While everything in Hampi is definitely worth a visit at least once in your life, we understand that at times you might have planned a short trip. So, here is a list of 9 sites that will give you insights into the art & architecture of the Vijayanagara Empire. Know more and ensure you visit these, even if you are on just a weekend trip.
The Vittala Temple despite its state of ruin represents the highest achievement of art of the Vijayanagara Empire. It is an extravagantly made complex which is the centre of all the ruins in Hampi. The temple stands on rectangular courtyard and the columns are intricately carved with animals and fantastic beings. The highlights of this structure are the stone walls and the chariot. Another interesting fact is that the pillars in the outer columns are called musical pillars, because they really make music when tapped.
Lotus Mahal is a two storeyed pavilion on a stepped plan was said to be inspired by the beauty of a woman. This Mahal is one of the few secular or non religious structures in Hampi. It is speculated to be a meeting place for women of the royal family.
Lord Virupaksha temple is dedicated to Virupaksha, an aspect of Lord Shiva and the guardian deity of the Vijayanagara Kings. The exquisitely carved 50m high gateway at the entrance is believed to be from an earlier period and was renovated in 1510, by Krishnadevaraya. Within the temple courtyard are many small shrines and pillared halls. The ornately carved hall outside the central shrine has paintings on its ceiling depicting mythological scenes.
Mahanavami Dibba is a huge square stone stage made in three layers. This was built by Sri Krishnadevaraya after his victorious expedition to Orissa. The walls of the structure have beautiful carvings of dancers, animals, hunting scenes and pictures of some historical scriptures on it. The king apparently witnessed the colourful celebrations of nine days of Dussera from here.
Shiva Temple famously known as underground temple was built many meters below the ground level with proper water canal systems. Archeologists believe that this temple was constructed in 14th century A.D. and is considered to be one of the oldest temples of Hampi.
Krishna Temple was built by Krishnadevaraya in 1513 A.D. to celebrate the conquest of Udayagiri or Utkala which is in present day Orissa. The main idol of the temple is right now in the museum of Chennai which depicts the image of childhood Krishna or “Bala Krishna”. The heavy huge slab installed inside the courtyard of temple states the story and the events of the conquest of Udayagiri.
Marketplace of Hampi is located on the bank of Thungabhadra river, opposite Krishna temple. The ruins of pavilions which was once a business center of many traders including the diamond merchants can be seen. The series of pavilions give a brilliant idea of how perfectly these were architected. All the pillars measure entirely the same and it is a pleasure to just walk past these and look through them.
The Stepped Tank of Hampi was built in 15th Century. It lies within the royal enclosure of Hampi and its design is very ornate and proportionate in terms of design. Black chlorite chist is used to build this tank and it measures 22 sq meters and 7 metres in depth. It consists of five distinct tiers fitted in symmetrical way to form steps in an enchanting way.
Hazara Rama Temple is not a huge temple by Hampi’s average yard stick measurement. However, this temple represents certain peculiarities. This temple functioned as a private temple for the king and the royal family. The local story of Ramayana is inscribed on the walls of this temple. This is the only temple in Hampi whose walls are decorated with bass relief. The temple got its name Hazara Rama (thousand Rama) owing to the magnitude of depiction of the Ramayana.
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