Hampi, in Karnataka, has always been a wonder, with all its ruins and its mind-blowing mysteries. This place has had a big role to play in the culture and heritage of our nation. It, therefore, has aptly been declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Now, Hampi is ranked second in New York time’s 2019 Must-See Destinations with Puerto Rico taking the #1 position. Also, Hampi is the only Indian Destination to have its name on the list.
On a usual note, the known places in Hampi are Virupaksha temple, Stone Chariot, but there’s more to it. Here we introduce you to 13 off-beat places which will definitely get you packing right away!
To get an amazing view of the beautiful ruins of Hampi there could be no better place than the Hemakuta Hill, which consists of a large number of temples, archways, and pavilions being guarded by the tall wide stone walls, the ruins of which can still be seen here. The major temple of Virupaksha is also located here at the Northern part of the hill along with a large number of pre-Vijayanagara temples.
This ancient monument acted as the resting place for elephants owned by the rulers of this region. Out of all the civil structures in Hampi, Elephant Stables is the best example of the Indo-Islamic architectural style. This structure has eleven rooms of magnanimous proportions and high ceilings; ten out of these eleven rooms are covered with vast domes that are made of brick and mortar.
These domes had been constructed in different shapes, such as drum-shaped, octagonal and ribbed. The central dome is the biggest as it was constructed for musicians and band troupes who used to perform during special events involving elephants. Tourists visiting the Elephant Stables would get the ideal chance to see the iron hook in the interior roof, which was used in ancient time to tie elephants. The mahouts used to enter the compartment via manholes that were situated at the end of each hall.
This site has been named Lotus Palace as it includes archways that resemble petals of a lotus flower. The Lotus Mahal, otherwise known as Kamal Mahal and Chitragani Mahal, has two storeys that are embellished with recessed archways. Queens and their friends belonging to royal families used to meet at the Zenana Enclosure and enjoy the proceedings going on at Lotus Palace. This site acted as an air-cooled summer palace for the queens in ancient times.
The Kamal Mahal is one of the few popular structures that have not lost their sheen after the region was seized. However, some signs of vandalism can be found on the outer surface and scriptures. As opposed to a majority of historical structures in Hampi, the Lotus Palace has been constructed by combining lime, brick, and mortar.
Virupapur Gadde or Hippie Island is a small island situated across the Tungabhadra river. It takes 5 minutes to travel to the island via coracle or boat. The island is an epitome of scenic beauty and is known for its laidback ambient and lodges.
Anegundi village is located at a distance of around 10 km from Hampi on the northern banks of the Tungabhadra river. It used to be the regional capital of Vijayanagara Empire; its name means elephant pit in Kannada. This region is even older than Hampi, which according to the Ramayana is believed to be the Kishkinda kingdom ruled by Sugriva (the monkey king).
Going by the references mentioned in the epic Ramayana, Anjanadri Hill is considered to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman. A beautiful Hanuman temple had been constructed as a tribute to the monkey god. This temple is situated on top of the Anjanadri Hill. Travelers need to climb 570 steps in order to reach the Hanuman temple. They will encounter several monkeys while climbing the hill on their way to the temple. It is suggested that all devotees of Lord Hanuman should visit this site.
Kannada University, also called as Hampi Kannada University or Hampi University, is a research-oriented Public University in Hampi, Karnataka, founded in 1991 by the Government of Karnataka through Kannada University Act, 1991, with the aim to develop the Kannada language and to promote the literature, traditions, culture, and folklore of Karnataka.
The shadow of the Gopuram is seen in a small room located in far northwest corner of the Virupakksha temple and somehow, the shadow is inverted! Science defines it as a Pinhole effect.
The monkey kingdom, Kishkinda, is portrayed as the region around Hampi. Anjaneya Hill, located across the river Tungabhadra, is believed to be the birthplace of Hanuman. Rama and Lakshmana, reach Hampi in search of his lost wife Sita. The place is treated as sacred since it bears the footprint of Rama. Hanuman, who is a loyal follower of Rama, is the epitome of devotion and valor.
Hampi has much more icons of Hanuman than any other gods! Rishimukh Hills, where Hanuman meets Rama & Lakshmana, is a hermitage. The cave where Sugreeva supposedly hides the fallen jewels is on the way to Vittala temple via the riverside ruins.
This is one of the rarest abodes of Hanuman believed to be have consecrated by Sri Vyasayarayaru. A very powerful place where Lord Hanuman can be seen tied up in a Yantra.
Since it is somewhat detached from the rest of the typical tourist circuits, many Hampi visitors often fail to make it to Malyavanta Hill. The view and ambiance are as remarkable, and more tranquil than the much talked about Mathanga Hilltop. Due to its relative isolation, you would find a much smaller crowd on top of this hill than say the Matunga Hill or the less tall Hemakuta Hill.
Apart from the usual expectation from a hilltop, the highlight of this hill includes a large temple campus at the top. The main temple, popularly known as Malyavanta Raghunatha Temple, is dedicated to Lord Rama.
Hazara Rama Temple
Hazara Rama Temple, situated in the midst of the Royal Enclosure, is one of the prime attractions of Hampi. This site was used only for ceremonial processions and is renowned among devotees for its sculptures which represent important events that occurred in Ramayana. It is one of the popular temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu in the Hampi region. The walls of this temple are adorned with 15th-century artwork, such as carvings of elephants, horses, soldiers, and dancing girls. Four ornately carved granite pillars enhance the exquisiteness of the Ardha Mantapa.
Tourists visiting the Hazara Rama Temple can explore the architectural and cultural heritage that existed during the rule of former kings. One of the unique things about this temple is the carvings that are present outside compound walls. It houses an image of Lord Buddha, who was the ninth avatar of Lord Vishnu.
If you enter the Hampi complex from the South-West corner, then the Queen’s Bath is the first of the ruins that you would visit. From outside this building appears to be a plain rectangular complex encircled by a big water channel that one might need to cross at some places using the bridge-like structure. This contraption was created to prevent unwanted intruders from walking into the place where the royal women used to bathe.
When looked at from the inside, one can see a huge circular veranda facing a big open sky pool in its middle. It is believed that in ancient times the pool used to be filled with fragrant water and flowers, which now is nothing more than an empty brick-lined pool structure. This entire building and its surroundings have been designed in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. There is a small garden outside the Queen’s Bath, which serves as a fine picnic spot.
This is just a glimpse. Hampi has many more unexplored treasures and there’s just no end to it. Don’t wait up, people! Have a great trip and a great time at Hampi.
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