Hampi is charismatic even in its ruined state. It attracts thousands of tourists and pilgrims every year. Vast stretches of boulder-strewn hills make the backdrop of Hampi unique. In Hampi at every turn there is a surprise.
Every monument hides more than what they reveal. As an open museum, Hampi has numerous popular (100 plus!) locations visitors throng.
Vittala Temple - Vittala temple is an architectural highlight of Hampi, dedicated to Lord Vittala, an incarnation of Hindu god Lord Vishnu. The temple has many halls and shrines, with a unique thing about the halls are its extraordinary pillars with animated carvings on it. This temple of Hampi has a set of pillars, known as ‘musical pillars’ that resonates when tapped. There is also a huge stone chariot complete with wheels carved out of stone that stands in front of the main temple.
Virupaksha Temple - Virupaksha temple in Hampi is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction. This temple is believed to be one of the oldest active temples (from 7th century AD) in India, whose functioning has never been interrupted. Virupaksha temple is equally sought after by tourists and pilgrims. The temple complex consists of the god’s sanctum, pillared halls and a series of giant entrance towers.
Royal Enclosure - Royal Enclosure of Hampi is a fortified campus that was once the seat of the erstwhile kings. The enclosure is an area in ruins now with many stately structures such as the Mahanavami Platform from where the king used to watch the annual parade of imperial majesty and military might. The area is packed with numerous palace bases, underground temple, aquatic structures and the likes.
Hemakuta Hill Temples - Hemakuta hill is basically a rocky hill with a large number of pre Vijayanagara (the empire) temples of note located here. The highlights of the hill are the sets of triple chambered temples with its pyramid like granite roofs.
Kadalekalu Ganesha - This is a giant statue of Lord Ganesha that is 4.6 meters (14 feet) tall sculpture carved in situ on the slope of the Hemakuta Hill. There are also tall slender granite pillars that have many carved mythological themes, standing in the front hall of this shrine.
Lakshmi Narasimha - There is a giant monolithic statue of the man-lion god, Lord Narsimha, one of the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu. This is the largest icon in Hampi depicted in a cross-legged seated position. It’s believed that the original image contained his consort Lakshmi sitting on his lap. However, the image was destroyed during the enemy invasion. Currently only a hand of the goddess resting on his waist can be seen.
Hampi Bazaar - Hampi Bazaar, also known as Virupaksha Bazaar, is a market street located in front of the Virupaksha temple. About a kilometer long, the east end of the Bazaar ends at the foothill of the Matanga Hill. Both sides of the street are lined with a series of old pavilions, wherein some of them are two storied. These structures were once part of a thriving market and residence of the nobles.
How to reach Hampi:
The most convenient airport from Hampi is Belgaun (190kms). Several airlines operate regular flights connecting Belgaun with prominent cities in south India. Bangalore (353kms), the capital of Karnataka also serves as a well-located entry point for Hampi.
A good network of roads connect Hampi with other important tourist attractions in Karnataka. Bangalore lies only 350kms (approx) away and one can easily drive own to Hampi from here. Places like Hassan, Hospet, Mysore are also well connected with Hampi.
The nearest railhead from Hampi is Hospet (13kms). Hospet is connected to Bangalore, which is in turn linked to the major Indian cities like: Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and other prominent tourist attractions across the length and breadth of India.