Hampi : Glory Of The Vijayayanagar Empire

I never thought there could be an archaeological site as vast and neat/clean as Hampi. From most of our travels, such sites are limited to tiny areas in congested villages or towns. Hampi is anything but that.

The name Hampi comes from Pampa, another name for Goddess Parvati. Hampi is also known as Pampa Kshetra, Kishkindha Kshetra or Bhaskara Kshetra. Lying on the banks of the Tungabhadra River in Karnataka, Hampi is spread over some 16 square miles and is one of the largest UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

We know from ancient texts that Hampi was part of the Mauryan empire at around 3rd Century BCE. In fact a terracotta seal and a Brahmi inscription have been found dating to around 2nd Century BCE. Hampi rose to prominence in the 14th Century CE (AD) as the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. It had become a prominet city of trade, culture and art. However it was plundered and destroyed first by Allauddin Khilji and then by Mohammad Bin Tughlaq. The city was broken and burnt. What we see today was what couldn’t be burnt or destroyed by those pillaging armies. My heart weeps to think what a beautiful city it once was.

To explore Hampi, take out at least 4 days. and hire a good local guide. Take it slow. Hampi gets very hot in the day so your walks have to be early morning and late afternoon. You are surely to love every aspect of this marvellous place.

Hampi Map
Map of the Hampi Group of Monuments.
Ganesh Temple Hampi
The Ganesha Temple greets you upon entering Hampi.
Ganesh Temple Hampi
A closer look at the Ganesha Temple.
Small Temple at Hampi
There are plenty of small monuments at Hampi like this one.
Bedavalinga Shiva Linga at Hampi
Located next to the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, the Bedava Linga Temple has the largest Shiva Linga in Hampi.
Lakshmi narasimha Temple at Hampi
The Lakshmi Narasimha Temple at Hampi. Narasimha is an incarnation of Vishnu. There was a statue of Goddess Lakshmi sitting on Narasimha’s lap. This was destroyed during one of the enemy raids.
Narasimha at Hampi
A closer look at Narasimha Statue in Hampi
Old Temple at Hampi
Another beautiful temple at Hampi. Note how the Gopuram made of bricks has been destroyed over the years.
Keeping Hampi Clean
An army of workers relentlessly keep Hampi clean. Big respect to these wonderful people.
Achyutaraya Temple Market
The Achyutaraya Temple Market complex is one of the l;argest market complexes. Traders would bring grains, fruits and vegetables etc to sell here.
Achyutaraya Temple
The Achyutaraya Temple is dedicated to Lord Tiruvengalanatha, an avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Achyutaraya Temple
The beautiful Achyutaraya Temple has carvings on monolithic blocks of stone.
Achyutaraya Temple
Beautifully carved pillars of the Achyutaraya Temple
Virupaksha Temple
Walking through the Hampi area, a view of the Virupaksha Temple.
Temple amidst boulders in Hampi
What I like aout Hampi is the beautiful landscape of these giant boulders and artistically sculpted temples in their midst.
Monuments in Hampi
The more you walk, the more wonderful monuments you discover.
Monuments in Hampi
Everywhere, there is beautiful architecture.
Monuments of Hampi
Monuments on the walk towards Virupaksha Temple
Sri Virupaksha Temple at Hampi
The Sri Virupaksha Temple at Hampi is ione of the holiest temples of this area. Containing shrines of Lord Shiva, Pampa and Bhuvaneshwari, it is also known as Pampapathi Temple.
Sri Virupaksha Temple at Hampi
The Sri Virupaksha temple at Hampi is very large and imposing. We were getting hungry and moved towards the small market area in search of food, but the large imposing architecture of the Virupaksha temple followed us everywhere.
Hampi Market
The little Market area near Sri Virupaksha Temple has all kinds of shops selling souvenirs as well as many cafes and restaurants.
Mango Cafe in Hampi.
Our wonderful guide took us to Mango Cafe, one of the must eat joints at Hampi. The food was nice and the ambience kind of bohemian.
Hampi Bazaar at Sri Virupaksha Temple
The Hampi Bazaar at Sri Virupaksha Temple, another ancient market area. These markets at Hampi tell us it was an important city with plenty of economic activity.
Mandapa at Hampi Bazaar
This Mandapa or stage at Hampi Bazaar was where performances or speeches were give. It looks towards the Sri Virupaksha Temple.

There is so much to see and do in Hampi it would be too much for one post. And apart from the main temple complex, there is so much to do around the Hampi area.

How to reach Hampi: Trains: There are many trains that stop at Hospet. Hampi is a short bus ride from Hospet.

Flight: The nearest airport is Hubli (around 160km away) but more practical would be Bangalore 270km away. You could land in Bangalore and take the overnight Hampi Express train.

By driving: We drove in. It’s fun. The roads are generally very nice.

8 thoughts on “Hampi : Glory Of The Vijayayanagar Empire”

  1. Nothing quite as humbling than to visit (or read about) an incredible historical site ~ wonderful photos, and you have brought out an amazing place for us to think and dream about.

  2. Hi Paramvir,

    Truly said we will minimum need 4-5days to cover Hampi and it is one the place in my checklist. The photos are too good, if you could also share the itinerary , then it would have been more helpful.


  3. I first learned about Hampi in 2008 or 2009 when my cousin bought me a French magazine with an article on this part of India in it, and I was instantly captivated. However, it wasn’t until 2015 that I finally got the chance to visit this corner of Karnataka. My friend and I took the train from the border of Goa and Karnataka all the way to Hospet. We spent three days in Hampi and every day this ancient city showed its beautiful temples wherever we looked. Such an incredible place!


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