Highlights of Hampi

Virupaksha Temple

The Virupaksha temple is the sacred and the only living monument of Hampi. This temple is situated on the southern bank of the Tungabhadra, immediately to the north of the Hemakuta hill. The temple, originally a small shrine, was expanded into a vast complex of present dimensions in the first half of 16th Century. The entire temple complex is within a long rectangular enclosure divided into two large courts with imposing towered (gopura) gateways. The sanctum houses Shiva Linga known as Virupaksha - the tutelary deity of the Vijayanagara kings. However the most outstanding is the ceiling paintings of Vijayanagara in the Ranga mantapa.

Vittala Temple

The Vijaya Vittala Temple is Hampi's crowning glory with a magnificent stone chariot standing in the temple courtyard. The impressive Rang Mantapa exquisitely carved with '56 musical pillars' that resound musical chimes when struck within the complex is of ingenious architectural conception. The intricate carvings of ornate architectural details are superb and just few meters away from the Temple complex there exists the 'King's Balance' all in stone. Here the Kings' were weighed against gold, coins or grain which was thereafter distributed amongst the poor and this particular religious perform was known 'Tula Bhaara' observed by the people of all classes and status.

Achyutaraya Temple

A short climb over the foot of Matanga hillock, behind the Monolithic bull, using the medieval path way one can reach the famous Achyularayapete (bazaar of Achyutaraya temple) also known as 'Soole Bazaar' and the magnificent Acyutaraya (Thiruvengalanatha) temple built by Hiriya Tirumalaraya Wodeya a Maha mandaleswara serving under Achyuta Deva raya in 1534 AD. The temple facing north within double enclosure wall is known for its large dimensions and spacious courtyard fronted by a wide and long bazaar.

Vishnu Temple No. II:

Further up at the right hand side as one proceeds towards VitthalaTemple is the Vishnu temple-II. The Garuda pedestal in the sanctum, Gajalakshmi in the lintel of vestibule and the dwarapalas speak of its Vaishnava affinity. This temple also has a six pillared mantapa to front. Near by, in the same vicinity, are two interesting traditionally important "Siteya Seragu" (drapery imprint of Sita, wife of Rama) and 108 Shivalingas -Koti-shivalinga.

Monolithic Bull (Eduru Basavanna)

Locally known as Yeduru Basavanna or Nandi, this monolithic bull marks the east end of the Virupaksha Bazaar. The statue is housed in a twin storied pavilion built on an elevated platform. A heap of gigantic boulders behind the pavilion offers an interesting backdrop. Though partially mutilated and carved in a coarse style, this Nandi attracts visitor owing to its giant size.

Narasimha Statue

This is undoubtedly the most outstanding work of sculptural art of Vijayanagara. The 6.70 meter sculpture was hewn out of a massive boulder by Krishna bhatt in 1523 AD during the reign of Krishnadevaraya. This statue of Lakshmi Narasimha is shown seated on the coits of the Sesha with makara torana. in padmasana with yoga pattica. The image of Lakshmi seated over the left lap of the deity is mutilated.

Linga Temple (Badavi Linga)

This is an interesting shrine with a huge monolithic Shiva linga of nearly 3 meter high, very close to the shrine of Narsimha.

Krishna Temple

The Krishna temple is interesting for the numerous sub-shrines it contains. One of these in the south has many stucco figures of Subrahmanya seated on a peacock. The presence of a Subrahmanya shrine in a Krishna temple is rather unique. The three gopuras of the temple east, south and north—are much dilapidated. The large east gopura has only a part of its superstructure existing. Its west face contains many fine stucco figures of warriors with shields and spirited horses and elephants.

Kadalekalu Ganesha Temple

This is a tall 4.50-meter, monolithic Ganesha (16th century) in a sanctum with an elegant pillared mantapa.

Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple

This monolithic, four armed 2.4 meter tall Ganesha (16th century) is sculptured in round, is known as mustard seed (Sasivekalu) Ganesha in the local language Kannada. A plain-pillared pavilion fronts the sculpture placed over an austere pedestal.

Group of Jain Temples

Built on the Hemakuta hillock, these temples, nearly 30 in number of varying size are datable to c.9th - 16th century AD. Of these temples the one with typical Kadamba nagara super structure is of Prasanna Virupaksha datable to 1338 AD. These temples belong to single (eka), two (dvi), and three (tri) celled classes and are the examples of pre-Vijayanagara Architecture of the sacred Hampi.

Vishnupada Temple

It is located to the south east of Ganesha shrine. The shrine is built over a pair of foot prints encircled by a snake chiseled on the original rock formation and is datable to 16th century.

King’s Balance

Further to north of the Achyutaraya Temple there is a colossal balance, a structure meant for weighing the king against precious gems and metals during auspicious functions(Tulapurashadana).

Raghunatha Swami Temple

This is also one of the east facing Vijayanagara edifices built on a hillock Malyavantha by name. Its superstructure over the entrances and the sanctum offer a grand elevation. This monument is located nearly two and half kilometers from Kamalapuram on Hospet- Kampli road.

Ganigitti Temple

There are some more monuments, which are also accessible to the tourist such as north facing Kuntunatha jinalaya (Ganagitti Jain Temple). This temple (1386) is built by Irugappa Dandanayaka and is simple in elevation and has a kadamba nagara terraced super structure over the sanctum and a manastambha in front. The monument is located on Hospet- Kampli road very near to Kamalapur Town.

Chandrashekhara Temple

Passing through the imposing fortification, at the curve of the main road towards north is Chandrashekara temple datable to c.16th century known for its dravida style of super structure over the sanctums and the entrance at east.

Bhima’s Gateway:

This is an imposing gateway to the east of Ganagitti Jaina temple This strong massive gateway in its inner gate facing west, has bracketed corbels with ornate abacus. The gateway has a sculpture of Bhima one of the Pandavas of the Mahabharatha epic with a bunch of flowers. There is also a sculptured panel of him slaying Keechaka

Domed Gateway

This is one of the well preserved eastern extreme entrance gate to the site which is characterised by an elegant domed pavillion provided over the entrance and is located nearer to the tank of Hampi Power House Camp. Nearer to Bhhnas gate a Corbelled entrance gate known as Somavarada Bagilu leads one of the citadel complex.

Hazara Ramachandra Temple

Beyond the northern entrance gate ways of the Kings audience hall almost abutting them is the temple of Hazara (court yard or thousand) Ramachandra Temple built to the east of the Palace of Harihara. Set in its own enclosure, the temple facing east, on plan has a sanctum, vestibule, pillared hall pierced with three entrances and a spacious pillared porch.. Datable to 14th-15th century, this royal temple in granite is known for its wall friezes of the great epic Ramayana and a few episodes of Bhagavata. The four pillars in the hall are of polished black stone with meticulous sculpturing. A separate shrine for devi and a pillared mantapa at north east, south and west are the other structures here. The temple had a separate pathway for the visit of royalty at south. To the east of this temple is a well paved bazaar measuring nearly 930 meters in length with many a smaller shrines tanks and series of mantapas.

Queen’s Bath

Retracing the steps from Chandrashekhara and continuing urther towards Hampi the road brings one to the Queens bath on the road where the metal road leads towards the ruins of the citadel. This is an imposing square structure set in a fenced garden. The 'Lotus shaped' chute that once sprouted perfumed water like a small waterfall is on the eastern side, fed with water from the water channel on the outside of the pavilion. Apparently it was for water sports by the members of the Royal family. Though the building in Indo-Islamic style is austere exteriorly.

Zanana Enclosure

Popularly identified as the residential quarters for the women (zanana) of royalty, this enclosure roughly measures 30,000 sq.meteres and has a terraced platform (basement of queens palace), a structure identified as 'treasury', a water pavilion (jalamahall) two watch towers with balconies.

Lotus Mahal Pavilion

The most important monument in the 'Zanana and only extant secular structure of the time that has withstood the ravages of time and men. The lotus mahal also known as 'Chitrangimahal; is a very good example of lndo-Islamic style of architecture is a two storied structure built in rubble masonry and finely plastered. On Plan it is of indented square type with central projections in the cardinal directions.

Ranga Temple

To the south east corner of the zanana enclosure behind Yellamma temple is Madhava temple also known as Ranga temple. An inscription of 1545 AD of the times of S adashivaray a refers to the Ranga mantapa of this built by Timma Raja son of Vallabha Raja was exclusively meant for holding the concerts of dance, vocal and instrumental music. Except the main shrine and the damaged devi shrine rest of the temple is destroyed. The ranga mantapa at present has only a few pillars standing. However a colossal sculpture of Hanuman placed against the wall of east facing temple is interesting.

Elephant’s Stable

A small guarded entrance in the eastern enclosure wall of the Zanana Enclosure is the passage to the area of Elephants stable. The elephant's stable is represented by a homogenous group of chambers with high arched facade with lofty doomed roof. Eleven chambers are built side by side in north-south orientation in an area of 85x10 meter. The central chamber has a square turret above it with two flights of steps leading to the dome circular, octagonal, vaulted symmetrically arranged domes on either side of the central chamber offer an imposing elevation to the monument.

Bhojana Shala

On the way to Hampi, on Kamalapur-Hampi road the monuments of Bhojana Shala a series of schist stone plates running to a distance of nearly 10 meters laid on either side a 75 centimeter, wide and 65 centimeter deep water channel meant for festive occasions and Octagonal water pavilion a system of water works are quite interes ting.

Royal Enclosure

As one descends down the curve of the dirt road an imposing enclosure to left of the road is encountered. This enclosure covering an area of nearly 95,000 sq.meters is the nucleus of the royalty. The Royal Enclosure known for its elegant decorated plinths, water systems, large halls pillared shrine, and different types of water storage tanks most of which have been found during excavation. Sculptured terraced platform known as Mahanavami dibba, ornate schist stone stepped tank, largetank known as public bath underground shrine and Kings audience hall known as Bhuvana Vijaya are some of the important structures in the Royal enclosure.

Guard’s House

This is a rectangular structure measuring 42x12 meters, built perpendicular to the northern end of the elephants stable. Facing south, it is a large rectangular building with an high arched entrance. It encloses a rectangular courtyard with raised corridor all around. The façade has a high verandah with austere arches bringing up the elevation. Presently, as many as 64 sculptures of both religious and secular nature retrieved from various localities of the capital city are in display here.

Pattabhirama Temple

This is one of the largest temples (16th century) built in an area of 163.70 x 93 mts. The east-facing temple is one km. east of Kamalapuram village on the way to HPC and is known for its large pillared halls, kalyana mantapa and a spacious courtyard. At east the entrance has a tower of elegance.

Mohammaden Tomb and Darga

On the out skirts of Kadirampur village on way to Hampi from Hospet, are, these structures of Islamic architecture of 16th century, contemporary to Bahamani architecture. Visit to the above monuments of Vijayanagara city is not only exciting but also exhausting by its sheer area of trek involved. The world heritage site offers all the sources of quite enjoyable scenery for a common tourist for relaxation but also it provides an insight in to the cultural vividity of the medieval city with its impregnable fortifications, myriad of secular structures large religious edifices-all embellished to perfection. They also speak of the stupendous zeal of mankind and his venture within a short span of 225 years-a result of sheer admiration and devotion to the ruler by the ruled. Protecting, conserving and preserving these exquisite architectural marvels for posterity is the bounden duty of mankind.