Home » Ruins Of Hampi – A Look Back At The History
Surrounded by granite rocks and the Tungabhadra river, Hampi looks no less than a paradise!
Hampi is an ancient town located at the southern bank of the Tungabhadra river. It is close to the city of Hospet in the north of the state of Karnataka in India.
Once a capital city of the Vijayanagara empire, the richest in the ancient Bharata and the second-largest city of the world, now is a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, the status given to it in the year 1986, thus making the place extremely popular travel destination in India.
Hampi derived its name from the ancient term for the Tungabhadra River, Pampa. The current name “Hampe” or “Hampi” is to be its later Kannada form.
The town finds its mention in the Ramayana and Puranas, epics of the Sanatana Dharma with the names like Pampa-kshetra, Pampa being another name of Goddess Parvati, Kishkinda-Kshetra and Bhaskara-Kshetra.
Established by the Sangama brothers, Hukka & Bukka, in 1336, it was, then ruled by Saluva Dynasty and later by Tuluva Dynasty,
When the city was under the reign of the brave Vijayanagara king, Shree Krishna Deva Raya of the Tuluva Dynasty from 1509-1529, it reached its peak as the art, culture and international trades flourished in the kingdom, pumping more riches into the city. The Vijayanagara kingdom grew and covered almost the whole of southern India.
But, in 1565, it was destroyed by the five Sultans of Bidar, Bijapur, Ahmednagar, Golconda and Berar who not only looted it but also burnt it for 6months!
Hampi now houses more than 1,600 ancient ruins of the Vijayanagara era, covering around 4,100 hectares, known as the Group of Monuments of Hampi.
The temples were built in the Dravidian style of architecture which flourished in the Vijayanagara era. The kings of Vijayanagara were great patrons of art and architecture apparent from the beautiful ruins of the town. Below are the breathtaking monuments of Hampi.
Also known as Pampavathi Temple, this is the oldest shrine of Hampi, built back between the 9th and the 10th century CE. Virupaksha is another name of Lord Shiva. Situated in the Hampi Bazaar, it has a huge tower, Gopuram, of 160 feet at the main entrance. The temple also has an elephant called Lakshmi.
Vijaya Vitthala Temple
Dedicated to Lord Vitthala, another avatar of Shree Krishna, this temple was built in the 15th century. The most significant architectural wonder facing the Maha Mantapa of this temple is the 56 Musical Pillars. They are called SAREGAMA Pillars as they emit musical notes when tapped.
Another attraction of this temple is the Monolithic Stone Chariot, carved out of a single granite stone. Two elephants are seen pulling this beautiful chariot.
The photo of this historical monument is found on the 50 Indian Rupee note.
Once a vibrant bazaar that sold all the products of the world is now in debris. It consists of arcade-like, pillared structures on either side of a street that leads up to the Virupaksha temple.
Dedicated to Balakrishna, the infant form of Shree Krishna, the temple was built under the rule of Shree Krishna Deva Raya in 1513 CE. It also houses a granary and a water tank. The main idol of this temple, a Lord Balakrishna idol, is now on display in the State Museum at Chennai. The temple has detail carving of animals and different deities.
Hazara Rama Temple
This temple is dedicated to Shree Ram and the ‘Hazar’ name suggests thousands of Rama, referring to the relics of Ramayana carved on the walls of the temples. It is a small temple but a significant temple as it was once a private temple of the Vijayanagara Royals.
Lakshmi Narsimha Statue
The largest monolithic statue of Hampi is the Laxmi Narasimha statue located on the southern side of the Hemakuta group of temples that stand on the Hemakuta Hill. Constructed in the era of Shree Krishna Deva Raya, it is dedicated to Laxmi Narayan. The original sculpture had a small Goddess Laxmi statue sitting on the lap of Lord Narasimha, but, it was destroyed along with limbs of the Narasimha statue during the invasion.
Once housing of the Royals of the Vijayanagara, it had 45 buildings that included the durbar halls, platform, tanks, underground chambers, and temples. There are three entrances to the Royal Enclosure, two in the north and one in the west.
It was specially made for Royal women. The architecture is a blend of Vijayanagara and Islamic style.
Its dome structure and the archways give it a Lotus like structure.
This huge monolithic Nandi was carved more than 500 years ago and faces Virupaksha Temple that is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Achyuta Raya Temple
Built-in 1534 CE under the Vijayanagara king Achyuta Deva Raya, this temple is one of the last monuments built in the empire. It is dedicated to the Lord Tiruvengalanatha, another form of Lord Vishnu.
Dedicated to Lord Rama, it used to be flanked by devotees back in the Vijayanagara period. Now the temple doesn’t even house an idol.
The Queen’s Bath is believed to be constructed by King Achyuta Deva Raya for the royal women of the Vijayanagara. Though it is named the Queen’s Bath, it may have been used as the private bathing chamber of the king and his queens as it is located outside the Royal Enclosure.
As the empire had many elephants, this enclosed stable was built for them.
Hampi is not just a bunch of ruins. If you listen carefully, it will tell you a story. A story of its birth, of how many dynasties ruled it, how it was adorned with riches and in the end, how brutally it was looted and destroyed by the invaders.
A must on your bucket list!
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I am Ushakiran Arvind Bastikar, an amateur writer who wishes to explore her passion for writing. Writing always helps me in communicating my feelings and my thoughts with others. Besides writing, I love to cook, read and travel to some amazing places.