hampi temple travel guide
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Hampi Temples, Karnataka

Hampi Temples India KarnatakaHampi is the Vijayanagar capital (one of the largest empires in the history of India), in it's ruins of temples, palaces and forts. Hampi was the 14th century magnificent capital of one of the greatest empires of the world. Hampi is full of surprises. A strange and magical place, Hampi is one of the most beautiful towns in Karnataka. Hampi is famous for its ruins belonging to the erstwhile medieval Hindu kingdom of Vijaynagar and it is declared a World Heritage site. The temples of Hampi, its monolithic sculptures and monuments, attract the traveler because of their excellent workmanship. The Hindu style of architecture found at Hampi reflects the splendor of the Vijaynagar Empire. The rugged landscape adds to the historic ambience of this site. It was the capital of the mighty Vijayanagar empire founded in 1336.

Hampi is located in the central part of the state of Karnataka, in the southern part of India. It is 353 km from Bangalore, and 13 km from Hospet. It is located on top of a rugged terrain and is 467 m above sea level. It is protected by the tempestuous Tungabhadra river on the north and by rocky granite ridges on the three sides. Covering an area of about 26 kms, the ruins are situated in the midst of a rugged landscape. Hampi is like a Open -air museume of temples, The Virupaksha Temple rises majestically, at the western end of a 700 m long street, that was once the famous Hampi bazaar. Nearby is the 6.7 m tall monolith of Ugra Narasimha or Lakshmi Narasimha, is located in the south of the Hemakuta group of temples that includes the Virupaksha Temple. The Narasimha is a four-armed figure seated under the canopy of a seven-hooded snake. But by far the most amazing monument in Hampi, is the Vittala Temple Complex, with its 56 musical pillars. Legend has it, Lord Vishnu found it too grand to live in and thus, returned to his own 'humble home'.To the east of the complex is the famous Stone Chariot, with stone wheels, that actually rotates.

Temples Hampi Guide yatraHistory
Hampi, are one of the most fascinating historical sites in south India. The superb ruins are set in a strange and beautiful boulderstrewn landscape which has an almost magical quality.The first settlement in Hampi dates back to 1st century AD and a number of Buddhist sites belonging to that time have been found nearby. Hampi was the capital of the mighty Vijaynagar Empire. Vijaynagar was one of the largest Hindu empires in India. The brothers Harihara and Bukka established the Vijayanagar Empire in 1336. In an age when the powerful Mughal army of the north was stamping its authority on almost the entire subcontinent, this southern Hindu kingdom proved too difficult to crack. In 1509-29 during the reign of Krishnadevaraya the empire reached the pinnacle of its influence economically, militarily and culturally, the legacy of which abides till date. In 1565 the end came swiftly. Unable to withstand the combined assault of the neighboring Muslim kingdoms, Hampi fell at the battle of Talikota. From then it was only a matter of time before the conquering forces made rapid inroads into the rest of the empire. The ruins of Hampi are extremely popular with tourists who flock here to soak in a sense of the past; and in every ‘reliving’, this seemingly dead city lives again. Hampi is one of the important pilgrimage center for both Hindus and Jains. It is stated that this was the place called kiskindha of Ramanaya the birth place of Lord Hanuman.

The Hindu kingdom of Vijaynagar was founded in 1336, with its capital at Hampi. This city is easily one of the most beautiful, extensive and fascinating cities of India's ruined kingdoms. Vijaynagar reached its peak in the early 1550s, but in 1565 fell to the Deccan Sultanates, when Bijapur gained importance as the capital of this kingdom. Today, Bijapur is a small city surrounded by an imposing wall, and packed with an impressive collection of mosques and other reminders of its glorious past. This windswept little village was once the centre of a vibrant, thriving culture that enriched the entire region with carved temples and rock-cut magnificence. All the outer side of the gate of the temple up to the roof is covered with copper and gilded, and on each side of the roof on the top are certain great animals that look like tigers, all gilt. As you enter this idol shrine, you perceive from pillar to pillar on which it is supported many little holes in which stand oil lamps which burn every night and they will be in number 2,500 or 3,000".

The pillared interior echoes with the murmur of voices and the squeak of bats suspended in the dark recesses. Eyes sweep the walls with silent reverence, hands tap the hollow pillars that were played like musical instruments. Outside, the granite chariot of the sun god proudly stands in a central courtyard. Its stone wheels could still be turned by hand till a few years ago when the authorities sealed them to prevent damage. The architecture of the Vitthala Temple strikes a fascinating balance between delicate craftsmanship and awesome presence. Against the gate there were two circles in which there were the dancing women, richly arrayed with many jewels of gold and diamonds and many pearls. Opposite the gate there are two buildings...these buildings were all hung with rich cloths, both the walls and the ceilings, and the cloths of the walls were adorned with figures in the manner of embroidery; these buildings have two platforms one above the other, beautifully sculpted, with their sides well made and worked. On the upper platform close to the king was Christovao de Figrueiredo (another Portuguese traveler), for the king commanded that he should be put in a place as best to see the feasts and magnificence".

Now in a damaged state, the awesome image depicts the benign aspect of the god since a part of the right hand goddess Lakshmi skirts around the Narasimha suggesting that goddess Lakshmi was originally seated on his lap. The monolith's disfigured but its significance is undisputed. Now in a damaged state, the awesome image depicts the benign aspect of the god since a part of the right hand goddess Lakshmi skirts around the Narasimha suggesting that goddess Lakshmi was originally seated on his lap. The monolith's disfigured but its significance is undisputed.

Places to see

15 km from Hospet is the site of the dam built across the Tungabhadra river. The high masonry dam is about 590 metres long and 49 metres high. The reservoir has a storage ca[acity of 1,32,559 million cu.ft. of water spread over an area of 379 sq. kms.Regular bus services are available from Hospet. Hampi Bazaar has almost returned to former glory with the old buildings being functional again. Traders once more ply their wares but now its mostly branded, packaged, with ‘sales tax extra’! This area has a charm of its own and much of it has to do with the fascinating phenomenon of renaissance. The town of Hospet, which is 13 km from Hampi, is an important tourist center. Travelers can have a panoramic view of surrounding areas from the 49-m-high and 2-km-long Tungabhadra Dam, 6 km from Hospet.

Main attraction
In Hampi (Jan-Feb), the Virupaksha Temple Car Festival is held, which is quite famous. The annual Purandaradasa Aradhana Music festival at Vithala Temple to celebrate the birth anniversary of the medieval poet-composer, Purandar.
is also held.

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