Group of Monuments at Hampi

Karnataka, Bellary District
N15 18 51.984 E76 28 18.012
Date of Inscription: 1986
Minor boundary modification inscribed year: 2012
Criteria: (i)(iii)(iv)
Property : 4,187.24 ha
Buffer zone: 19,453.62 ha
Ref: 241bis

The austere and grandiose site of Hampi comprise mainly the remnants of the Capital City of Vijayanagara Empire (14th-16th Cent CE), the last great Hindu Kingdom. The property encompasses an area of 4187, 24 hectares, located in the Tungabhadra basin in Central Karnataka, Bellary District.

Hampi’s spectacular setting is dominated by river Tungabhadra, craggy hill ranges and open plains, with widespread physical remains. The sophistication of the varied urban, royal and sacred systems is evident from the more than 1600 surviving remains that include forts, riverside features, royal and sacred complexes, temples, shrines, pillared halls, Mandapas, memorial structures, gateways, defence check posts, stables, water structures, etc.

Among these, the Krishna temple complex, Narasimha, Ganesa, Hemakuta group of temples, Achyutaraya temple complex, Vitthala temple complex, Pattabhirama temple complex, Lotus Mahal complex, can be highlighted. Suburban townships (puras) surrounded the large Dravidian temple complexes containing subsidiary shrines, bazaars, residential areas and tanks applying the unique hydraulic technologies and skilfully and harmoniously integrating the town and defence architecture with surrounding landscape. The remains unearthed in the site delineate both the extent of the economic prosperity and political status that once existed indicating a highly developed society.

Dravidian architecture flourished under the Vijayanagara Empire and its ultimate form is characterised by their massive dimensions, cloistered enclosures, and lofty towers over the entrances encased by decorated pillars.

The Vitthla temple is the most exquisitely ornate structure on the site and represents the culmination of Vijayanagara temple architecture. It is a fully developed temple with associated buildings like Kalyana Mandapa and Utsava Mandapa within a cloistered enclosure pierced with three entrance Gopurams. In addition to the typical spaces present in contemporary temples, it boasts of a Garuda shrine fashioned as a granite ratha and a grand bazaar street. This complex also has a large Pushkarani (stepped tank) with a Vasantotsava mandapa (ceremonial pavilion at the centre), wells and a network of water channels.

Another unique feature of temples at Hampi is the wide Chariot streets flanked by the rows of Pillared Mandapas, introduced when chariot festivals became an integral part of the rituals. The stone chariot in front of the temple is also testimony to its religious ritual. Most of the structures at Hampi are constructed from local granite, burnt bricks and lime mortar. The stone masonry and lantern roofed post and lintel system were the most favoured construction technique. The massive fortification walls have irregular cut size stones with paper joints by filling the core with rubble masonry without any binding material. The gopuras over the entrances and the sanctum proper have been constructed with stone and brick. The roofs have been laid with the heavy thick granite slabs covered with a water proof course of brick jelly and lime mortar.

Vijayanagara architecture is also known for its adoption of elements of Indo Islamic Architecture in secular buildings like the Queen’s Bath and the Elephant Stables, representing a highly evolved multi-religious and multi-ethnic society.Building activity in Hampi continued over a period of 200 years reflecting the evolution in the religious and political scenario as well as the advancements in art and architecture. The city rose to metropolitan proportions and is immortalized in the words of many foreign travellers as one of the most beautiful cities. The Battle of Talikota (1565 CE) led to a massive destruction of its physical fabric.

Dravidian architecture survives in the rest of Southern India spread through the patronage of the Vijayanagara rulers. The Raya Gopura, introduced first in the temples attributed to Raja Krishna Deva Raya, is a landmark all over South India.

Criterion (i):         The remarkable integration between the planned and defended city of Hampi with its exemplary temple architecture and its spectacular natural setting  represent a unique artistic creation.

Criterion (iii): The city bears exceptional testimony to the vanished civilization of the kingdom of Vijayanagara, which reached its apogee under the reign of Krishna Deva Raya (1509-1530).

Criterion (iv): This capital offers an outstanding example of a type of structure which illustrates a significant historical situation: that of the destruction of the Vijayanagara kingdom at the Battle of Talikota (1565 CE) which left behind an ensemble of living temples, magnificent archaeological remains in the form of elaborate sacred, royal, civil and military structures as well as traces of its rich lifestyle, all integrated within its natural setting.

Suggested Base:

Ballari is a historical city, which is now a steel hub of South India. Ballari Fort is the prime attraction of Ballari. Ballari Fort was built by Hanumappa Nayaka during the Vijayanagar era on top of the Ballari Gudda or the Fort Hill. Hyder Ali, who invaded the region took possession of the Fort from the Nayaka family in 1769, got the fort renovated and modified with the help of a French Engineer. The fort is divided as the Upper Fort and the Lower Fort. The Upper fort is a polygonal walled building on the summit, with only one approach, and has no accommodation for a garrison. There is only one way up to the fort, which is a winding rocky path amongst the boulders. It s said that Muzzaffar Khan, the Nawab of Kurnool, was confined here from 1823 to 1864 for the murder of his wife. [read more]

Hospet is a city in Karnataka. Hospet is an old settlement dating back to the Vijaynagara times when this was called the “hosa pete” (new market). Today it has become a mining hub in the Ballari region. Hospet is also the town nearest to the Hampi/Kishkinda area. A nearby airport is at Ballari, but it currently does not have commercial flight connectivity. There is a private airport at JSW Vijaynagar, Tornagallu which is used for chartered flights by some tour operators. Hubli is another nearby airport, 152km away from Hampi. Flying to Goa or Bengaluru is also an option. You can reach from Bangalore by the overnight “Hampi Express” train. Hospet is around 330km from Bangalore and is well connected by national and state highways. It is served by various private bus lines (e.g. VRL) and also government-run KSRTC. [read more]

Hubli-Dharwad – population 850,000 (2007 estimate) – is a city in Karnataka State. The twin cities of Hubli and Dharwad are actually two cities, unified by single Municipal Corporation. Hubli-Dharwad is the second biggest Conurbation of Karnataka. Hubli has been renamed as Hubballi on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of formation of Karnataka state. The name Hubballi literally means “Hu” – flower and “Balli” – creeper in Kannada. In reality however, the city is a bustling trading centre of little scenic beauty. On the other hand Dharwad is a charming quaint town spread across seven little hills. Hubli is the commercial centre and business hub of North Karnataka. It is also a noted industrial town. This historic town was known as Raya Hubli and also as Elaya Puravada Halli during the ancient times. [read more]

10 replies »

  1. Hemkuta Hill, the sunset point, offers lovely views of the surroundings. What was to be a touristic experience, turns into a soulful one–the open sky, unmarred by tall buildings; the simplicity, serenity and earthiness of the granite hill that feels like a cool balm to my bare feet as I walk towards Virupaksha temple; the quietude afforded due to well-dispersed tourists; and the sun’s warmth, accompanied by the November breeze, gradually melt away my baggage of stress, making me feel centered and free.


  2. For a very special perspective on Hampi, rise early when it’s still dark and climb the 250 steps up Matanga Hill to watch the sun rise over the ancient temples, halls, monuments, and adjacent banana plantations and emerald rice paddies. Matanga Hill, which is looked after by a local priest and his family, is little visited and is especially peaceful at dawn. Those who climb to the top are rewarded with 360-degree views. Take a camera but don’t forget to simply watch without a lens to absorb the atmosphere.


  3. I believe 2 days is enough to explore and relax in Hampi. However, Hampi is such an wonderful place that everyone will definitely feel like lingering for a while and I can bet on that. We were advised to stay on the river side. Our resort is brilliantly located next to the river on a hill.. The view is one of the best thing that we enjoyed.


  4. Historians take special interest in the temple pillars that have intricate carvings. You will also hear of the musical pillars (they tend to resonate when tapped). The path that connects the ancient Hampi Bazaar to the Vittala Temple leads to the pleasant and thrilling Riverside Ruins. All along with path, you can see numerous shrines that are scattered along with the ruins of ancient structures.


  5. Weather in Hampi does not allow visitors to explore much of the stone structures during the afternoon time. It gets very hot and thus, most of the attractions are best seen during early morning or late afternoon. Most of the temple complexes opens during sunrise and close at sunset. “Early to bed and early to rise” should be one’s main mantra while visiting Hampi.


  6. Hampi is fantastic if you are into history, but its landscape is as compelling. The region is dominated by rust-coloured rocky outcrops, massive boulders, green fields and the serenely flowing Tungabhadra River. Surely, there could have been more practical reasons why Hampi was chosen as the capital of the Vijyanagara Empire, but we’re sure its beauty, especially at sunrise and sunset, would have played a part.


  7. Within Hampi, cycles and bikes are available on rent; autorickshaws are also available to take you to the points of interest. However, nothing beats exploring on foot, at your own pace. With Hampi slowly gaining popularity, a lot of homestays, guest houses, and resorts are emerging. A few heritage houses even offer a traditional, close-to-nature experience in terms of stay as well as cuisine.


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