Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the state of Karnataka in India and is surrounded by a stunning landscape of hills, valleys, and boulder-strewn terrain.
It is renowned for its rich history and is home to several magnificent monuments and structures that date back to the Vijayanagara Empire, one of the most influential and prosperous empires in Indian history.
In this article, we will explore the various aspects of Hampi, including its history, architecture, must-visit places, and local food.
As the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, Hampi is steeped in history and culture.
The empire was one of the most powerful and prosperous in Indian history, and its influence can still be seen in the magnificent ruins and monuments that dot the landscape of Hampi.
The city is also blessed with breathtaking natural beauty, from the rolling hills and rocky outcrops to the verdant forests and tranquil rivers.
Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or nature, Hampi has something for everyone.
Hampi, the erstwhile capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, was one of the most prosperous and influential empires in Indian history.
Founded in 1336 by Harihara I and Bukka Raya I, the city became a thriving center of trade, commerce, and culture.
It was known for its military prowess and successfully resisted several invasions by neighboring powers.
Under the reign of Krishnadevaraya from 1509 to 1530, Hampi became a major center of art, literature, and scholarship.
The city was adorned with several magnificent monuments and structures, such as the Vithala Temple, the Lotus Mahal, and the Mahanavami Platform.
However, Hampi’s glory could have been more lived.
The empire began to decline in the late 16th century due to a combination of factors, including internal strife, external pressures, and economic decline.
In the 19th century, Hampi was rediscovered by archaeologists and scholars who made efforts to restore and preserve its monuments and structures.
Today, it stands as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of India’s most popular tourist destinations, known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and scenic beauty.
Hampi is dotted with several magnificent temples, palaces, bazaars, and other structures built using local materials such as granite and laterite.
One of the most distinctive features of Hampi’s architecture is the use of the Dravidian style, characterized by tall, ornate gopurams (entrance towers), intricate carvings and sculptures, and large, pillared halls.
This style is most evident in the city’s temples, such as the Virupaksha Temple and the Vithala Temple.
Another notable feature of Hampi’s architecture is corbelled arches, which allowed the builders to create large, unsupported spaces without using pillars or columns.
This technique is used in several palaces and pavilions, such as the Lotus Mahal and the Elephant Stables.
Hampi is also famous for its water infrastructure, which includes a network of canals, tanks, and fountains that supply water to the city’s inhabitants and crops.
Many of these structures are still standing today, including the Pushkarini Tank and the Queen’s Bath, prime examples of the city’s hydraulic engineering.
Overall, the architecture of Hampi is a testament to the artistic and technical achievements of the Vijayanagara Empire, and it continues to inspire and awe visitors from around the world.
Things to do in Hampi
Explore the ruins
Hampi is home to a vast number of historic ruins and structures, and exploring them is one of the top things to do in the city.
Some must-visit sites include the Virupaksha Temple, Vithala Temple, and the Lotus Mahal.
Go on a temple tour
Hampi has many ancient temples, each with its unique history and architecture.
You can take a temple tour to learn more about these temples and their significance in Hindu mythology.
Visit Anjaneya Hill
Anjaneya Hill is home to the Hanuman Temple, situated at the top of the hill.
You can climb up the hill to enjoy panoramic views of the city and its surrounding landscape.
Take a coracle ride
A coracle is a round boat made of wicker or bamboo, and taking a coracle ride on the Tungabhadra River is a popular activity in Hampi.
You can enjoy the serene beauty of the river and the surrounding hills while floating in a coracle.
Watch the sunset
The sunset is a magical experience, and one of the best places to watch it is from the top of Matanga Hill.
You can climb up the hill in the late afternoon and watch the sunset over the ruins of Hampi.
Explore the Hampi Bazaar
The bazaar is a vibrant market that has been in operation for centuries.
You can explore the various stalls selling local handicrafts, clothing, and souvenirs and sample the delicious local food.
Go on a cycling tour
Cycling is a popular way to explore Hampi’s ruins and landscape.
You can rent a bicycle and go on a guided cycling tour of the city, which will take you to some of the most popular sites in Hampi.
Observe Elephants Bathing
Every morning, elephants and their young are cleansed and exercised in the area of the Lotus Temple complex.
Come here to witness these gorgeous creatures splash each other and their bathers in the water.
Because this is an early morning ritual, arrive by 8 a.m.
Overall, there are many things to do and see in Hampi, and the city has something to offer everyone, whether you are a history buff, an adventurer, or a foodie.
Restaurants and Local Food in Hampi
Hampi offers various dining options catering to different tastes and budgets.
The local cuisine is a blend of South Indian and North Indian flavors, focusing on vegetarian dishes.
One of the most popular local dishes is the masala dosa, a crispy crepe filled with spicy potato filling and served with chutney and sambar.
(Source: on canvas)
Another must-try dish is the vada pav, a deep-fried potato patty sandwiched between two buns and served with spicy green chutney.
Hampi Bazaar is the place to be for those who want to indulge in some street food.
You can find a variety of street vendors selling everything from crispy fried snacks to sweet desserts.
Be sure to try the local favorite, bhajji, deep-fried fritters made with vegetables such as onions and potatoes.
If you are looking for a sit-down meal, several restaurants offer a range of cuisines, including Indian, Chinese, and Continental.
Mango Tree Restaurant is a popular spot known for its delicious food and stunning views of the Hampi landscape.
Other popular restaurants include Gouthami Restaurant and Laughing Buddha Cafe.
Must Visit Places in Hampi
Virupaksha Temple, Hampi
The Virupaksha Temple is a Hindu temple located in the heart of Hampi and is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
It is one of the oldest functioning temples in India and dates back to the 7th century.
The temple has several smaller shrines, mandapas, and courtyards with intricate carvings and sculptures.
The temple’s main tower, or gopura, rises to a height of 50 meters and is a prominent landmark in Hampi.
(Source: wikimedia common)
The temple is also home to a resident elephant that is considered sacred and is an integral part of the temple’s rituals.
The Vithala Temple is an ancient temple located on the banks of the Tungabhadra River.
It is famous for its stunning stone chariot, symbolizing the temple’s unique architecture.
The temple’s main hall, or mandapa, has 56 pillars that produce musical notes when struck, creating a musical sound that is said to be divine.
The temple has several other attractions, such as the Ranga Mantapa, the Kalyana Mantapa, and the Stone Chariot.
The Lotus Palace, also known as the Kamal Mahal, is a stunning palace near the Zenana Enclosure.
It is named after the lotus motifs carved on its walls and is a fine example of the architectural and artistic prowess of the Vijayanagara Empire.
The palace has several balconies, windows, and corridors, which the royal women used to watch processions and ceremonies.
Yantrodharaka Hanuman Temple
The Yantrodharaka Hanuman Temple is located on top of Anjaneya Hill, offering a panoramic view of Hampi’s surroundings.
The temple has a 22-foot-tall statue of Lord Hanuman, which is said to be the tallest Hanuman statue in India.
The temple also has several smaller shrines dedicated to other deities.
The Hampi Bazaar is a long street that runs through the heart of the city.
The bazaar was once a bustling marketplace that sold various goods, including textiles, spices, precious stones, and other commodities.
Today, the bazaar is a popular destination for tourists, who explore its narrow alleys, colorful shops, and vibrant atmosphere.
Visitors can also find a range of street food vendors selling a variety of local delicacies, such as dosas, vadas, and chaat.
The bazaar is especially lively during the annual Hampi Utsav, a cultural festival that celebrates the rich heritage and traditions of the region.
Today, it is a popular tourist destination with several shops selling souvenirs, handicrafts, and local food.
Hippie Island, also known as Virupapur Gadde, is a small island across the Tungabhadra River.
It is a popular destination for backpackers and adventure seekers and has several guesthouses, cafes, and restaurants.
The island is known for its laid-back vibe and is a great place to unwind and relax.
(Source: our taste for life)
Monuments to Visit in Hampi
Krishna temple, Market, Narasimha, and Linga
The Krishna temple, Market, Narasimha, and Linga are a group of monuments located near the Hampi Bazaar.
The Krishna temple is a stunning temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, and it has several intricate carvings and sculptures.
The Market is an open-air marketplace where traders used to sell their goods.
The Narasimha and Linga are two ancient statues that are located nearby and are also popular tourist attractions.
Achyutaraya Temple and Market Complex
The Achyutaraya Temple is an ancient temple located on the banks of the Tungabhadra River.
The interiors are spread across a vast area and consist of several interconnected structures, including a main sanctum, a mandapa (hall), and a massive pillared hall.
(Source: Hampi Tourism)
The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and features stunning carvings and sculptures of various Hindu deities and mythological figures.
The temple is also surrounded by a market complex, where traders used to sell spices, textiles, and other goods.
Hazara Rama Temple
The Hazara Rama Temple is a small but significant temple located in the royal enclosure of Hampi.
It is known for its exquisite carvings and sculptures that depict the life and times of Lord Rama.
The temple’s walls are adorned with over a thousand intricately carved panels that depict scenes from the Ramayana.
(Source: Explore Bees)
The Mahanavami Platform is a massive structure located near the Hazara Rama Temple.
It is an elevated platform used by the kings of the Vijayanagara Empire to watch military parades and other grand processions during the Navratri festival.
(Source: wikimedia commons)
The platform has several ornate carvings and sculptures and is an essential historical monument in Hampi.
Hampi was a well-planned city with an advanced water management system.
Water played a crucial role in the functioning of Hampi during its heyday.
The Vijayanagara kings built an elaborate system of canals, tanks, and reservoirs to manage the city’s water resources.
(Source: Atlas Obscura)
One of the most remarkable features of Hampi’s water infrastructure is the fountains system.
The fountains were built in different parts of the city and powered by the gravity of water flowing from the nearby hills.
The water infrastructure in Hampi was a testament to the engineering prowess and vision of the Vijayanagara kings.
It allowed the city to thrive and prosper, and it continues to fascinate and inspire visitors to this day.
Fountains and Community Kitchen
Hampi has several fountains and water features that were used to provide drinking water to the city’s inhabitants.
The fountains are intricately carved and testament to the city’s advanced engineering skills.
The fountains were not just functional but also aesthetic, and they were often adorned with sculptures and carvings.
The community kitchen, also known as the Bhojanasala, was a large building where food was prepared and distributed to the city’s people.
The kitchen was powered by water that was brought from a nearby tank through a system of channels and pipes.
The kitchen was open to all and served as a vital food source for the poor and needy.
Ganagitti Temple Complex
The Ganagitti Temple Complex is an ancient temple near the Virupaksha Temple.
It is known for its stunning architecture and intricate carvings depicting Hindu mythology scenes.
The temple complex also has several smaller shrines and mandapas worth exploring.
Ahmad Khan Mosque and Tomb
The Ahmad Khan Mosque and Tomb is a small but significant monument near the Lotus Palace.
It is an example of the Indo-Islamic architecture that was popular during the Vijayanagara Empire.
The mosque has several ornate arches, domes, and minarets.
At the same time, the tomb is a simple but elegant structure that is said to be the final resting place of Ahmad Khan, a nobleman who served the Vijayanagara Empire.
Best Time to Visit Hampi
The best time to visit Hampi is between October and March when the weather is pleasant and there is minimal rainfall.
How to Reach
Hampi is well connected by road, rail, and air.
The nearest airport is in Bellary, and the nearest railway station is in Hospet.
What is Hampi famous for?
Hampi is famous for its rich history and stunning architecture.
Are 2 days enough for Hampi?
2 days may not be enough to explore all of Hampi, but covering some of the major attractions is possible.
Which is the best time to visit Hampi?
The best time to visit Hampi is between October and March.
What is the secret of Hampi?
There are many secrets and mysteries associated with Hampi, including hidden tunnels and secret chambers in some of the temples.
Why is Hampi called Lost city?
Hampi is called the “Lost City” because it was abandoned and forgotten after its downfall and rediscovered many years later.
What is the famous food of Hampi?
Some must-try local dishes include Bisi Bele Bath, Vangi Bath, and Mysore Pak.
Which language is spoken in Hampi?
The primary language in Hampi is Kannada, but many people also speak Hindi and English.
Why are there no idols in Hampi?
The idols were destroyed or removed from the temples during the invasions and attacks on the city.