The temple town of Hampi is a living example of India's glorious history, architectural genius, and scenic beauty. Don't miss out on a trip to this ancient city as there's nothing even remotely like it in the world.
Once a flourishing town, today the ruins of Hampi are a fitting example of India's rich, vibrant, and glorious past. The vast expanse of land is 221 miles from Bangalore, and 196 miles from Goa. It's an iconic travel destination in India that attracts millions of tourists every year. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was founded by two local princes, Harihara and Bukkaraya, in the middle of 14th century. Hampi was the capital city during the four different dynasties that ruled the Vijayanagar Empire. The empire reached its zenith under King Krishnadeva Raya of the Tuluva Dynasty, and so did the magnificient town of Hampi.
The statue inside the Sasivekalu Ganesha temple (pictured) is of the Hindu god Ganesha. If you zoom into the picture, you'll see the belly of Ganesha encircled by a snake. It's said that once Ganesha ate so much food that his belly was about to burst. To stop that from happening, he tied a snake around his belly. The statue of Ganesha is about 8 feet (2.5 meters) tall, and was carved out of a single block of rock. It was created as long ago as 1500 AD, and is one of the major landmarks in Hampi. This temple and the statue are indeed some of the finest specimens of Indian sculpture in the world.
The Vijaya Vittala Temple is a striking example of Dravidian-style architecture. The temple complex is to the god Vittala, who's a form of the god Vishnu. It was built in the 15th century AD, and was expanded under different kings of different eras. There are many beautiful halls, pavilions, gateways, and pillars showcasing the knowledge, understanding and creativity of Indian sculptors and artisans of that time.
The elaborate carvings, fine designs, rythmic pillars, and unique stone chariot temple, are sure to impress you, whether you're a believer or not.
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The Musical Pillars of the Ranga Mantapa
The 56 fascinating musical pillars can be found in the Ranga Mantapa. Each of these pillars represents a musical instrument which when struck gives out the musical notes from the instrument they embody. Every main pillar is surrounded by seven smaller pillars, and these smaller ones emit different musical notes with varying sound quality.
This striking feature was a point of concern for the British. They found it suspicious, and cut open two pillars to understand the source of its sound. They found nothing inside, but the cut they made can still be seen.
The Ranga Mantapa is also the proud host of the famous annual festival of Purandaradasa.
Lose yourself in history
For archeologists, architects, and history enthusiasts, this place is no less than heaven. It's an open museum encapsulating India's rich past. Spread across an area of more than ten square miles, surrounded by temples, palaces, markets, and varied structures and sculptures, Hampi provides a glimpse into the prosperous reign of the Vijaynagar Empire. With every step and every day spent here, there's something to learn or discover either about the place or yourself.
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Pushkarani literally translates to a temple tank, and you can find one near the Mahanavami Dibba in the Royal Center of Hampi. Stepwells can be found all over India, and the one in Hampi is geometrically shaped without any carvings. The one that you see today has been reassembled by Indian archeologists. After finding its pieces, they restored the Pushkarani by putting it back together.