Hampi, the capital of the famed Vijayanagara Empire, was founded by brothers Harihara and Bukka in 1336 A.D. The empire stretched all over Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, and reached its peak under the rule of the dynasty's most famous king, Krishna Deva Raya. The most famous courtier of his time was "Tenali Rama', whose tales of wit and wisdom entertain us till date. The empire became famous for its support towards building of new temples as well as renovation of old ones through out the region.
Hampi's history is very interesting, the story of a tiny hamlet growing into a powerful and wealthy kingdom before being b defeated and ransacked by the Deccan sultanates.
Hampi is also mentioned in the b Indian epic Ramayana as the site of b the Vanara kingdom, Kishkinda.
Located in the Bellary district of Northern Karnataka, the ruins of this famous city have been declared as a World Heritage Centre by UNESCO. The beautiful river Tungabhadra flows majestically nearby. The town of Hospet serves as the entry point to Hampi.
The ruins of Hampi attract E thousands of tourists every year, especially foreigners. It abounds in beautiful temples, remains of palaces, aquatic structures, ancient market streets, royal pavilions, bastions, royal platforms, treasury buildings, bathing tanks of royals and many more.
The most famous of them is the Virupaksha temple. The temple has a 120 feet tall tower on its eastern entrance. It contains the shrines of Shiva, Pampa and Bhuvaneswari. Parts of this temple are older than the Vijayanagar kingdom itself! This temple is supposed to date back to the 11th or 12th century.
Another splendid monument of Hampi is the Vithala Temple Complex with its 56 musical pillars. To the east of this stands the famous Stone Chariot with stone wheels that actually revolve; an unbelievable masterpiece of Indian architecture! You can also visit the Purandara Dasa Mantapa, devoted to the famous singer-saint.
Shaped like a lotus, the Lotus Mahal is a two-storey structure and was the summer palace of the queen.
The Queen's Bath was the bathing as well as wading pool of the royal ladies. The pool had lotus shaped fountains that sprouted perfumed water. The House of Victory was built in honour of King Krishna Deva Raya after his victory over the King of Orissa.
The Hazara Ramaswami temple is believed to have been the private place of worship of the royal family. The chief attraction of this temple is the series of scenes from the Ramayana carved on two of the inside walls of the mantapa.