Hampi was the capital of Vijayanagara kingdom and became famous during the time of King Krishnadevaraya. He took the kingdom to the heights of richness, glory, and prosperity. The city has marvelous architecture and technology that one will be amazed to know about and the richness in terms of culture and wealth. Hampi has to be viewed from four angles. They are – Historical, religious, architectural and Scientific. Each has amazing information to offer.
I recently visited the place after a gap of a few years. The excavation work is under progress. Many new things have been found out and made public. One gets a mixed feeling of happiness and sadness. Happy to know how our ancestors were advanced in technology and thinking and sad to know that it is all in ruins now and not able to restore despite the struggle.
We think ourselves as tech-savvy, but a visit to this place makes us realize how the people in those days were using all these technologies. Air conditioning was done through embedding pipes in the roof and circulating water in them to keep the place cool. Cross ventilation was perfect. Swimming pools used by the queens had perfect inlet and exit system for water. Living places were surrounded by trenches filled with water which kept them cool. Vastu was used perfectly and at its best.
Architectural Marvels of Hampi
Coming to the architecture, the Hampi Temples are extraordinary. The huge monolithic idols in the temples of Hampi, the musical pillars, the moving stone chariot, huge idols of Gods, Kamal Mahal, Bathing Pond, the list goes on and on.
This is a must visit place in Karnataka and never miss this whenever you are in Karnataka.
How to Reach Hampi
Located at 353 Kms. from Bangalore, and 74 Kms. from Bellary, this place can be reached by train, bus or cab. It is about 6-7 hours journey from Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka.
Plenty of accommodations are available for stay. There are hotels starting from Rs. 100/- per day, AC, Non-AC rooms are also available. The cost depends on the location and facilities offered. You can stay at Hospet and visit the surrounding places or stay in Hampi itself so that the traveling time is saved.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Hampi is February, March, October, November, and December during which time the weather is good. Better to avoid summer as it is too hot and it will be difficult to visit all the places.
For the people who are interested in history, architecture, and technology, this place can hold them for any length of time. Even one week would not be sufficient to see all the places. I suggest you take a guide so that you will not miss anything. Also without a guide, you will not understand what is what. There are many guides who are authorized by the Department of Tourism and knowledgeable who can make you visualize the glory of the Vijayanagar empire.
Important Places to Visit
Vijaya Vittala Temple is the main temple of Hampi. The architecture of this temple is amazing, the stone carvings are very good. The inverted image of the temple Gopuram falling on the interiors of the temple is a scientific marvel. Do not miss this!
The Sasive Kalu and Kadale Kalu Ganapathi temples have an interesting story behind them.
The Ugra Narasimha and Shiva Linga temples are also temples one should not miss in Hampi.
The musical stone pillar which plays ‘sa, re, ga, ma, pa, da, ni, sa’ when tapped is amazing. Though playing this is banned now to protect them, I myself have heard the music during my previous visit. Touching these stones and stepping near them is not allowed now.
The Lotus Mahal, which had the cooling technology adopted, the stables for the elephant and horse, the ducts which were used to transport water to the city are all exceptional considering the time they were constructed. One will be left with wondering, are we good technically or were the people of that age better.
Hampi is crowned with the UNESCO world heritage center. Though we can be proud of our ancestors, it also makes one feel sad that such a glorious empire lost its glory very fast.
Hampi India has caught global attention recently because of some adulations like declaring it as a World heritage center, Kannada University being opened at Hampi and Hampi festival which is conducted every year.