Ancient Ruins in Hampi, India

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During our recent trip to India, my husband and I visited a relative in Bellary district in Karnataka state, situated in the south of India. In the spur of moment, we decided to visit the World Heritage Site, Hampi. Hampi is a village in Bellary district; it’s located on the banks of Tungabhadra River in the northern part of Karnataka. Although the trip was unplanned and sudden, we were very glad and happy that we got an opportunity to visit this place again.

About Hampi

Hampi is an ancient place that was rich and glorious during the reigning days of monarchy. It was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Hampi city mainly consist religious monuments, military and civil buildings, and these structures portray a blend of Hindu and Islamic style of architecture. The glory of Vijayanagara Empire was reduced to ruins through invasion by Deccan Sultanates. After the defeat in the Battle of Talikota, the grandeur of Vijayanagara Empire was never restored; Hampi city was destroyed terribly. Now only ruins of several structures and monuments are visible in this city. The ruins of Hampi city has been accredited by UNESCO as World Heritage Site. This city is beautiful, provides a view of ruins with stunning backdrop of huge boulders, oasis, and plantation on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. Hence a lot of visitors and tourists from across the globe throng to this city for its history and architecture.

Visit to Hampi

Our drive to Hampi city was pleasant, roads are well-maintained and well-connected, and we found it very easy to reach this place. Weather in Bellary district is warm and at times it’s scorching. The day we visited this city it had mild temperature. A tour guide is a must to understand the history of this city; it’s not that tough to find one. The local tour guides generally walk up to all the tourists and offer their service. These guides are multi-lingual with respect to local languages in India and are also well-versed in English. Since it was not our first visit and we pretty much knew everything about the city, hence we did not hire a tourist. Our trip was a day trip, we had enough time to cover the important spots; however, you can spend here at least three days or even more, relaxing and exploring this ancient city. Remember to carry lots of water, sun block, and wear comfortable shoes.

Places to See

Lotus Mahal (Zedana Enclosure)

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This palace was meant only for queens for resting and recreational purpose. It is a very nice building surrounded by a well-kept lawn. Apparently this building was employed with natural air conditioning; this structure was kept cool by running water through pipes in the palace, these pipes absorbed the moisture to keep the palace cool in summer.

Elephant Stables

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This is a vast doom-shaped structure with many chambers and it displays exquisite architecture. It’s located very close to the Lotus Mahal. In ancient days this place was used as stable for the elephants.

Statue of Ugra Narsimha

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This is a very huge statue of Hindu deity called as Ugra Narasimha which was destroyed during war times. Very close to this statue is a broken Shiva Linga and a small stream of the Tungabhadra River flows through it. There’s also boards displayed close to the statue that narrate the history of this statue, very informative for the visitors.

Virupaksha Temple

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This is a famous temple among locals and also the only temple in Hampi where people worship a deity inside the temple. Other temples in Hampi are pretty much destroyed; in some places the temple structure is destroyed and in other places the deity or the idol itself is destroyed. This temple has a very tall gopura (monument at the entrance of the temple) and the temple definitely showcases the craftsmanship that existed during the Vijayanagara Empire.

Queen’s Bath

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This  building was meant only for the queen to bathe. This place has a pool inside and it’s smartly constructed to ensure that there’s a lot of light and at the same time it remains as a very private place for the queen.

Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple

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This is a huge Ganesha (Hindu deity) statue, that’s very impressive and it looks great during the sunset, an ideal time to capture lot of pics here. It’s definitely an impressive display of art.

Stepped Tank

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The Archaeological Survey of India constantly conducts excavations in the Hampi city to search for artifacts, temples, and monuments. The Stepped Tank was discovered during  an excavation. This tank is steep, has symmetrical steps and was used to store water. It’s constructed in such a way that water from the nearby water source easily flows to this tank (obviously this was done without any electricity).

Vijaya Vittala Temple

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This place is very much the essence of Hampi city. It’s beautiful and intricate carving on the temples are mesmerizing. The main attraction here is the Musical Pillars and the Stone Chariot.

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The Musical Pillars produce different tunes and you need to strike them to play a tune. In order to preserve these pillars, visitors are no longer allowed to strike these pillars. The Stone Chariot is the best display of the architecture in Hampi City. Always crowded, you’ll find a lot people waiting to snap pictures in front of this ancient marvel. Private vehicles are not allowed close to the temple. You can take the bus or other vehicles operated by the local government from the nearby bus stop.

This trip made me recall lots of memories from my previous visit to Hampi. A visit to this place is a must if you appreciate history, art, and architecture.

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