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Group of Monuments at Hampi

Take a trip back in time to ancient Monuments at HampiHampi in Karnataka is a village having several monuments belonging to the old city of Vijainagara ruins termed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi. Find the excessive remains of the palaces of yore on hampi tours India and enjoy hampi tourism for a trip around Monuments at Hampi.

In south India you will find Hampi which 800 years ago was the capital of the Hindu kingdom Vijayanagar. Located in the state Karnataka, Hampi today is home to about 1 million people.

The city is rich with legends and history. The city was razed during an invasion of Muslim soldiers. As people fled, a Portuguese traveler reported to his king “Here live only tigers!”

A main legend associated with Hampi is its important role in the epic “Ramayana”. When the demon king Ravana kidnapped Rama’s wife, Sita, Rama and his brother Lakshmana got the help of the monkey general, Hanuman, to help rescue Sita.

Less mythological is the origin of the city and the empire Vijayanagar (city of the victory). Until the beginning of the 14th century, it was a Muslim influenced region. Then 1336 two brothers–Harihara and Bukka–established themselves as a ruler of this region. They ruled the entire south India which covered over 20 miles. They assigned feudal estates to the more than half million vassals. Hinduism was the main religion in Hampi; however, there were also a Jain community and a Muslim community for the Islamic mercenaries from the north. The most active areas of the town are the “Hampi Bazaar (also “Sacred Centre”) and the southern area “Royal Centre” at the place Kamalapuram.

Historical SitesVirupaksha templeIn 1986, UNESCO added the monuments of Hampi to its world heritage cultural sites list. Virupaksha Temple on the west end of town is not only Hampi’s main temple, but also its oldest temple. Located at the south bank of the Tungabadra River was an important pilgrimage center for the worshipers of Shiva. It is still visited by tourists and pilgrims and annual celebrations attract huge crowds.

While exact origin of Hampi is not known, its history as a holy place is associated with the Virupaksha temple used uninterruptedly, since its construction in the 7th century. The original place of worship consisted only of simple shrines with images of the Gods and Goddesses.

Over the centuries, the temple gradually expanded to include shrines, pillar halls, flagpoles, lamp poles, towers with overbuilt entrances and even a large temple kitchen. Today, it is a complex with several shrines and because of its 56-foot-high Gopuram (temple tower); it can be recognized from far way. When you visit Hampi, you must visit Ranga Mandapa (red pavilion). Built in 1510 by king Krishnadeva (1509-29)–the most powerful ruler of Vijayanagara Empire–half of the pavilion’s 38 columns shows Yali, a mythical lion figure.

At the Hazara-Rama temple you can see water pipes that ran throughout the complex, and portholes of old wooden buildings. Its exterior walls include over 100 relief pictures showing scenes out of the Ramayana, the oldest Indian epic. Inside, you will be amazed at the uniquely decorated pillars carved out of black granite.

Vittala TempleAnother impressive monument of Hampi is the Vittala temple which lies at the northern edge of the ruin field, near the river bank. Built in 1513 by Krishnadeva Raj, the never wholly completed sanctuary is an example of the typical granite carving of Vijayanagara. The temple, built in honor of Vishnu, stands in a rectangular patio and is surrounded by high walls. You will see richly decorated Gopurams (gate towers) and Mandapas (Pavillions). The Dolovatsa Mandapa has 56 pillars, which are so masterly hewed to have a hollow interior that they produce certain tones when you strike them. In the eastern part of the patio, you will find the famous richly decorated stone chariot which counts as one of the symbols of Hampi.

The Phatabhi Rama temple was built between the years 1530 to 1542. Its large entrance hall with pillars–the Vijaya Bhava–is adorned with grand bas-relief depictions of horses, elephants and dancers.

The Zenana enclosure should have been reserved for the queen and her court ladies. You will also find the Lotus Mahal that shows the elements of Indian and Muslim architecture.