Hampi: Enjoy the Ancient Vibes

This historic village is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River and has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It boasts of several temple ruins from the Vijayanagara Empire, making it a popular tourist destination in Karnataka. Hampi’s main attraction is its rocky terrain and desolate allure, which draws visitors from all corners. If you’re interested in delving into the past, then this destination should definitely be on your must-see list.

As soon as you enter this captivating city, you’ll be awestruck by the exquisite workmanship of the skilled artisans of that time. Hampi’s ruins feature roughly 500 architectural structures that are well worth a visit. Additionally, there are many facets of Hampi that will keep you entertained. You can ride a bicycle and leisurely explore the temples.

One of the top things to do in Hampi is to visit Anjaneya Hill and enjoy the panoramic view of the Hampi ruins from above. For those who love adventure, rock climbing and cliff jumping are the most exhilarating activities that can give an adrenaline rush.

Tourist attraction of Hampi

  • Vijaya Vittala Temple
  • Monkey Temple
  • Queen’s Bath
  • Archeological Museum
  • Matanga Hill
  • Virupaksha Temple
  • Hippie Island

1. Vittala Temple, Hampi – An Architectural Wonder

The Vitthala Temple, also known as the Vittala Temple, is an ancient monument renowned for its remarkable architecture and unparalleled craftsmanship. It is regarded as one of the largest and most prominent structures in Hampi, located in the northeastern part of the town near the Tungabhadra River banks.

The temple features astonishing stone structures, including the renowned stone chariot and captivating musical pillars. This significant landmark of Hampi is a primary attraction of the ruined town and is highly recommended for visitors and tourists to explore.

Brief Information:

Operating Hours: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM, seven days a week

Admission Fee: None

Photography: Permitted

Videography: Permitted

Duration of Visit: Approximately 3 hours

Optimal Visiting Season: November through February

History of Vittala Temple, Hampi

The Vittala Temple, also known as Shri Vijaya Vitthala Temple, was constructed during the 15th century under the rule of King Devaraya II, who governed the Vijayanagara Empire from 1422 to 1446 A.D. Subsequently, various parts of the temple were expanded and improved during the reign of Krishnadevaraya, the most prominent leader of the Vijayanagara dynasty, from 1509 to 1529 A.D. He played a significant role in transforming the temple into its present-day appearance.

Dedicated to Lord Vitthala, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Vittala Temple enshrined an idol of Vitthala-Vishnu. According to legend, the temple was constructed as a dwelling place for Lord Vishnu in his Vitthala form. Nevertheless, the deity found the temple to be excessively grand and chose to return to his modest home.

Present Condition of Vittala Temple, Hampi

The Vittala Temple, although partially ruined, was once home to an idol of Lord Vittala in its sanctum sanctorum. However, the idol is no longer present. The central western hall of the temple was destroyed during the attack of the Mughals, which led to the fall of the Vijayanagara Empire in 1565 A.D.

The chariot wheels, which were once functional and could be rotated by people, are now cemented by the government to prevent further damage. Tapping the musical pillars of the Ranga Mantapa is also prohibited due to the damage caused by years of tapping.

The road leading to the temple is completely ruined, although it was once a bustling market known as the Vittala Bazaar, where horse trading was popular. Carvings inside the temple depict foreigners trading horses.

Today, floodlights are installed in the temple complex, which offers a beautiful view of the temple against the dark sky at night. The annual Purandaradasa festival is also held in the temple complex.

How to reach Vittala Temple

The Vittala Temple in Hampi is situated at the end of the ruined Vittala Bazaar. The place can be easily reached by vehicles from all parts of Hampi.

By Air

Hampi cannot be reached directly by flight as the ruined town has no airport of its own. Ballari (Bellary) is the closest town to have an airport. Ballary is situated at a distance of around 64 km from Hampi. Visitors can reach Ballari by taking a flight and then proceed to Hampi by means of local transport.

By Rail

Hampi does not have a railway station. The nearest railway station can be found in the city of Hosapete (Hospet). The Hospet Junction Railway Station is connected to several other towns and cities of Karnataka by means of regular trains. Hosapete is situated at a distance of around 10 km from Hampi.

One of the easiest ways to reach Hampi from Hosapete is to board a bus. There are a few other means of local transport also to reach Hampi from Hosapete.

By Road

Hampi has a good road network and is connected to many towns and cities in Karnataka by this network. There are a lot of government and private buses that travel between Hampi and several towns and cities in the state.

Visitors can also hire private cars, cabs or other vehicles from big cities like Bengaluru (Bangalore) or Mysuru (Mysore) to travel to Hampi.

2. Monkey Temple

The Monkey Temple, believed to be the birthplace of Sri Hanuman, is situated on Anjanadri Hill in Anegundi, just 4 km away from Hampi. This temple is a must-visit place, accessible by climbing a flight of steps leading to a small concrete structure. The main idol of Hanuman is carved out of granite, and there is a small shrine for Sri Rama and Sita nearby. As the name suggests, the temple is surrounded by monkeys.

Visitors can enjoy a splendid view of Hampi and many other heritage sites from the top of the hill. The Monkey Temple is also an ideal place to watch the sunrise and sunset. Other attractions in the vicinity of the Monkey Temple include Pampa Sarovara, Laxmi Temple, Bukka’s Aqueduct, Anegondi Fort, and Rishyamukha Sarovara.

 Monkey Temple Hampi Timings

Monday6:00 am – 8:00 pm
Tuesday6:00 am – 8:00 pm
Wedesday6:00 am – 8:00 pm
Thursday6:00 am – 8:00 pm
Friday6:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturday6:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sunday6:00 am – 8:00 pm

3. Queen’s Bath, Hampi – An Ornate Structure

The Queen’s Bath, situated near the entrance of the Royal Enclosure in Hampi, is an enormous bath that showcases the remarkable architecture of the Vijayanagara Empire. Despite being constructed over 500 years ago during the empire’s reign, the bath still leaves a lasting impression on visitors today.

Quick Facts

  • Timing: 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM on all days of the week
  • Entry Fee: No entry fee required
  • Photography: Allowed
  • Visit Duration: About 1 hour
  • Best time to visit: From November to February

History of Queen’s Bath, Hampi

According to popular belief, the Queen’s Bath was built by Achyuta Raya for the royal women of the Vijayanagara Empire. However, many historians suggest that it was most likely used as a private bathing chamber by the king and his queens instead. Some even speculate that it was a part of a larger royal pleasure complex, given its location outside the Royal Enclosure.

Present Condition of Queen’s Bath, Hampi

The Queen’s Bath is presently an unoccupied edifice that has deteriorated with time, with its walls losing their luster and its grandeur fading away. The bath’s floor features a few vacant sockets, which used to hold pillars that supported a canopy that was ruined in the past during the Mughal invasions of Hampi.

According to the belief, the canopy over the bath was made of wood and was destroyed by fire during the Mughal attacks on Hampi. Despite the canopy not being restored, a small garden has been created in front of the building, which is now used as a picnic spot by visitors.

How to reach Queen’s Bath

Hampi is a well known tourist destination and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are many ways to reach Hampi from various towns and cities of Karnataka and beyond. The location of Queen’s Bath is very easy to find out as it is near the Royal Enclosure, one of the most famous ruin sites in Hampi.

By Air

Hampi is an ancient village without an airport of its own. Ballari (Bellary) is the nearest town to have an airport. Ballary is situated at a distance of around 64 km from Hampi. Visitors who wish to take the air route can fly to Ballari and then reach Hampi by means of local transport.

By Rail

Hampi is a town that is devoid of a railway station. The nearest railway station can be found in the city of Hosapete (Hospet). It has the Hospet Junction Railway Station. Hosapete stands at a distance of around 10 km from Hampi. A very easy way to reach Hampi from Hosapete is to travel through a bus. Apart from the bus, there are other means of local transport to reach Hampi from Hosapete.

By Road

Hampi has a road network that spreads out to a number of towns and cities of Karnataka. There are a lot of buses that travel between Hampi and several other towns and cities in Karnataka. Private cars, cabs or other vehicles are also available for hire from big cities like Bangalore or Mysore to reach Hampi.

4. Archaeological Museum Hampi

The Kamalapura Archaeological Museum is a significant museum dedicated to the ruins of Hampi and the Vijayanagara Empire. It is located in the small town of Kamalapura, which lies within the ruins of the old city of Vijayanagara, just outside the “Royal Centre” of the empire. The museum is relatively small, but it houses a valuable collection of relics and artifacts related to the Vijayanagara Empire and its ruins. It was established in 1972 and is currently maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. The museum beautifully portrays the grandeur and beauty of the Hampi of the past.

Bust of krishnadevaraya’s queen at Archaeological Museum, Kamalapur, Hampi.

Quick Facts

  • Timing: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on all days of the week except Fridays and national holidays
  • Entry Fee for Adults: 5.00 per person
  • Entry Fee for Children: Entry is free for children under 15 years of age
  • Still Photography: Not allowed inside the museum
  • Video Camera: Strictly prohibited
  • Visit Duration: About 2 to 3 hours
  • Parking Fee: Parking is free
  • Best time to visit: Throughout the year

History of the Archaeological Museum Hampi, Kamalapura

The establishment of the Archaeological Museum at Kamalapura was a result of the efforts by the Archaeological Survey of India to conserve the ruins of Hampi. Prior to this, some British officers had already done preservation work by collecting sculptures, statues, relics, and artefacts from Hampi and nearby locations and storing them at the elephant stables.

When the modern building of the Archaeological Museum was constructed by the Archaeological Survey of India, all the preserved items were transferred from the elephant stables to the new museum.

How to reach the Archaeological Museum, Kamalapura, Hampi

Hampi is a popular tourist destination. It is well-connected by several means of transport. The Archaeological Museum at Kamalapura is situated in an area that can be easily reached from any part of Hampi.

By Air

The nearest town to have an airport is Ballari (Bellary). Ballary stands at a distance of about 64 km from Hampi. Visitors who wish to travel by air can take a flight to Ballari and then avail local means of transport to reach Hampi.

By Rail

The town of Hampi has no railway station of its own. The nearest place to have a railway station is the city of Hosapete (Hospet) where the Hospet Junction Railway Station is located. Hosapete is at a distance of around 10 km from Hampi. To reach Hampi from Hosapete one can opt for a bus ride or avail other means of local transport.

By Road

Hampi is a place with a well-connected road network. There are a number of buses that ply between Hampi and many of major towns and cities in Karnataka. Apart from the buses, visitors can also hire private cars, cabs or other vehicles from major cities like Bengaluru (Bangalore) or Mysuru (Mysore) to reach Hampi.

5. Matanga Hill Hampi

Mantaga Hill is a popular tourist destination in Hampi and is considered to be the highest point in the area, providing visitors with a stunning aerial view of the surrounding landscape. Walking around the foothill in a clockwise direction leads to the bus stand, while the Hampi Bazaar is situated to the north. The Koodanda Rama Temple is located on the northern side of the hill, by the banks of the Tungabhadra river, and the Achyuta Raya Temple borders the eastern side. The Turthu Canal runs along the southern side, with the peak of the hill located at its southern end. The northern part of the hill is ideal for trekking enthusiasts, as it offers a route that connects the Hampi Bazaar to the Achyuta Raya Temple on the other side of the hill.

Paths of Matanga Hill

To reach the Veerabhadra Temple on the hilltop of Matanga Hill, there are several paths available. The climb usually takes around 30 minutes, and the temple rooftop is a great place to watch the sunrise and sunset.

One notable feature of the hill is the stepped ramp on the west side, which has remained intact despite the decline of the Vijayanagar Empire. Many trails lead to the base of the hill, including a popular one that ends at the Kadale Kalu Ganesha temple in the east.

Another trail heads east from Hampi Bazaar street and leads to a row of pavilions before becoming a narrow path that follows the edge of the hill, passing some rock clusters and shrines along the way to the Veerabhadra Temple.

A less frequently used path runs parallel to the Turthu Canal in the south of the hill, with a pavilion near the north serving as a landmark. This trail goes through thick plantations and leads to the foothills, from where visitors can find their way to the hilltop.

History of Matanga Hill

Matanga Hill is an important location in indu mythology, Ramayana. The place was a heritage of Sage Mathanga. It is said the Monkey prince Valli killed a demon called Dundhuvi which was a buffaloand thrown the corps on to the sacred Matanga Hill, angry by this act of rage, Matanga threw a curse on Vali that he could never take a step on the soil of this hill. Few years later, Mayavi, the son of Dundhuvi, challanged Vali, who was responsible for his father’s death. Their battle grew intense leading Vali to chase Mayavi into a cave. Vali’s brother Sugreeva took charge of the cave’s entrance. After someime, thingking that Vali is killed, Sugreeva closed down the gates. Furious by this act, Vali later emerged from the cave and trying to kill Sugreeva for this betrayal. On arrival of Lord Rama, Vali was killed and Sugreeva was crowned as the king of monkeys.

Tourists View

Matanga Hills is great place for the photography enthusiasts. On any given time of the day, you can find people with high end cameras in their hands clicking the aerial view. The sunset and sunrise are the perfect time to capture this scenic beauty.

6. Virupaksha Temple

The temple town of Hampi in South India is home to the Virupaksha Temple, which is devoted to Lord Shiva. This temple, built with the help of Commander Lakkana Dandesha under the reign of King Deva Raya II, is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The distance from Bangalore to Hampi is approximately 350 kilometers.

Hampi is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River and the main pilgrimage center in the town is the revered Virupaksha Temple, which is considered the most sacred and sanctified site. The temple has stood the test of time and remains unblemished despite the ruins surrounding it. In December, the temple draws in large crowds, and the annual chariot festival takes place in February.

History of Virupaksha Temple

The history of the Virupaksha Temple dates back to the 7th century, and the Virupaksha-Pampa sanctuary has been present in the area for a long time. Inscriptions about Lord Shiva were engraved in the temple during the 9th century. Initially, the temple was a small shrine, but it was later expanded into a vast complex during the Vijayanagara era. Evidence suggests that the temple was further developed during the Hoysala and Chalukyan reigns. The 14th century was a time of prosperity for the local art, craft, and culture, but unfortunately, these magnificent creations were destroyed during the invasion by Muslim intruders, which also led to the downfall of the Vijayanagara empire.

Despite the destruction of Hampi in 1565, the religious community of Pampa and Virupaksha continued to worship at the temple, which has survived to this day. In the early 19th century, the temple underwent significant renovations, including the addition of towers and ceiling paintings.

Virupaksha Temple Architecture

The temple has a shrine or the holy place of worship, a hall with a number of pillars and 3 antechambers. There are courtyards, a pillared monastery, few small shrines; and entrance ways surrounding the temple.

Among all the gateways, the eastern gateway is the greatest. It is nine-tiered and 50 meters in length. It is well built and has some previous structures. The framework is of brick and includes a gravel base giving way to the court outside. This court contains various sub-sanctums. The inner eastern gopuram is graced with three storeys while the northern gopuram has five storeys.

A renowned Vijayanagara King, Krishnadevaraya was a contributor of the temple. It is believed that the main pillared hall which is the most adorned structure of this temple is his addition. There is a stone slab beside the hall which has inscriptions that explain his offerings for the temple.

Surrounding the Virupaksha temple are plenty of dilapidated mandapams. There was an ancient shopping centre interlined with mandapams in front of this temple. The ruins of it stand today.

How to Reach Virupaksha Temple

By Air

The closest international airport from Hampi is Bellary, 350 kms away. Tourists can take a cab from Bellary to Hampi

By Rail

The nearest railway station is Hospet at about 13 km away. Hospet is amply connected to the major cities like Bellary and Bangalore. Tourists usually hire a cab from Hospet to reach Hampi. The distance from Bangalore to Hampi is a distance of 288km.

By Road

Tourists can go to Hampi by bus from places like Bellary, Hospet, and Bangalore. Volvo and AC buses are available for the passengers. Travelers can avail cabs as well.

7. Hippie Island

Hampi is split into two sides, one is the heritage side (monuments and temples) and other is Virupapur village side, popularly known as hippie island Hampi due to its chilled-out vibes.

The backpacker’s delight, Hippie Island, is an epitome of scenic beauty and is known for laidback ambient and lodges. Away from the luxuries of life, in little huts, savouring the flavours of both Indian and Western cuisine, and laying on the banks of the river, you will build a strong attachment to the location. If you have explored the heritage side of Hampi, you should never miss out on exploring the other side as well. Here, you will get every tidbits of Hippie Island.

Hippie island is located across the Tungabhadra River. The best route you can choose to reach this island is to cross the river. The ideal mode of transportation is to take a boat near the Virupaksha temple in Hampi location. Just within a 5-minute ride, you can reach the island.

Best time to visit Hippie Island

The best time to visit Hippie Island Hampi is from late October to early February. During the rainy season (i.e., July to September), Hampi gets inconsistent rainfall and will be humid. If you prefer exploring in the rain and want to see ‘Greener Island’, July to September is also a fantastic time to visit. In the event of heavy rain, boat transportation to Hippie Island from the ruined side may be unavailable; check before going. During the rest of the year, the temperature in Hampi will be at its peak and may not be comfortable for you.

How to Reach Hippie Island

By Train – Hampi does not have a railway station. The nearest Railway station is Hospet, which is around 12 km from Hampi. There are direct trains from Mysore and Bangalore for Hospet. For Hospet to Hampi, you can take either a tuk-tuk or local bus. The buses run from 6:00 AM till 10:30 in the night.

By Flight – Hampi does not have an airport. The nearest airport is Hubli which is around 150 km away from Hampi. You will need to hire a taxi from Hubli airport to reach Hampi.

By Bus – There are direct buses for Hampi/ Hospet from Mysore, Goa, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Gokarna.

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