition. This age-old tradition is carried out by the farming community and Tuluva landlords. Do attend this festival for an enriching experience.
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3. Hampi Festival
The Hampi Festival is also known as the Hampi Utsav. This cultural festival of Karnataka is held every year between 3rd to 5th November. It is a recreation of the grandeur of Vijayanagar Kingdom through dance and music. Artists perform and enact the anecdotes from the glorious era along with fireworks and puppet shows which are the top attractions of the festival. This festival is celebrated with great fervour and gives an opportunity to delve into the rich past of the region.
How To Reach Hampi
Hampi is an intriguing city located in Karnataka, however, you cannot reach this place directly by Flight and train. The idea behind not developing its infrastructure is to maintain this heritage town in its original state. This is infact a thoughtful initiative to preserve our glorious past that is present in the ruins here.
So here’s the best way to reach Hampi without any hassle.
Hubli Airport is the second nearest airport to Hampi which is situated at a distance of around 160 km. This airport serves the twin cities of Hubli and Dharwad. It is considered to be the third busiest airport in Karnataka and 45th in all over India. This airport has overall good connectivity with other Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, however, if you are travelling from other countries then you will have to take a flight to Bengaluru which serves as the closest international airport to Hampi.
After deboarding at the airport, you will need to cover the remaining distance to Hampi via cab or some other means of transportation.
Hampi doesn’t have a railway station of its own. The nearest railway station is Hospet that is located at a distance of around 13 km from Hampi. It has good connectivity with other Indian cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, and Goa. Some good options to reach here are Hampi Express, Amaravathi Express, and Haripriya Express.
After you deboard at the railway station, you can easily get a cab or even a bus to reach Hampi.
Hampi has good connectivity with other cities through roadways. You can opt for interstate buses to reach here or you can also drive down to Hampi in your own car or bike depending on your comfort and budget.
Frequently Asked Questions Related to Hampi
Q 1. Why is Hampi famous?
A 1. Hampi is famous for the glorious heritage of Vijayanagar Empire that is found in the ruins here. It is reckoned as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it is home to about 500 ancient relics that includes monuments, temples and captivating ruins.
Q 2. Why should people visit Hampi?
A 2. Visiting Hampi is a once in a lifetime experience as people get to witness the grandeur of Hampi in its beautiful monuments and temples.
Q 3. Who discovered Hampi?
A 3. Harihara and Bukka founded the Vijayanagara Empire in 1336 AD.
Q 4. Which is the best time to visit Hampi?
A 4. Winter season between October to February is an ideal time to visit Hampi.
Q 5. Are tourists allowed in Hampi?
A 5. This beautiful site in Karnataka that is preserved in its original form for Tourism hence, tourists are allowed to visit and explore the ancient relics of Hampi for a memorable experience.
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