Hampi is an ancient village in the southern Indian state of Karnataka but with a prominent character and 3 identities of its own as I came to know on my visit or should I say 4 as its now a UNESCO heritage site also apart from being a part of Krishna devaraya’s Kingdom, Birthplace of Hanuman, a has an important place in the Ramayana and also a Hippie’s paradise.
Its also a weekend getaway place for all the IT people working in either Bangalore or Hyderabad, as is almost equal distance from both.
If you ask any Indian about Hampi, his/her reply would be – there’s nothing much there, just a few temple ruins and all. But if you see the pattern most of the foreigners, they actually come to Hampi after they’ve been to Goa and then head to Kerala from there.
So what is it about Hampi that attracts every age group?
Time for a little historical background
- Hampi ( a.k.a Humpi or Hampe ) is both a historic & religious place in India. This was the capital of the Hindu empire,Vijayanagara, who ruled the south India during 14th to 16th century AD. By 1500s, Hmapi – Vijayanagara was the second-largest medieval-era city afetr Beijing, and probably India’s richest at that time, attracting traders from Persia and Portugal.
- But thats not it, Hampi is also mentioned in Ramayana and the Puranas of Hinduism as Pampaa (another name of goddess Parvati) Devi Tirtha Kshetra and the place Parvati pursued Shiva cam to be known as Hampi.
- It’s fame came from the Kishkinda chapters of Ramayana where Rama and Lakshmana meet Hanuman, Sugriva and the monkey army in their search for kidnapped Sita. The Hampi area has close resemblances to the place described in the epic. It’s the reason why Hampi also attracts a lot of pilgrims.
Vijayanagara Empire was defeated by a coalition of Muslim sultanates; its capital was conquered, pillaged and destroyed by sultanate armies in 1565, after which Hmapi remained in ruins.The ruins of Hampi, as it is known today, is a vast open museum of history, architecture and religion. It is spread over an area more than 25 square kilometers (10 square miles)
I guess that’s enough of Background and now lets get to the actual point of what all is worth seeing and not in Hampi. Now if you are a history lover or have come to Hampi to explore its historical side in deep then you can get all the information on Hampi.in. But if you are just going there for a short trip to chill out with friends(yeah you absolutely can do that) on the hippie side of Hampi but would still would want to take out some time to explore the historical ruins that Hampi has to offer then this is the place for you. Here you’ll find a list of all the places to give your time to on your first trip there. I’ll also mention if the place is ignorable only for it to make it a little more easier to decide which places to give a visit or not if you are short on time. Although I’d like to mention that Hampi cannot be covered in just one trip and once you are there you’ll definately want to go back there atleast one time more.
Let’s get started then.
Places to not miss in Hampi
Let’s start with the two of the most beautiful Sunrise points in Hampi:
1. Matanga hill.
This hill is about 300mtrs right opposite to the Virupaksha temple in the main Hampi Bazaar area. This place had to be on top of my list. If you’ve researched about Hampi before stopping by on my blog then you’d know that it’s a Sunrise point. But that’s not why it’s my favorite. The actual reason is the climb up the hill which is about 500 steps that too each step being about a foot in height. Does take a good half an hour to climb. But the view from the top of the Sunrise and the Achutraya temple down below on the back side of the hill is totally worth it.
2. Malyavantha Raghunath temple
From a religious and mythological point, Malyavanta Raghunatha Temple in Hampi is very significant. The main temple is dedicated to Lord Raghunatha (Rama).
The mythical association of the place with (Hampi’s version of ) Ramayana is interesting. Rama and Lakshmana were looking for shelter during the monsoon season. Rama aimed an arrow in the Malyavanta hill direction. A cleft on the boulder atop the Malyavanta Hill is caused by the arrow, according to this story. Rama and Lakshmana stayed here till the monsoon rains are over before marched to Lanka along with the army of Hanuman.
But its actually more famous for its surreal Sunrise. I had never seen the sun so up close and huge with shades of orange to yellow ombre. It was a perfect circle and felt very close. The sunrise faded from orangey to yellow.
I sat there till it almost faded into a
While experiencing this sunrise I think I understood why they say that everyday brings a ray of hope.
3. Achutraya temple
The Achyuta Raya Temple is in Hampi. It was built in 1534 AD.located between the Matanga hills and Gandhamadana.This was among the last dazzling temples that were constructed in the celebrated city of Hampi prior to the decline of the Vijayanagara Empire.
The location of the temple is secluded and off the more travelled path, the temple is much less crowded as compared to many other tourist attractions in Hampi.
Every where you go,just look up and you’ll see the stones have a black shade to it that’s because after achutraya lost to the invaders they put the whole kingdom on fire !
4. Vittala Temple
Vittala, after whom the temple is known, is a form of lord Vishnu.The highlight of Vittala temple is its impressive pillared halls and the stone chariot.This is in fact a shrine built in the form of a temple chariot. An image of Garuda (the eagle god) was originally enshrined within its sanctum. Garuda, according to the Hindu mythology, is the vehicle of lord Vishnu. Thus the Garuda shrine facing the temple’s sanctum is symbolic.
Stone chariot – 28 pieces on top of each
- Musical temple
- Stone chariot
- Bhajan Mantapa
- Garbh mandir
- Sabha Mantapa
- Laxmi temple
5. Virupaksha temple
The very origin of Hampi’s 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.That makes this one of the oldest functioning temples in India
Behind the main
6. Sunset from Hemakuta Hill
Hemakunta hill is the perfect spot to watch the sunset. It’s on the left of Virupaksha temple. Just follow the crowd and you’ll know where to go
7. Kodandarama Temple
One of the working temples of Hampi. It will fall on your way back to Hampi bazaar while coming from Achutraya temple
8. Elephant stables
This long building with a row of domed chambers was used to ‘park’ the royal elephants. There are 11 domed tall chambers; some of them are interconnected. However, the five pairs of domes on either side are of Islamic in style. You reach here through the Zenana Enclosure.
9. Royal Enclosure
- The most imposing structure in this area is the Mahanavami Dibba or the Dussehra Platform or the ‘House of Victory’
- King’s Audience Hall or the 100 Pillared Hall is located within the enclosure in the northwest area.
- Stepped tank is located in the southeast area.
10. Lotus Mahal
Rather this is the highlight in Zenana Enclosure.It’s peculiar to note that this is one of the beautiful structures that were left undamaged during the siege of the city
11. Queens bath
This is the first ruined structure you would see when you enter into the Royal center from the Kamalapura-Hampi main road.
It’s a bit an assuming plane rectangular building from outside. But when you get inside, the story is different.
The whole building is made with a veranda around facing a big open pond at the middle. Projecting into the pond are many balconies. An aqueduct terminates in the pond.
12. Underground Shiva temple – shivalinga is still there
For some curious reasons, this temple dedicated for Lord Siva was built many meters below the ground level. For this reason, almost all the time the sanctum and the core parts of the temple are under water, restricting entry to the inner areas
13. Kadekalu Ganesh temple
This giant statue of Ganesha was carved out of a huge boulder at the northeastern slope of the Hemakuta hill. The belly of this statue resembles a Bengal gram (Kadalekalu, in local language) and hence the name. This 4.5 meters (15 feet) tall statue is one among the largest sculptures in Hampi. The pillared hall is a vantage point to survey the environs, especially the Hampi Bazaar and the foothills of Matanga Hill
This is the largest Linga image in Hampi. Located next to the Lakshmi Narasimha statue the Linga is housed inside a chamber with an opening in the front. A close look on this icon can reveal three eyes (depicting the three eyes of Shiva) carved on it. Legend has it that this was commissioned by a peasant woman and hence the name (Badva means poor in local tongue).
15. Lakshmi Narasimha Temple
This is the largest statue in Hampi. Narasimha is sitting on the coil of a giant seven-headed snake called Sesha. The heads of the snake acts as the hood above his head. The god sits in a cross-legged Yoga position with a belt supporting the knees.
16. Krishna temple
This temple was built by the king (Krishnadevaraya) in 1513 AD to celebrate the conquest of the eastern kingdom of Udayagiri or Utkala (in the present day Orissa state)
17. 7 bazaars for each day of the week
These are the 5 out of them
- Achutraya bazaar,
- Vithala bazaar,
- Pan supari bazaar,
- Krishna bazaar,
- Hampi Bazaar
On the southern side of the Tungabhadra river
18. Anjaneya Hill- birth place of Hanuman
At the top of the hill is the temple dedicated for Hanuman, the monkey warrior god. According to Hindu mythology he was born to Anjana. Thus Hanuman is also known as Anjaneya and his birthplace as Anjaneyadri (Anjaneya’s hill). You can easily spot this hill from a distance as the temple at the hilltop is whitewashed and a white trail of steps zigzagging all the way to the top.
The view from the hilltop is marvelous. Patches of paddy fields looks like a solved jigsaw puzzle, coconut tree plantations and the whole of the ruins sites is visible stretching into the horizon. Looking at the ruins from here you would know the reason why they chose this place as their capital. All around in the horizons are the rugged rocky mountains and at one side in the mighty Tungabhadra river. It was a naturally secluded strategically important location for a capital city.
19. Anegudi – navavrundavanam – Naveen grah
20. Durga Devi temple
A part of Kishkinda Nagari, you’ll have to climb 60-80 odd steps to reach the temple where you’ll find coconuts wrapped in a cloth with kumkum and tied to the tree
21. Hippie Island
While most tourists stay to the south of Tungabhadra where most of the ruins are located, some prefer the north banks which have a vibrant hippie culture. Virapapur Gadde or Hippie Island is a small island situated across the Tungabhadra river. It takes 5 minutes to travel to the island via coracle or boat. The last boat for the island leaves at 5.30 pm. The backpacker’s delight, Hippie Island (Virupapur Gadde) is an epitome of scenic beauty and is known for laidback ambient and lodges.
It has shacks and cafes which operate from October end to mid-March. They serve awesome food along with chilled beer, and most of these have a great view of either the river or the beautiful rice fields. A lot of these cafes also serve as guest houses and you can get simple rooms here at cheap rates. Away from the luxurious life, living in small huts, savouring the taste both Indian and Western cuisine and lying on the banks of the river you will definitely develop affection for the place.
22. Green paddy fields
You’ll be surrounded by them on the Hippie island side.
That’s all for this post. Hope it helps you in deciding what all locations to cover in Hampi and also to plan an awesome trip to Hampi.
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You can read more about Hampi in these posts:
- Hampi – Things you’ll not come to know on your first visit here.
- How to plan your stay in Hampi to cover everything it has to offer and the best places to stay
- 3 days itinerary of Hampi without missing anything.
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