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Virupaksha Temple, Hampi, Karnataka
Virupaksha Temple, Hampi, Karnataka
Nickname(s): Vijayanagar samrajjya
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Country  India
State File:Flag of Karnataka.svg Karnataka
District Bellary
Founded by Harihara and Bukkaraya
Elevation 467 m (1,532 ft)
Population (2011)Population of Hampi Village (across the river from Hampi City)
 • Total 2,777[1]
 • Official Kannada
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Nearest city Hospet
Website www.hampi.in [archive]
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Group of Monuments at Hampi
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List [archive]
Location India
Type Cultural
Criteria (i)(iii)(iv)
Reference 241 [archive]
UNESCO region [archive] Asia-Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription 1986 (10th Session)
Endangered 1999–2006

Hampi (Hampe) is a village and temple town recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi.[2] in northern Karnataka, India. 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.


Hampi — traditionally known as Pampa-kshetra, Kishkindha-kshetra or Bhaskara-kshetra — is derived from Pampa, the old name of the Tungabhadra River (Pampa was Lord Brahma's daughter, who was later married to Lord Shiva) on whose southern banks the city is built.[3] The name "Hampi" is an anglicized version of the Kannada name 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).


Emperor Ashoka's Rock Edicts in Nittur & Udegolan (both in Bellary district) suggest that this region was part of the Maurya Empire during the 3rd century BC. A Brahmi inscription and a terracotta seal dating to the II century CE were also recovered from the excavation site.[4]

The first settlements in Hampi date from 1 CE.[5]

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.[4]

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 surveyed in 1800 by Scottish Colonel Colin Mackenzie, first Surveyor General of India.

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.[6]

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.[7]


Hampi is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. It is 353 km from Bangalore and 74 km from Bellary. Hosapete (Hospet), 13 km away, is the nearest railway head. Guntakal Jn S.C.Railway just 99 km from Guntakal, 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" has been celebrated since the reign of Vijayanagara. It is organized by the Government of Karnataka as Nada Festival.[8]

Due to the presence of several mineral deposits in this region, such as iron-ore and 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 and the Tungabhadra Dam are under threat as a result.


Climate data for Gokarna
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30.9
Average low °C (°F) 18.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 0
Source: Climate data: Hampi [archive]


File:Hampi Ruins of Vijaynagar India Map 1911.jpg
Hampi Map, 1911
File:Schematic map of Hampi.png
Schematic map of Hampi with major tourist spots
File:Jain Temples @ Hampi.jpg
Jain Temples
File:Hampi aug09 45.jpg
The remains of a giant Bukka's Aqueduct located near Anegondi
File:Hampi aug09 226.jpg
Lotus Mahal at the Zenana Enclosure

The city of Vijayanagara was originally encompassed by seven lines of fortifications, which had many 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 and some other structures in the Virupaksha temple complex predate the Vijayanagara Empire. The earliest amongst them, the Shiva shrines with their stepped pyramidal vimanas 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 theology inside the temples, some of which are still active places of worship.[9] 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. This icon has three eyes carved on its front,[10] representing the three eyes of Shiva. 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 theology, the River Ganga (Ganges) was brought from swarga 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 to earth from his hair. As an iconic representation of this, in Siva temples a dripping pot hangs 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 carry 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 theosophy and a sprawling courtyard well-laid with gardens. It is noted for its thousands of carvings and inscriptions around the temple which tell of Ramayana.[12]
  • Jain Temple : Reliefs of Jain temples are present in this area that includes Hemkut Jain temples, Ratnantraykut, Parsvanath Charan and Ganigatti jain temple. Most of the idols are now missing from these temples. Ruins suggest that these temples belong to 14th century.[13]
  • Krishna Temple Complex: This is an ASI-protected monument, built in 1513 CE during the reign of king Krishnadevaraya after his successful campaign against the Gajapatis of Orissa. There is a halegannada (old Kannada) stone inscription by Krishnadevaraya dating to 1513 CE in the temple's frontyard. This temple was abandoned after the fall of Vijayanagara and is not used for worship at present.[14] Krishna temple bazaar has been 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.
File:The mandapas of vittala temple.jpg
The mantapas of Vittala temple
File:Stone Chariot at Vittala temple, Hampi.jpg
The stone chariot at Vittala temple
  • Vittala Temple Complex:This is perhaps the most well-known among the ruins of Hampi. The iconic stone chariot in the vicinity of this temple complex is a symbol of Karnataka Tourism. Unfortunately it had a brick tower above it which was demolished.[15] Of late, floodlights have been installed in the temple complex that provide illumination at dusk, thereby adding to the grandeur of the architecture. The great “swing-pavilion” of this temple is one of the technical marvels of Vijayanagara architecture.[15] The temple houses the famous musical pillars.

The road leading to the temple was once a market where 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, an ancient temple situated in the Hampi Bazaar. It predates the founding of the Vijayanagara empire. The temple has three gopuras (entrance towers). A large 160-foot (49 m) high tower as its main entrance facing east, a smaller second entrance tower leading to inner temple courtyard after the main gopura, and another one facing north known as the Kanakagiri gopura, leading to a small enclosure with subsidiary shrines and eventually to the river Tungabhadra. The smaller inner gopura and the beautiful mandapa (an open pillared hall or pavilion) were dedicated to the temple by king Krishnadevaraya on his coronation in 1510 CE, making them over 500 years old.[16] Apart from Shiva, the temple complex also contains shrines of the erotica statues Bhuvaneshwari and Pampa.
  • Prasanna Virupaksha Temple: This temple is popularly known as the “Underground Shiva temple” as it was almost completely covered before its discovery and excavation.[17]
  • Yantrodharaka Anjaneya temple

Civil buildings[edit]

Military buildings[edit]

  • Elephant stables: used to house the eleven royal elephants in King Krishnadeva Raya's army. The neighbouring building housed the riders of the royal elephants.
  • The King's balance[18]

Important sites at and near Hampi[edit]

Global Heritage Fund efforts[edit]

Non-profit organization Global Heritage Fund (GHF), the Hampi Foundation, Cornell University, and the State of Karnataka, have 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."[19]


Although Hampi is a significant historic and tourist site, its access can be challenging. One travel site recommends:

  • Fly into Hubli
  • Drive to this site (rented car or taxi) - three hours travel time - or
    • take the overnight train from Bangalore-Karnataka

Language can be a problem at this place most locals speak a regional dialect of Kannada. Not everybody in the area can communicate using English or Hindi.

Note that Hampi Village is on the opposite side of the Tungabhadra River from Hampi City (site of the ruins and temples). Ferry service to cross the river is available at times, but is not consistent, and depends also on the condition of the river. A 75-km road is available between the village and the city (2 hours travel) if the ferry service is not available.[20]


Hampi Scenery, 360° Panorama Shot from Matanga Hill

See also[edit]


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  1. "Hampi Village Population - Hospet - Bellary, Karnataka" [archive]. Census2011.co.in. Retrieved 11 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Group of Monuments at Hampi" [archive]. World Heritage. Retrieved 20 December 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. D. Devakunjari. World Heritage Series: Hampi. Eicher Goodearth Ltd, New Delhi - for Archaeological Survey of India. p. 8. ISBN 81-87780-42-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 D. Devakunjari (2007). World Heritage Series Hampi [archive]. Eicher Goodearth Ltd, New Delhi - for Archaeological Survey of India. p. 11. ISBN 8187780428.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Less Known Facts about Hampi | Sightseeing | Hampi" [archive]. Karnataka.com. 9 January 2015. Retrieved 11 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Group of Monuments at Hampi, Karnataka - Archaeological Survey of India" [archive]. Asi.nic.in. Retrieved 11 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Zones of Hampi [archive]
  8. "Hampi Utsav | Hampi Festival | Vurupaksha Temple" [archive]. Karnataka.com. 9 January 2015. Retrieved 11 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Hampi: Monument Guide [archive]
  10. The three eyes of Shiva [archive]
  11. "Shimla, Himachal Pradesh – Expert Bulletin" [archive]. Expertbulletin.com. Retrieved 5 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 178.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Jain: Hampi [archive]
  14. "Trip to Hampi - Ruins of Vijayanagara-Part 2" [archive]. Trayaan.com. Trayaan. 15 February 2016. Retrieved 5 October 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Vijayanagara Research Project::Vitthala temple" [archive]. www.vijayanagara.org. Retrieved 5 October 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Trip to Hampi, the ruins of the magnificent Vijayanagara" [archive]. Trayaan.com. Trayaan. 9 February 2016. Retrieved 5 October 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Trip to Hampi-Ruins of Vijayanagara - Part 3" [archive]. trayaan.com. Trayaan. 6 June 2016. Retrieved 5 October 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. King’s Balance, Hampi – A Monument with an Interesting History [archive]
  19. Global Heritage Fund - Where We Work - Hampi, India [archive]. Accessed 24 April 2009.
  20. Hampi: The remains of what was, not so long ago, the world's largest city Atlas Obscura [archive]
  • 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]