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.
Hampi has distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site for old Vijayanagara city, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire.Hampi is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra river at 353 km from Bangalore and 74 km away from Bellary. Hosapete (Hospet), 13 km away, is the nearest railway head. Hampi is famous for the annual Vijayanagar Festival is organized by the Government of Karnataka in November in every year.
The city of Vijayanagara was originally encompassed by seven lines of fortifications. These fortifications had a large number of bastions & gateways. The seventh & the innermost fortification enclosed the main city & is the best preserved.Most of the monuments at Hampi are from the Vijayanagara period, a small proportion may be assigned to pre-Vijayanagara times. The Jain temples on Hemakuta hill, the two Devi shrines & some other structures in the Virupaksha temple complex predate the Vijanagara empire. The earliest amongst them, the Shaiva shrines with their stepped pyramidal vimanas or superstructures, date to the later Chalukyan period around ninth-tenth century AD.
The emperor Ashoka's minor rock edicts in Nittur & Udegolan (both in Bellary district) leads one to believe that this region was within the Ashokan kingdom during the 3rd century BC. A Brahmi inscription & a terracotta seal dating to the 2nd century AD were also discovered from the excavation site.
Hampi formed one of the core areas of the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire from 1343 to 1565, when it was finally laid siege to by the Deccan Muslim confederacy. 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.
Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy temple was constructed in the anicent style of architecture, the temple of Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy stands three km down the road. Its inner walls flaunt peculiar and interesting motifs of fish and marine creatures.
Hazara Rama Temple Complex:
This ruined temple complex is well known for elaborate frescoes from the Hindu religion and a sprawling courtyard well-laid with gardens. It is well known for more than many thousand carvings & inscriptions on & in the temple depicting the mighty story of Ramayana. It has about 1000 carvings & inscriptions depicting the story of Ramayana.
The stone chariot at Vittala 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.
Musical Pillars of Hampi
The temple houses the famous musical pillars. The British wanted to check the reason behind this wonder and so they had cut two pillars to check anything was there inside the pillars that was producing the sound. They had found nothing but hollow pillars. Even today we can see those pillars cut by the British.
The road leading to the temple was once a market where the horses were traded. Even today we can see the ruins of the market on both the sides of the road. The temple contains the images of foreigners like Persians selling horses.