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The city is also the home of Pampakshetra - home
of Pampa, the daughter of Lord Brahma and wedded to Shiva.
The temples here are noted for their large dimensions, florid ornamentation, bold and delicate carvings, stately pillars, magnificent pavilions. Most of them are built in early 16th century, during the reign of the great Vijayanagar ruler, Krishna Deva Raya (1509 -1529). Hampi holds many delightful surprises and every rock here is worth a visit. The most famous is the King's Balance where kings were weighed against gold or money which was distributed to the poor. Also worth a visit in Hampi are the Queen's Bath, the two storeyed Lotus Mahal, the huge Elephant Stables, the splendid Vitthal Temple with its musical pillars, the Virupaksha Temple etc and it takes three days or ten days, depending on one's time and love for history.
The area Hampi can be divided into two parts - the Sacred
Center and the Royal Center. Scared Center encloses religious sites and
the Royal Center encloses the royal buildings.
Virupaksha temple (Sri Viupaksha Swami Temple)
Virupaksha temple is located at the south of the Ganesha images, at the foot of the hill called Hemakuta Hill. Often called Pampapathi temple it is one of the earliest structures in the city. The temple was once a small shrine, developed into a large complex under the Vijayanagara rulers.
The complex consists of a Sanctum, three ante chambers, a pillared hall and a Mukha Mantapa also called Ranga Mantapa. A pillared cloister, entrance gateways, courtyards, attendant shrines and other mandapas surround the temple. The main shrine is dedicated to Virupaksha, a form of Lord Siva. The 56 m high 9-storey main gopuram is thought to have been built in 1442. The second, smaller gopuram was added in 1510 by Krishnadevaraya on the occasion of a festival in honour of his coronation.
The main temple is approached through Ranga Mandapa.
The Ranga mandapa itself consists of 38 pillars and are divided into two
vertical sections - the first is cut to resemble a Yali (a mythical lion),
standing on a Makara (a mythical creature) , while the second section
is basically square with small relief, depicting mostly Shaiva themes.
The interior is defined by 16 carved columns features rearing animals
and riders. The composition is divided into two pairs of matching panels,
showing the marriage of Rama and Sita (front) and that of Shiva and Parvati
(end), both these standing with trees in the background. At the east end
of the hall is a long panel depicting a procession. The enclosed hall
beyond, entered through side porches, leads to the linga sanctuary. South
of Virupaksha Temple is a temple housing a massive Shiva lingam situated
in a pool of water. Carved from a single rock, it is adjacent to a monolithic
statue of Narasimha, the main lion avatar of Vishnu. Although
partially damaged, it is considered as one of the finest sculptures at
The crowded, Virupaksha Bazaar or market which stretches
750m east from the Virupaksha Temple is the largest of the many bazaars
of Hampi. At the far eastern end of the road is a pavilion containing
a monolithic Nandi statue (Shiva's bull) gazes far from its shrine. Nearby
is a small photo gallery which display contrast pictures taken in 1896
with shots taken from exactly the same positions in 1983.
Situated at the east end of the Virupaksha Bazaar is the Kodandarama Temple. The temple is famous for its 15 feet in heigh carvings of the Sri Rama, Sita and Lakshmana on a large boulder. This temple faces Chakra Thirtha, an auspicious bathing spot at a bend in the river, marks the place where Lakshmana, Rama's brother crowned Sugriva.
Nearby to this, is a temple for Sudarshana and Hanuman
which have more religious importance than architectural significance.
It is huge structure in Hampi, built by King Krishnadevaraya
to commemorate the victory over Udaygiri (now in Orissa). It is said that
king used this to observe the royal processions, sports, musical programs
and Navarathri celebrations. It is a three layere square structure and
there are two stairways to reach the top. Each one is highly decorated
with animals carvings. From the top one can see the vast vie on the campus
around it. Entry is free. Opening time Sunrise to Sunset.
Also known as Gagan Mahal, it is small old palace and
might be served as the center of Anegondi kingdom . Located in an erstwhile
capital city Anegondi near Hampi, it is surrounded with a big fort. Now
it is partially ruined.
Supposedly used by royal women for Royal bathing, it
is located in Royal enclosure. Even though it is a plain rectangular building
from outside, when one get inside, it's structure is different. It is
an Indo -Saracenic architecture building, with a long veranda inside facing
a square tank of 6 feet depth from all sides.
Built during the rule of Krishnadevaraya, this is one of the famous impressive monument at Hampi. Located in the southern bank of the Tungabhadra river, it is known for its extensive art work. The temple is carved out of a granite area measuring three-hundred by five-hundred feet in area. Figures have been tastefully carved out of granite rock in the temple. It has fifty-six pillars in the main hall, which produce various sounds when tapped and are called as musical pillars. The Vithala temple also houses a striking rock chariot that carries the mythical bird, the Garuda. The temple is the venure of the Purundaradasa festival held every year.
Situated between the Ganesh statue and the statue of Narasimha are the remains of Krishna Temple complex dates from 1513. It features some fine carving and shrines. Entrance to the temple is via a massive gateway. Built by Krishnadevaraya to commemorate his victory over the ruler of Orissa, the temple possesses a sanctum, an antechamber, an ardha mantapa, a circumambulatory path, a pillared hall, and an open pillared mantapa and a number of other shrines.
Also known as Prasanna Virupaksha, this temple lies
below ground level and is filled with rainwater spends for part of the
year. Built during the Sangam rule, it is dedicated to Lord Prasanna Virupaksha
(Lord Shiva). This ruined temple is fairly large with a few Mantapas and
the pillared cloister. Inside, the Kalyanamantapa is ornate and was built
during the l5th century.
Enclosed with a tall and broad walls made out of cut stones arranged in interesting pattern, the Zanana enclosure is made into a sort of open garden with sprawling lawns. It was a private area reserved for the royal women. It is said that the queen and king's companions lived here. There are four significant structures inside the enclosure; the largest is Queen's Palace, now in a ruined state. The Queen’s Palace basement measuring about 46 x 29 meters has been the largest palace base excavated in the Hampi ruins so far. Opposite to this, across the central path, at the east lie the remains of a water pavilion. At the corners of the enclosed area, three watch towers can be seen.
Lotus Mahal a beautiful monument located at the southeast corner, is supposed to be the Zenana Enclosure. It is a two-storied arched pavilion looks like a lotus and is assumed to be the meeting place for the royal women folks. Its architecture shows a display of Indian and Islamic influences.The royal Treasury building was located in the Zanana Enclosure.
The Archaeological Museum
It is at the southern part of the ruins, Kamalapuram. Visit : Saturday to Thursday, 10 - 5. Entry - free. It exhibits many of the weapons, paintings, sculpture, coins and cooking utensils found at Hampi and some statues collected from the Shiva and Vishnu temples.