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Places to Visit - Hampi

Hampi is a village in northern Karnataka state, India. It is located within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Predating the city of Vijayanagara, it continues to be an important religious centre, housing the Virupaksha Temple, as well as several other monuments belonging to the old city.

As the village is at the original centre of Vijayanagara, it is sometimes confused with the ruined city itself. The ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi.

History

Hampi is identified with the historical Kishkindha, the Vanara (monkey) kingdom mentioned in the Ramayana. The first historical settlements in Hampi date back to 1 CE.

Hampi formed one of the core areas of the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire from 1336 to 1565, when it was finally laid siege to by the Deccan Muslim confederacy.[1] Hampi was chosen because of its strategic location, bounded by the torrential Tungabhadra river on one side and surrounded by defensible hills on the other three sides.

The site is significant historically and architecturally. The topography abounds with large stones which have been used to make statues of Hindu deities. The Archaeological Survey of India continues to conduct excavations in the area, to discover additional artifacts and temples.

Temples

Hampi has various notable Hindu temples, some of which are still active places of worship. Among the most notable are:

  • Virupaksha Temple known as the Pampapathi temple, it is a Shiva temple situated in the Hampi Bazaar. It predates the founding of the Vijayanagar empire. The temple has a 160-foot (49 m) high tower at its entrance. Apart from Shiva, the temple complex also contains shrines of the Hindu goddesses Bhuvaneshwari and Pampa.
  • Hazara Rama Temple Complex : This ruined temple complex is well-known for elaborate frescos from Hindu Mythologies and a sprawling courtyard well-laid with gardens.
  • Krishna Temple Complex : This temple complex has been recently excavated through the last decade, and restoration work is still in progress.
  • Vittala Temple Complex : This is perhaps the most famous and well-known among the ruins of Hampi. The iconic stone chariot in the vicinity of this temple complex is a symbol of Karnataka Tourism. Off late, floodlights have been installed in the temple complex that provide illumination at dusk, thereby adding to the grandeur of the architecture.




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