Hampi was the ancient capital of Vijayanagara dynasty and is an important pilgrimage centre in South India. A number of monuments in Hampi have been designated as ‘World Heritage Sites’ by UNESCO, owing to their historic and architectural significance. The name Hampi, is derived from ‘Pampa’ (another name of Tungabhadra River). It is believed that Lord Shiva expressed his desire to marry Tungabhadra or Pampa in Hampi. The most renowned pilgrim center at Hampi is Virupaksha Temple of Hemakuta Hills, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Vittala Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu has elaborate carvings of scenes from Ramayana. The musical pillars that resound when struck and a massive stone chariot are unique attractions here. Mahanavmi Dibba used for celebrating Navrathri, Royal and Zenana enclosures are expressions of rich Vijayanagari art. Hazara Rama temple is an ultimate depiction of thousands of images of Lord Rama carved intricately on the walls. Sasivekalu, Kadalekalu Ganesha, Lakshmi Narasimha, Krishna and numerous other temples are a part of Hampi’s religious grounds. Hemakuta, Matanga and Anjenya hills offer splendid views of sunrise and sunset apart from being sites of worship. These apart, Queen’s Palace, Old Palace, Lotus Mahal and Queen’s bath are evidences of an extraordinary lifestyle of Vijayanagar rulers.
In all, Hampi is a town with an impressive blend of nature’s beauty, religion, history and architecture.
1. Mango Tree restaurant - You cannot skip eating here if you are at Hampi. You sit on a multi-layered, stone-cut set of benches overlooking Tungabhadra river and enjoy some very yummy food. Go past the river ghat, through the banana plantation (you start seeing boards from here) and there you are!
2. Cycling trail - As you come out from Hampi bazaar to go towards Lotus Mahal et all (see map), you hit a 'really' small bridge once you go under the arch. Turn off in either direction and ride along this stream (many times dry), and it makes for one of the quietest and nicest cycling trips ever. Be careful though, it is really secluded. Going towards left while coming from bazaar is also a shortcut to reach the road that ends with the destroyed bridge.