Hampi is one of the most beautiful and tranquil regions of India. Hampi has a quiet, rural and very intimate setting making it a favorite destination for travelers who start exploring India for the first time, but everyone likes Hampi. Hampi has a select and palatial ambience for those who want to feel like the maharajas, built similarly and inspired by the palaces of Vijayanagar.
Here are the top places to visit in the ruins of Vijayanagar in the state of Karnataka.
1. Monastic of Narasimha and Shiva Linga
The god Narasimha, the lion god and the reincarnation of Vishnu has a gigantic statue in the enclosure of the ruins of Hampi. One of the many obligatory stops in the region. The statue is often guarded by believers. Also take a look at the Badavilinga temple, just next door. Right next to it is Badami Linga, a monolith of Shiva Linga which is 3 meters high.
2. Temple of Krishna
The temple of Krishna is partially in ruins but has not lost its charm. Despite having scaffolding in the entrance tower at least you should visit it. One can see the beautiful statues of the Apsaras (female spirits) that are there carved. The interior is magnificent but you will see much better things in Hampi. Across the street is the Krishna Bazaar, which can run until you reach the temple tank about two or three minutes down the road.
3. Saasive Kaalu Ganesh Temple
This colossal statue of Ganesh is built on a single block of granite two and a half meters high. Notice the snake dug into Ganesh’s belly. The statue is in the southern part of Mount Hemakuta, but before ascending the hill, first go to another statue of Ganesh, Kadalekalu Ganesh, on a road to the right of the entrance to this temple.
4. Kadalekalu Ganesh
In the northeast part of Mount Hemakuta is another colossal statue of Ganesh, this time 4.5 meters high. It is one of the greatest sculptures of Hampi and although it is not rich in detail, it is quite impressive. Beside it there is a small temple with several pillars where one has a fabulous view on the Bazaar Road and the ruins.
5. Mount Hemakuta
Mount Hemakuta is filled with small ruins that are worth exploring. Sculptured rocks, Small shrines, Places of prayer and worship you will see there. Stroll through the ruins of the Sri Hanuman Mandir temple, the Virupaksha Mula and the Sri Gayatri Peetha but be sure to sit down a little at the sunset point to breathe the tranquil air of the ruins. It is a great spot to watch the sunset but, as it is very close to the main temple, you can come back here on any of the days.
6. Temple of Virupaksha
This is the main temple of Hampi. It is a living and active temple where people go on pilgrimages in the festive heights. The temple has a gopura (entrance tower) with 50 meters and completely carved. It is the main place of worship of Hampi dedicated to one of the consorts of God Vishnu, the goddess Pampa.
7. Bazaar Road
In front of the temple is the bazaar road, a dirt road with gigantic columns lining it. This road links the Virupaksha Temple to Mount Mathanga. The road has a few vendors and tourists but if you want to shop, you must enter the village.
8. Ghats And Banks Of The Tungabhadra River
Along the river Tungabhadra are several ghats, not ghats crematories, are ghats of prayer and ebluction, with several stones carved with Hindu gods and small prayer places, like sanctuaries to the gods Hanuman or Vishnu.
9. Kodandarama Temple
If you follow the road by the river, you will find the Kodandarama Temple with representations of Rama, Lakshman and Sita. The temple is actually a rock within a temple with ghats across the river.
- Pushkarani Temple
The Pushkaranis are sacred tanks attached to the temples. Most of the great temples in Hampi have a tank attached to it. The tanks cater to the ritual and functional aspects of the temple and life around. Symbolically, these tanks are significant and treated with great respect. Although this temple has the very degraded tank, it is worth to visit it.
11. Temple of Achyuta Raya
Following the street of the courtesans, towards Mount Mathanga, one arrives at the Temple of Achyuta Raya, a huge temple of the sixteenth century dedicated to Tiruvengalanatha – a reincarnation of Vishnu. This temple has two gopuras (towers typical of southern India). Before arriving you can cross the Bazaar of Achyuta Raya probably with shepherds feeding the animals in the more or less dry herbs.
12. Mount Matanga
On one of the days that you are going to spend in Hampi you will have to climb this mountain to see the sunset. It will be one of the images that will keep in your memory forever. You can climb through a well marked rail at the end of the Bazaar Road, or by a rail near the Achyuta Raya Temple. At the top of Mount Matanga is a Hindu temple worth strolling over.
There is lots of accommodation in Hampi which built according to the palaces of Vijayanagar. If you want a luxurious stay then you can book Deccan Odyssey Train as the journey of Jewels of the Deccan will take you there.