Ever wondered how ruins can be entirety? If you are someone who loves exploring historical sites, then this blog is a bliss for you. The place we are talking about in this blog is a must-visit for everyone. We are talking about the magnificent city of ruins- Hampi.
Most of you must have heard this name in your history textbooks or archeological references. Located in central Karnataka, Hampi is a UNESCO world heritage site. As it is not very far from Bangalore, Hampi is one of the most favorite weekend destinations from Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Goa as well. It is for sure, a highlight in my journey through southern expanses of India.
The Rich History Of Hampi
As most of us would know, Hampi was the capital of Vijaynagara, the largest empire in the 14th century. It was founded by two local princes Hakka and Bukka of the Vijaynagara empire. And it was known for its riches across the globe. The magnificent ruins reveal a fortified city of the past build with the interlocking of walls.
Needless to say, the ruins spread across forty-one square kilometers near river Tungabhadra, are sure to give us a glimpse of the grandeur of the empire. Nestled in the lap of the hillocks of Deccan plateau, the splendid remains of themselves speak stories of victory, wealth, and creativity of men in that era. With only a population not more than a few thousand people, the place feels ecstatic. Nature has kept the beautiful Hampi, safe in her lap, concealed from the outside world. No wonder, one can experience serenity and divinity, just the way you feel in your mother’s lap.
The Highlights Of Hampi
The Archeological Survey of India has been operational in Hampi for a long time now to excavate interesting ancient anecdotes from the era bygone. Although they are ruins, yet these ruins exhibit entirety in many ways. Summoning the remains from the last great Hindu kingdom, Hampi is home to several forts, temples, and historical structures.
As you start your exploration, you will come across these elegant sites-
The Vittala Temple represents the highest achievement of the Vijaynagara empire. With animal images intricately carved on all the walls, the entire structure gives a sense of strength and pride. It is fascinating to see a structure so strong and delicate all at the same time.
Located at the center of Hampi, the Virupaksha Temple is one of the few structures that stands intact. Its entirety is its essence. The temple, adorned with paintings and ornaments, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. On special occasions, the residents decorate the central shrine and perform elaborate rituals. If you happen to visit Hampi during Dushhera, there is no way you can miss the special celebration.
Hampi a treasure box of temples. Krishna temple is another gem. As the name suggests, the temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. It was built to celebrate the conquest of Udyagiri (present-day Orissa). The entire story of the triumph is depicted on a slab installed inside the temple and is no less than a powerful motivation!
Hampi’s ancient bazaar
Located at the bank of Thugabhadra opposite the Krishna temple were the skeletal remains of Hampi’s ancient bazaar. One can imagine the bustle this market once has seen. During its heyday around the 15th century, the place was the attraction for global commercial activities. It is a pleasure to walk past the beautifully crafted series of pavilions. The entire design is breathtaking and elegant.
Being the capital of the most celebrated empire, Hampi is home to the king’s favorite spots. The royal enclosure incorporates the region where the kings of the time lived and held courts. Surrounding the royal expanse is the beautiful Lotus Mahal, delicate and illustrative, revealing geometric regularity in its structure. Its unique design owes to a perfect blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture.
Some of the beautiful sites of the royal enclosure include :
The era reminds us not only of how wealthy the people were back then but also of how culturally rich the region was. Mahanavami, known as Navratri, was one of the most important festivals celebrated in Hampi. The Mahanavami platform is the place where celebrations occurred. The huge stone stage made in three layers with explicit carvings of animals, dancers, hunters, and scripture says it all. Also known as the House of Victory, this was the place where the royal family witnessed the Dushhera celebration.
Stepped Tank of Hampi
People in the 14th century were very creative and smart. We can say this by the kind of architecture we see from that era. This beautiful seven feet deep tank enclosed with a steep, symmetric step-like pattern is located in the royal enclosure. The fascinating design attracts the attention of many visitors and tourists.
Hazara Ram Temple
The temple is a comparatively small one, that functions as a private temple for the royal family in the era bygone. It has depictions of Ramayana inscribed on its structure and holds a great historical significance for the Hindus.
DO VISIT HAMPI!
There’s a lot more to explore. Hampi is not just about monuments, it is the feeling you get which makes it such a special place. The art, regardless of what form it is, leaves you in awe. As you climb up the Anjaneya Hill, every step of it reminds you of the glorious past. Once you decide to visit Hampi, every bit of this place will gauge your curiosity and proliferate it.
The city of victories stays true to its name even today as it continues to win the hearts of visitors!
Until the next time, stay tuned and keep exploring!
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