Hampi (Hampe) is a village in northern Karnataka, India. It was one of the richest and largest cities in the world during its prime. The name Hampi can also mean “champion”. It is located within the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Predating the city of Vijayanagara, Hampi continues to be an important religious centre, housing the Virupaksha Temple and several other monuments belonging to the old city. The ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi.
According to statistics of 2014, Hampi is the most searched historical place in Karnataka on Google. The empire boasted a massive army comprising close to a million men. In around 1500 AD Vijaynagar had about 500,000 inhabitants (supporting 0.1% of the global population during 1440-1540), making it the second largest city in the world after Peking-Beijing and almost thrice the size of Paris.
Hampi is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India located near Hospet town in the Karnataka state .
Hampi is charismatic even in its ruined state, attracting thousands of visitors every year. Vast stretches of boulder-strewn hills make the backdrop of Hampi unique. Dotted around the hills and valleys are 500 plus monuments.
Among them are beautiful temples, ruins of palaces, remains of aquatic structures, ancient market streets, royal pavilions, bastions, royal platforms, treasury buildings… the list is practically endless. Hampi is a backpacker’s paradise, the same way a pilgrim’s delight.
In Hampi at every turn there is a surprise. Every monument hides more than what they reveal.
The Karnataka State Government has proposed a tie-up between the iconic ruins of Hampi in India and Machu Picchu in Peru in South America. As per the proposed plan, these two historic sites may soon become sister heritage sites.
Dasara Dibba or Mahanavami Dibba, Hampi
The Dasara Dibba is one of the most impressive structures in Hampi. It is a beautiful stone platform that is located within the Royal Enclosure of Hampi.
It was built during the period of the Vijayanagara Empire in the typical Vijayanagara style of architecture.
It is also known as the Mahanavami Dibba. The imposing platform attracts a large number of tourists throughout the year.
The Dasara Dibba was constructed by King Krishnadevaraya to commemorate his victory over Udaygiri (situated in present-day Orissa). It is believed that the original structure of the Dasara Dibba has undergone some changes under the successive rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire.
Zenana Enclosure, Hampi – Private Place for Royal Ladies
The Zenana Enclosure was a fortified and secluded area reserved for the royal ladies of the Vijayanagara Empire. The Zenana Enclosure is located in the area approaching the Royal Enclosure and near the Ranga Temple.
The enclosure is a sprawling compound that had tall walls surrounding it on all sides and watch towers to keep guard against any trespassers. It was constructed during the days of the Vijayanagara Empire.
The highlight of the Zenana Enclosure is the Lotus Mahal or Kamal Mahal, one of the most remarkable structures in Hampi.
The main attraction of the Zenana Enclosure is the Lotus Mahal. It is located in the south-eastern corner of the enclosure. It is one of the most famous structures in Hampi and one of the very few structures that have been left undamaged by the Mughal attackers. It is a beautiful domed structure has been designed in the shape of a lotus bud.
The archways of the structure resemble petals of a lotus and provide the whole structure the shape of a half-open lotus bud. The Lotus Mahal is a two storied symmetric structure that has tall arched windows.
Stone Trough, Hampi – Remnant of the Ancient Times
The Stone Trough in Hampi is an ancient water trough that was used to provide drinking water to the horses during the days of the Vijayanagara Empire. It is located just outside the King’s Audience Hall whose remnants exist within the Royal Enclosure in Hampi.
Stone Doors, Hampi
The Stone Doors in Hampi are an impressive pair of monolith doors that were once part of one of the entrances of the Royal Enclosure in Hampi.
Hazara Rama Temple Complex: This ruined temple complex is well known for elaborate frescoes from the Hindu religion and a sprawling courtyard well-laid with gardens. It is well known for more than many thousand carvings & inscriptions on & in the temple depicting the mighty story of Ramayana. It has about 1000 carvings & inscriptions depicting the story of Ramayana.
Elephant Stable is a major tourist attraction. This long building with a row of domed chambers was used to ‘park’ the royal elephants. There are 11 domed tall chambers; some of them are inter- connected. The center one is specially decorated and big.
Queen’s Bath, Hampi
The Queen’s Bath in Hampi is a colossal bath that exemplifies the architectural excellence prevalent during the days of the Vijayanagara Empire. It is located close to the entrance of the Royal Enclosure in Hampi.
Constructed during the reign of the Vijayanagara Empire, the Queen’s Bath impresses visitors even today, more than 500 years after it was built.