Looking for a short getaway from Bangalore other than the usual picks- Coorg, Ooty or Chikmagalur? Why not head to Hampi?
Firstly, it will not be as crowded as the above places are during long holidays. Secondly, the road from Bangalore to Hampi is comfortable plus you will also find good staying options in Hampi. And lastly, the most important point, it’s an architectural wonder as well as a cultural heritage making it a great escapade in Karnataka.
We had been to Hampi for a photography tour along with our friends a year back. Did have a great time shooting the monuments here .
Photographer’s paradise and the most googled historical place in Karnataka, Hampi is a UNESCO world heritage site with 500 plus monuments in the vicinity. This was once the capital of the great Vijaynagar empire. There are temples, ruins of palaces, market streets, royal pavilions, bastions, treasury buildings and various other structures embracing the era gone by in its bosom.
How to go to Hampi from Bangalore
Hampi can be reached by train or by road.
By Train- No direct trains to Hampi. You need to take a train till Hospet which is just 12km from Hampi. Hampi express from Bangalore is one option.
By Road- Hampi is at a distance of 363 kms from Bangalore. You can go by bus or drive yourself. Bus takes 9 hrs plus approx. and if you wish to go by car, you can reach Hampi within 6.5 hrs.
When to go to Hampi
All year round except for summers. The heat and dryness due to temperatures which go till 45 degrees plus might not be very favorable conditions to experience the best of what Hampi offers during summers. October to March is ideal.
Interesting facts about Hampi
- The name Hampi is derived from Pampa, the old name of Tungabhadra river on the banks of which lies Hampi. Infact Hampi is an angelic version of Kanada name Hampe (derived from Pampa)
- Hampi has an epical history as the capital city of Kishkindha, the monkey kingdom during the period of Ramayana and an empirical history as the capital city of the Vijayanagara Empire. You will find evidence of both in the monuments here. It is said that Hampi is the place where Hanuman was born, where Ram met Hanuman and Sugriva. It is where Ram fought battle with Vali, Sugriva’s brother to restore Sugriva’s kingdom. Hazra Rama temple has the carvings and inscriptions depicting the story of Ramayana. It is also claimed that the fossils and antique objects that are present in this temple are the rarest ones found in whole of India.
- Though we associate Hampi with Vijaynagar times but first historical record of Hampi settlement dates back to 1st century. Further, the evidences prove that Hampi was under Ashoka’s rule in 3rd century.
- Vijayanagar’s main coin mint is believed to be located in Hampi.
- One of the most beautiful temple is Vittal temple in Hampi. It houses the 56 musical pillars known as Saregama pillars. Tap them gently and you will hear a melody coming out of stones. Interestingly the pillars are made from solid stone and are not hollow inside
- Virupakasha temple in Hampi is one of the oldest functioning temple in India (probably since 7th century AD). The temple height is 120 ft. Also known as Pampavati temple, this has scultpures of Lord shiva besides erotic sculptures of Bhuvaneshwari and Pampa.
- Hampi was once one of the most popular trading centres. In front of the Virupaksha Temple you will find a one-kilometre long street called the Hampi bazaar. The street is covered on both the sides with a set of old pavilions. Precious gems, diamonds and other valuables were sold by the sacks in the same streets of Hampi.
10 Must see places in Hampi – Top 10 sights in Hampi
Vittal temple & Stone Chariot
It’s the epicentre of Hampi attractions. Dedicated to lord Vishnu, this temple complex has musical pillars and the iconic monolithic stone chariot. Most photographed and most visited monument of Hampi.
Dedicated to lord shiva, this is the oldest and the main functioning temple of Hampi. Goddess Pampa(name for Tungabhadra river) is the consort of lord shiva here. The legends says Shiva and Pampa were married here.
Dedicated to lord Rama, The walls of the temple carry the story of Ramayana carved on stone. The outer walls of the temple are decorated with bas-relics of Rama and Krishna.
The centre of Hampi and the best spot for ariel views of Hampi. You can trek till this point for a sunrise or sunset view experience.
Hemakuta hill temple
Offers splendid view of the Hampi ruins. You may find this part in many of the Hampi paintings.
Lotus Mahal at Janana enclosure
The beautifully designed palace which is uniquely identified by its lotus look like structure. This glorious structure is within the Zenana Enclosure, a segregated area that is used by the royal women of Vijayanagara Dynasty.
One among the few least destroyed structures in Hampi, Elephant an impressive structure(indo Islamic in style) that was used to provide shelter for the royal elephants of the Vijayanagara Empire
Also known as Pushkarni, these stepped temple wells were built for various religious ceremonies.
The Narasimha Vigraha
The largest monolith statue in Hampi. The statue is located on the southern side of the Hemakuta group of temples on the Hemakuta Hill. The gigantic statue was vandalized and mutilated during the raid by the Mughals that led to the fall of the Vijayanagara Empire.
This statue is particularly interesting for the story behind it. It seems once Lord Ganesh ate so much that he felt that his stomach would explode. In order to avoid that he tied a snake around his belly. The reason behind the statue above.
After writing about Hampi now, I too feel like going there once again to relive the stories carved in stones. Wouldn’t you want to?