Hampi – City with an Iconic Heritage

Hampi – City with an Iconic Heritage

It was 1 PM in the afternoon. After lapping up all there was to see in Pattadakal and Aihole, we proceeded towards Hampi, which is at distance of around 150 km from Aihole. The stretch of road between Aihole and Hampi being smooth, we had an easy drive. On the way, as we passed through Kamalapur, we saw a lake in which the water had a pinkish tinge, appearing as if it had borrowed its shade from the nearby reddish hills.

Kamalapur lake, Hampi
Kamalapur lake, Hampi

Reaching Hampi by 3.30 pm, we checked into KSTDC. As it was very late, we ordered for a simple Daal Khichdi. While having food in the food court, I heard some loud thud sounds from the roof. I wondered if some tree branches had fallen on the roof, only to realize that it was the sound of monkeys jumping on the roof. The waiter told us not to worry as they would not come down. Quickly finishing up our lunch, we left for seeing Hampi.

A UNESCO heritage site, Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagar empire from the 14th to 16th century.

‘A city as large as Rome and very beautiful to the sight’.

This is how the ancient foreign tourists described the city of Vijayanagara, as it was then known.

Rocks and Boulders, HampiRocks. Hampi

Many forts, ramparts, temples and statues can be seen all throughout the city, aesthetically blending with the rocks and boulders.

Virupaksha Temple

We started our tour of Hampi with the Virupaksha Temple, the oldest of all temples in Hampi. Also called Pampapathi, the temple is dedicated to Shiva.

Virupaksha Temple. Hampi

The 165 ft tall entrance of the tower is visible from a distance. As we parked and walked towards the temple, a vendor girl told us that there is an elephant inside the temple and sold us a bunch of bananas for the elephant. But she didn’t tell us about the monkeys inside the temple, who quickly snatched some of the bananas just as we entered the temple complex.

By the way, Hampi also finds mention in the epic Ramayana as Kishkinda, the kingdom of monkeys, ruled by Vaali and later by Sugreeva.

Coming back to the temple elephant, the interesting thing I noted about the elephant was that when someone offered money, the elephant would deftly pick up the money with its trunk, give it to his handler and bless the person.

Here I am getting blessed. :-)

Hampi Temple Elephant

After some time, the elephant was taken away for a dip in the water of Tungabhadra river that flows by the temple.

The light at the tip of the temple peak now glowed in the twilight. We stood for darshan as the priests performed the Puja, and took the prasadam.

Vittala Temples 

On the next day, we went to the famous Vittala (Vishnu) temple, the exquisite architectural showpiece of Hampi.

The car park is at quite some distance from the temple. An electric cart took us to the temple. From the cart, we could see pillars on both sides of the temple, which used to be the open shops on the way to the temple. It is said that diamonds, crystals and other precious stones were sold openly in these shops. Religion and commerce have co-existed since ages.

Inside the large complex are many-pillared halls, temples and a chariot. It must have been an extraordinarily beautiful sight in its prime.

The main attraction of this temple is the monolithic pillars, with the most intricate carvings. The outermost pillars in one of the elevated open halls called the Maha-Mantapa are popularly musical pillars. These emit musical tones when tapped.

Musical Pillars, Hampi

Chariot, Hampi

 

The famous stone chariot stands right in the centre of the complex. The Vijayanagar Kings seem to have built the chariot after being inspired by the Sun Temple at Konark in Odisha.

Lotus Mahal

A place worth mentioning is the eight-angled Lotus Mahal built in the Indo- Muslim style. This used to be the place where the King would relax and have conversations. A garden around the structure enhances its beauty.

Lotus Mahal, HampiElephant Stable, Hampi

Adjacent to the garden of the Lotus Mahal, separated by a high stone wall is the royal stable which sheltered the royal elephants of the king of  Vijayanagar.

Lakshmi Narasimha

Hidden away from the main road is a huge idol of Narasimha. This idol is not inside a temple but in an open place. The 22 ft tall idol is carved of a single stone. Unfortunately, many parts of the idol are damaged.

Narasimha, Hampi
Narasimha, Hampi

Other than these place, we went to the Museum, Queen’s bath, a podium known as Mahanavami Dibba, which once had a hall with fragrant sandalwood pillars standing on it, a pond called Pushkarani and Sasivekala Ganesha, and Sri Krishna Temple.

Next day we started off for Manipal, with my mind and heart filled to the brim with the richness of the cultural past of the places.

The Karnataka government sponsors a 3- day celebration called ‘Hampi Utsav’ every year between November and January. They have also proposed a tie-up with Peru for promoting Hampi and Machu Pichu as twin heritage sites.

 

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    By: Somali K Chakrabarti

    Hi there! Welcome to Scribble and Scrawl! Here, I delve into themes related to positive lifestyle – from making smart-living choices, savvy financial decisions to nurturing the mind, body and soul. I share my travel experiences, explore facets of art and culture and highlight inspiring stories. Hope you enjoy reading my posts.

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Somali K Chakrabarti

Hi there! Welcome to Scribble and Scrawl! Here, I delve into themes related to positive lifestyle - from making smart-living choices, savvy financial decisions to nurturing the mind, body and soul. I share my travel experiences, explore facets of art and culture and highlight inspiring stories. Hope you enjoy reading my posts.

comments
  • Great description. Beautiful pictures. It is in my bucket list for a visit.

  • Indeed a city of Iconic heritage. The picture of you with elephant, adorable. Lovely post S.

  • Lovey pictures and excellent narration. Love your images of getting blessed by an elephant. :-)

  • I’ve heard so much about Hampi! The famous stone chariot, the status..all singing paeans of the heydays of Indian architecture. Great pictures and I loved your pic…the elephant blessing you..so sweet..:-)

  • Lovely post and photos especially the photo were you are being blessed by the elephant.:)

  • Planned a long back to Hampi but couldn’t go.Lovely write up and beautiful photos.Love the blessing shot so much.

    Cheers,
    Sriram & Krithiga

  • Nice Writing… good Information too!

  • Wow amazing post! I love the photos and your descriptions!

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