Hampi: the magnificent ancient kingdom of Vijaynagar

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Ancient stone chariot shaped Hindu religious temple Kallina Ratha in the Vittala complex at Hampi India

Hampi is located in Bellary district of Karnataka and is one of the most historically rich places. It is listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also, this city was, at one point, one of the richest cities in the world. Located in Vijayanagar city, Hampi is one of the most significant tourist places of attraction. People from all over the country visit this heritage town in order to see its beautiful monuments. It is no surprise that it is a tourist hotspot for people from all over the globe. 

Its history

Hampi got its name from ‘ Pampa’, who is believed to have sat on the hills in meditation, in pursuit of winning over and marrying Lord Shiva. Pampa is said to be Lord Brahma’s daughter. Lord Shiva, impressed by her devotion, granted her a boon and she asked him to marry her. Hence, the land came to be known as Pampakshetra and Lord Shiva Pampapati – the consort of Pampa. It was here where the city was built. Pampa was also the ancient name of the river Tungabhadra.

Today, Hampi is also known as Vijayanagar,a after the empire which used to rule there. Hampi used to be a prosperous and rich kingdom in the 14th century, which was eventually ruined owing to the attacks by the Mughals.

The rulers who ruled Hampi were great admirers of art and culture religion and set up a magnificent empire. Hampi was at its peak during the rule of Krishna Deva Raya, who ruled this city between 1509 and 1529. During this era, the Vijayanagara Empire had almost taken up most of South India and also beyond. However, Hampi succumbed to attacks carried out by five Deccan Sultans, who attacked in 1565 and looted the city for approximately six months; it was an attack that brought massive destruction.

The wonder of Hampi at sunset, Karnataka, India

Famous temples and monuments to visit in Hampi

Hampi stands today as the most outstanding archaeology of Vijayanagara, the ‘City of Victory’ and the most powerful kingdom in medieval India. Since Hampi is popular all over the world for its beautiful monuments and temples, here are some of them that you need to visit if you decide to explore this beautiful city.

  1. Virupaksha Temple- When in Hampi, make sure to visit the Virupaksha Temple that will be a treat to the eyes for people who love history and religion. Located on the banks of the beautiful Tungabhadra river, its beauty and charm are eye-catching. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this site is one of the most important and visited pilgrimage sites.
  2. Vijaya Vittala Temple- Among the many Hampi attractions, the Vijaya Vittala Temple is one of the most breathtaking pieces of architecture. Built in dedication to Vittala, who is a form of Lord Vishnu, this beautiful temple is a must-visit. It was built in the 15th century and many kings who ruled have tried their best to further enhance the beauty of this temple. Their efforts led to Hampi being gifted with such a beautiful structure.
  3. Archaeological Museum- The very first museum that was built and set up by the Archaeological Survey of India is the magnificent Archaeological Museum in Hampi. The museum exhibits sculptures and many artefacts, where you can get a glimpse of the city’s Hampi. Here, you can see silver coins and beautiful sculptures of several deities and the silver and gold coins used during that era.  
  4. Achyutaraya Temple- Built in Ad 1534, the Achyutaraya Temple is a classic example of the Vijayanagar style of architecture. It was the last grand temple that was built before the empire fell and got defeated. This temple is dedicated to another form of Lord Vishnu- Tiruvengalanatha – and was set up and built by an officer in Achyuta Raya’s court, and hence the name. It’s another must-visit spot for tourists and devotees.

Hampi’s magnificent forts, palaces, and gateways show a glimpse of the excellent architecture of those times. Visit Hampi anytime and you will see the place swarming with people. Enjoy this ancient city and its magnificent monuments and temples. 

 

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