Hampi and important religious center is a village in northern Karnataka state, India and is located within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra river, Hampi is 353 km from Bangalore and Hospet, 13 km away, is the nearest railway Station.
The city houses the VirupakshaTemple, as well as several other monuments belonging to the old city. The Group of Monuments at Hampi was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.
Hampi with its strategic location, bounded by the torrential Tungabhadra river on one side and surrounded by defensible hills on the other three sides, formed one of the core areas of the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire from 1343 to 1565, when it was finally laid siege to by the Deccan Muslim confederacy. Hampi is famous both historically and architecturally. The Archaeological Survey of India continues to conduct excavations in the area, to discover additional artifacts and temples.
Hampi is adorned with many temples with some vedanta mythology inside the temples, some of which are still active places of worship. Among the most notable are the Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy temple, constructed in the anicent style of architecture, VirupakshaTemple, an ancient temple situated in the Hampi Bazaar, the Hazara Rama Temple Complex which is a ruined temple complex with well-laid gardens and known for more than many thousand carvings & inscriptions on & in the temple depicting the mighty story of Ramayana. Vittala Temple Complex is most famous and well-known among the ruins of Hampi. The iconic stone chariot close to this temple complex is a symbol of Karnataka Tourism. The Krishna Temple Complex recently excavated also depicts the history of the place.
The road leading to the temple was once a market where the horses were traded. Even today we can see the ruins of the market on both the sides of the road. The temple contains the images of foreigners like Persians selling horses.
Non-profit organization Global Heritage Fund (GHF), in partnership with the Hampi Foundation, CornellUniversity, and the State of Karnataka, has been actively involved in the conservation of Hampi’s unique cultural heritage. After producing a master conservation plan for the site of ChandramouleshwaraTemple, GHF’s efforts have moved to “stabilization of the temple and its associated structural features.”
In the words of Domingo Paes, a Portuguese horse trader, “The size of this city I do not write here, because it cannot all be seen from any one spot, but I climbed a hill ( most likely the Matunga Hill) whence I could see a great part of it. I could not see it all because it lies between several ranges of hills. What I saw from thence seemed to me as large as Rome, and very beautiful to the sight; there are many groves of trees within it, in the gardens of the houses, and many conduits of water which flow into the midst of it, and in places there are lakes and the king has close to his palace a palm-grove and other rich-bearing fruit-trees……….”
……speaks about the grandeur of the place in itself!
In 1917 A.H. Longhurst’s Hampi Ruins Described and Illustrated became the first travel guide for the visitors to Hampi. Currently Hampi’s monuments, hundreds of them, is popular among tourists, pilgrims and the area is an exotic location for the Bollywood and local film shootings. Jackie Chan film “Myth” was shot in the Hampi.