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Virupaksha Temple, Hampi, Karnataka
Virupaksha Temple, Hampi, Karnataka
Hampi is located in Karnataka
Coordinates: 15°20′06″N 76°27′43″E / 15.335°N 76.462°E / 15.335; 76.462Coordinates: 15°20′06″N 76°27′43″E / 15.335°N 76.462°E / 15.335; 76.462
Country India
State Karnataka
District Bellary
Founded by Harihara and Bukkaraya
Elevation 467 m (1,532 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 2,777[1]
 • Official Kannada
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Nearest city Hospet
Website www.hampi.in
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Group of Monuments at Hampi
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Type Cultural
Criteria (i)(iii)(iv)
Reference 241
UNESCO region Asia-Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription 1986 (10th Session)
Endangered 1999–2006

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.[2] According to statistics of 2014, Hampi is the most searched historical place in Karnataka on Google.[3] 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.[4]


Hampi — traditionally known as Pampa-kshetra, Kishkindha-kshetra or Bhaskara-kshetra — is derived from Pampa, which is the old name of the Tungabhadra River (also Pampa was Lord Bhrumah's daughter, who was later married to Lord Shiva) on whose southern banks the city is built.[5] The name "Hampi" is an anglicized version of the Kannada Hampe (derived from Pampa). Over the years, it has also been referred to as Vijayanagara and Virupakshapura (from Virupaksha, the patron deity of the Vijayanagara rulers).


Hampi Map, 1911

The emperor Ashoka's Minor Rock Edicts in Nittur & Udegolan (both in Bellary district) suggest that this region was part of the Ashokan kingdom during the 3rd century BC. A Brahmi inscription and a terracotta seal dating to the 2nd century CE were also recovered from the excavation site.[6]

The first settlements in Hampi date from 1 CE.[7]

Immediately before the rise of the Vijayanagara kings, the region was probably in the hands of chiefs of Kampili, now a small town, 19 km east of Hampi.[6]

Hampi was one of the best areas of the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire from 1343 to 1565, when it was besieged by the Deccan Muslim confederacy.[2] Hampi was chosen because of its strategic location, bounded by the torrential Tungabhadra river on one side and surrounded by defensible hills on the other three sides.

The ruins of Hampi were discovered by Colonel Colin Mackenzie in 1800.

The site is significant historically and architecturally. The landscape abounds with large stones which have been used to make statues of Jaina deities. The Archaeological Survey of India continues to conduct excavations in the area to search for additional artifacts and temples.[8]

The Islamic Quarter, sometimes called the Moorish Quarter, is located between the northern slope of the Malyavanta hill and the Talarigatta Gate. According to archaeologists, high-ranking Muslim officers of the king's court and military officers lived in this area.[9]


Hampi is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra river. It is 353 km from Bangalore and 74 km away from Bellary. Hosapete (Hospet), 13 km away, is the nearest railway head. Mantralayam, which is also on the banks of Tunghabhadra, in AP is some 150 km away.The principal industries of the village are agriculture, the support of the Virupaksha temple and some other local holy places in the vicinity, as well as tourism. The annual Hampi Utsav or "Vijaya Festival" celebrated since Vijayanagara reign. It is organized by the Government of Karnataka as Nada Festival.[10]

Due to the presence of several mineral deposits in this region (iron-ore, manganese), mining has been done for a number of years. A recent boom for the supply of iron-ore in the international market has led to increased levels of mining in this district. Some feel that the World Heritage Site at Hampi as well as the Tungabhadra Dam is under threat as a result.


The city of Vijayanagara was originally encompassed by seven lines of fortifications. These fortifications had a large number of bastions and gateways. The seventh & the innermost fortification enclosed the main city and is the best preserved. The extant monuments of Vijayanagara or Hampi can be divided into Religious, Civil & Military buildings The Jain temples on Hemakuta hill, the two Devi shrines & some other structures in the Virupaksha temple complex predate the Vijayanagara Empire. The earliest amongst them, the Shiva shrines with their stepped pyramidalvimanas or superstructures, date to the early Chalukyan period around ninth-tenth century AD.

Religious buildings[edit]

Hampi has various notable Hindu temples with some vedanta mythology inside the temples, some of which are still active places of worship. Among the most notable are:

  • Achyutaraya Temple
  • BadaviLinga :This is the largest Linga image in Hampi. Located next to the Lakshmi Narasimha statue the Linga is housed inside a chamber with an opening in the front. A close look on this icon can reveal three eyes (depicting the three eyes of Shiva) carved on it. Legend has it that this was commissioned by a peasant woman and hence the name (Badva means poor in local tongue).The sanctum in which the Linga is installed is always filled with water as a water channel is made to flow through it.According to Hindu mythology the River Ganga (Ganges) was brought from heaven to earth to quench the drought. But the river was so forceful that it could split the earth into two pieces if allowed to fall on earth. Lord Shiva consented to take the impact by allowing the torrent of Ganga to fall on his matted hair. Thus helping to release a smooth flowing river on to earth from his hair. As an iconic representation of this, in Siva temples you can spot a dripping pot hanged over the Linga.
  • Chandramauleshwara Temple.
  • Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy temple was constructed in the ancient style of architecture, the temple of Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy stands 3 km down the road. Its inner walls flaunt peculiar and interesting motifs of fish and marine creatures.[11]
  • 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.[12]
The sacred pushkarani or tank located on the eastern side of Krishna temple in Hampi, India
  • Hemakuta group of temples
  • Krishna Temple Complex: This temple complex has been recently excavated through the last decade, and restoration work is still in progress. The temple has the Sacred Tank or the Pushkarani located on its eastern side.
The mantapas of Vittala temple
The stone chariot at Vittala complex
  • Vittala Temple Complex:This is perhaps the most famous and well-known among the ruins of Hampi. The iconic stone chariot in the vicinity of this temple complex is a symbol of Karnataka Tourism. Of late, floodlights have been installed in the temple complex that provide illumination at dusk, thereby adding to the grandeur of the architecture.

The temple houses the famous musical pillars. The British wanted to check the reason behind this wonder and so they had cut two pillars to check if anything was there inside the pillars that was producing the sound. They had found nothing but hollow pillars. Even today we can see those pillars cut by the British.

The road leading to the temple was once a market where the horses were traded. Even today we can see the ruins of the market on both the sides of the road. The temple contains the images of foreigners like Persians selling horses.

  • Muslim Sunni masjid
  • Preksha temple and groups
  • Saasivekaalu Ganesha
  • Virupaksha Temple known as the Pampavathi temple, it is an ancient temple situated in the Hampi Bazaar. It predates the founding of the Vijayanagara empire. The temple has a 160-foot (49 m) high tower at its entrance. Apart from Shiva, the temple complex also contains shrines of the erotica statues Bhuvaneshwari and Pampa.
  • Underground Shiva Temple
  • Yantrodharaka Anjaneya temple

Civil buildings[edit]

  • Aqueducts and Canals
    The remains of a giant Bukka's Aqueduct located near Anegondi
  • Archaeological Museum at Kamalapura
  • Lotus Mahal
    Lotus Mahal at the Zenana Enclosure
  • Zanana enclosure

Military buildings[edit]

  • Elephant stables: used to house the eleven royal elephants in King Krishnadeva Raya's army. The neighbouring building housed the elephant riders of the royal elephants.
  • The Kings’ balance
Elephant Stable

Important sites at and near Hampi[edit]

Schematic map of Hampi with major tourist spots and areas of mythological significance

Global Heritage Fund efforts[edit]

Non-profit organization Global Heritage Fund (GHF), in partnership with the Hampi Foundation, Cornell University, and the State of Karnataka, has been actively involved in the conservation of Hampi's unique cultural heritage. After producing a master conservation plan for the site of Chandramouleshwara Temple, GHF's efforts have moved to "stabilization of the temple and its associated structural features."[13]


Hampi Scenery, 360° Panorama Shot from Matanga Hill

Hampi Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hampi Village Population - Hospet - Bellary, Karnataka". Census2011.co.in. Retrieved 2015-08-11. 
  2. ^ a b "Group of Monuments at Hampi". World Heritage. Retrieved 2006-12-20. 
  3. ^ "Hampi most searched historical place in Karnataka on Google". economictimes.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  4. ^ "From the ruins of Hampi to the uninhabited Ross Islands: 11 abandoned places in India that were once heavily populated settlements". IBNLive. 2014-09-03. Retrieved 2015-08-11. 
  5. ^ D Devakunjari. World Heritage Series: HAMPI. Eicher Goodearth Limited, New Delhi for Archaeological Survey of India. p. 08. ISBN 81-87780-42-8. 
  6. ^ a b D Devakunjari (2007). World Heritage Series HAMPI. Eicher Goodearth Limited, New Delhi for Archaeological Survey of India. p. 11. ISBN 8187780428. 
  7. ^ "Less Known Facts about Hampi | Sightseeing | Hampi". Karnataka.com. 2015-01-09. Retrieved 2015-08-11. 
  8. ^ "Group of Monuments at Hampi, Karnataka - Archaeological Survey of India". Asi.nic.in. Retrieved 2015-08-11. 
  9. ^ Zones of Hampi
  10. ^ "Hampi Utsav | Hampi Festival | Vurupaksha Temple". Karnataka.com. 2015-01-09. Retrieved 2015-08-11. 
  11. ^ "Shimla, Himachal Pradesh – Expert Bulletin". Expertbulletin.com. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  12. ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam, ed. India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 178. 
  13. ^ Global Heritage Fund - Where We Work - Hampi, India Accessed on 2009-04-24.

9. http://www.incrediblehampi.org/


  • S.Srinivasachar, T.S.Satyan, 'Hampi : The fabled capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, (Directorate of Archaeology and Museums), Govt. of Karnataka, 1995
  • J.M. Fritz et al., New Light on Hampi: Recent Research at Vijayanagara, (Performing Arts Mumbai, 2001) ISBN 81-85026-53-X
  • A.N. Longhurst, Hampi Ruins Described and Illustrated, (Laurier Books Ltd., 1998) ISBN 81-206-0159-9
  • The Ruins of Hampi:Travel Guide ISBN 81-7525-766-0
  • Karnataka State Gazetteer 1983.

External links[edit]