Hampi, a small temple town in the Indian state of Karnataka is mainly famous for the many temples and historical buildings from the ruins of the ancient Vijayanagar Empire. With a host of tourist places to visit in Hampi, this place is a perfect destination for heritage lovers and history buffs. The unbelievable boulder arrangements, monoliths, and ruins of ancient edifices are sure to leave tourists astound.  Read on to know more about Hampi, the city of ruins.

History Of Hampi

hampi visiting places
The iconic Stone Chariot at the Vitthala Temple in Hampi

The ancient town of Hampi is located in the Indian state of Karnataka, on the banks of the Tungabhadra River near the modern town of Hospet. It was once the magnificent capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, but now much of it lies in ruins which can be seen when visiting Hampi. Today, they form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Though the settlement itself, as well as many of the temples, go back for many centuries, Hampi is most closely associated with the Vijayanagara Kings who ruled here for over 200 years from 1336 AD. In the 14th century, it was filled with traders, merchants, and bustling markets. According to historical records left by Portuguese and Persian traders, it was an extremely wealthy and prosperous metropolitan city.

By 1500, it was said to be the world’s second largest medieval-ear city (after Beijing). Hampi’s wealth attracted traders from across the region. This led to it having an excellent system of roads and public infrastructure. However, numerous wars with the Muslim Sultanates came to a head at the Battle of Talikota in 1565. A coalition of the sultanates captured and beheaded the king, bringing an end to the Vijayanagara dynasty. They followed this by sacking and looting Hampi. The once-wealthy city reportedly burnt for six whole months and was ultimately abandoned as ruins.

10 Interesting Facts About Hampi

places to visit in hampi
The intricately carved interior of the Hazara Rama Temple
  • The historic antiquity of Hampi can be traced back to 238 BCE (Mauryan period).
  • Hampi city was originally called Pampa-Kshetra after the Hindu Deity Pampa.
  • Hampi is not only historic but also has religious significance. This is the place where Lord Rama met Hanuman, his loyal disciple.
  • The saregama stone pillars of Hampi at Vittala Temple produce music when tapped softly at the right places.
  • City of Hampi was once an international trading center that brought wealth, fame and splendor to the city.
  • Hampi city almost disappeared and was forgotten after attacks from Muslim Sultans, hence it was called the lost city.
  • During the Medieval Period, Hampi was the 2nd largest city after Beijing in China.
  • The ruins and monuments of Hampi are spread over an area of 26 square kilometers.
  • One of the oldest functioning temples in India, the Virupaksha Temple is here in Hampi. This temple is believed to have been functioning since 7th century AD uninterruptedly.
  • The Hazara Ram temple in Hampi has historical objects and fossils that are claimed to be from the time of Ram and Krishna’s era.

List Of Best Places To Visit In Hampi

The Many Temples of Hampi

Hampi is an ordinary town but what makes this place extraordinary is its many ancient temples. There are around 20 Temples here for a splendid heritage and cultural tour. 

travel to hampi
The large complex of the Virupaksha Temple

Virupaksha Temple – Hampi is most famous for its many temple complexes, each complete with its own marketplace. The oldest of these is the massive Virupaksha Temple. Still an active site of worship, it consists of various shrines dedicated to deities Shiva, Pampa Devi, and Durga. They sit in the shadow of a 160 foot gopuram (gatehouse tower). 

Vitthala Temple – Another splendid temple to see while visiting Hampi is the Vitthala Temple, one of the most splendid and artistic in the area. It is dedicated to Vitthala (a form of the god Krishna). Some of the most famous features of this temple are the Garuda Shrine in the form of a stone chariot, and the musical pillars that resonate with musical notes when struck.

Hazara Rama Temple – Located nearby, the Hazara Rama Temple (also known as the Ramachandra temple) was the ceremonial temple of the royal family. Both the outside and the inside are richly decorated in carvings depicting the Hindu epic Ramayana and various festivals. 

Achyutaraya Temple – The Achyutaraya Temple, with its 100-column hall decorated with avatars of Vishnu, deities such as Shiva, Surya, Durga and scenes of daily life provides a unique insight into life in the Vijayanagara Empire. 

Hemakuta Hill Temple – The gorgeous ruins of the temples and marvelous mountainside view is all worth the climb to get to the top of this hill. Either side of the hill is lined by a number of Hindu temples, Hampi ruins, and broken pathways. Make sure to reach early to catch the sunrise from here.

Lakshmi Narasimha Temple – The most significant and religious of them all is the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, also known as the Ugra Narsimha temple. This 6.7-meter high statue was built in 1528 A.D, a half-man and half-lion, sitting in a cross-legged position in its fierce form is a carnation of Lord Vishnu. It is the largest monolith statue in Hampi City.

Kadalekalu Ganesha Temple – This holy shrine must be on top of your list of places to visit in Hampi because it is one of the biggest statues (4.6 meters) of Lord Ganesha that exists in the southern part of India. Located on the hills of the renowned Hemakuta Hills, this temple is a crucial religious attraction in Hampi.

Kodandarama Temple – Situated on the bank of Tungabhadra River, the Kodandarama temple is one of the finest architectural jewels which clearly shows the passion for art and architecture of the rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire. This is the place where lord Rama crowned Sugriva after defeating Vali, hence the temple is dedicated to lord Rama. Huge statues of Lord Rama, goddess Sita and Laxamana are housed here.

Other Places To See In Hampi During Your Visit 

Apart from the many temples, there are also lots of other things to see in Hampi. A few of the popular ones are listed below:

Queen’s Bath

why is hampi famous

The majestic and enormous ancient royal pool with unbelievable architectural style gives one a feel of the lavish lifestyle of the king and his wives. You will be amazed at the very moment you set eyes on the Queen’s Bath in Hampi. A royal rectangular bathing complex right under the sky with beautifully designed balconies is sure to fill your heart. The dome-shaped roof and stunningly tiny windows, the rectangular pool under the sky, all well define the beauty of Queen’s Bath. The ruins of this ancient building is one of the must places to visit in Hampi.

Hampi Bazaar

Perhaps the most popular of all the places to visit in Hampi is the Hampi Bazaar. The one kilometer long stretch of shops on either side is located in front of the Virupaksha Temple. Bordered by ancient pavilions, it is now filled with small shops selling jewelry, clothes and antiques, and restaurants offering a wide range of cuisines. Along the path, you can also spot the huge Nandi Statue. Also known as Yeduru Basavanna, it is the site of the Vijaya Utsav, the Hampi arts festival. Walking towards the Vitthala Temple you can also spot the Sule Bazaar, which was supposedly the ancient town’s red-light district.

Lotus Mahal

things to visit in hampi
The Lotus Mahal in the Zenana Enclosure at Hampi

Lotus Mahal, also known as Kamal Mahal is a stunning Indo-Islamic architectural design. This was supposedly the queen’s recreational pavilion. The central dome of Lotus Mahal resembles the shape of a bud of lotus and hence the name. The beautiful balconies and passages are meant to be its petals. There are around 24 pillars to provide support and beauty to this amazing structure. The lotus shaped design of this palace is what wins the heart of the tourists that flock from every corner of the world. Lotus Mahal is open to the visitors between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm. Definitely one of the most attractive places to visit in Hampi!

Royal Buildings

Visitors can also see the many royal buildings that remain. Among these are the Mahanavami Platform, once used for festivals, and the grand Elephant Stables. In the royal center of the ruined city, you can also see the numerous water tanks and water pavilions for public baths, as well as public bhojana shalas (community kitchens) and fountains. However, one of the most popular spots is the Zenana Enclosure. Located near the elephant stables this may have been the residence of the royal ladies (though this is disputed) and features the wondrous two-storey Lotus Mahal. 

Matanga Hill

best places in hampi
Panoramic views from the top

For panoramic views of the historical ruins of Hampi head straight to the Matanga Hill. Matanga Hills is the highest point in Hampi providing a captivating aerial view of the city. For adventure seekers, a 30 minutes trek will take one to Veerabhadra Temple at the top of Matanga. This rooftop temple is the ideal place to witness the best sunrise and sunset. Apart from this, capturing the aerial view of Hampi ruins from here is one of the top things to do in Hampi. The serenity of this place makes it a paradise for travel photographers. 

Elephant Stables

things to see in hampi
The massive and arched elephant stables at Hampi

Elephant Stables, which was constructed in the 15th century, during the reign of the Vijayanagara Empire is one of the most significant places to see in Hampi. An Indo-Islamic style of architecture was applied in the construction of these stables. There are around 11 dome shaped chambers which once were used for the parking of royal elephants. Each chamber can accommodate two elephants at a time. Some of these domes are interconnected which gives the whole building a symmetrical appearance. This place is open for visitors from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.

Hippie Island

things to do in hampi

Hippie Island, originally named as Virapapur Gadde is located across the Tungabhadra River. It takes around 5 minutes by boat to reach the island. It is famous for hut stays in the astounding beautiful and vibrant Island. The huts are made in the basic styles and are well-equipped with all the essential amenities that you would need for a memorable vacation. They serve awesome shacks and cafes which operate from October end to mid-March. The mesmerizing view of sunsets, lively ambience while witnessing the live jam sessions at the banks of the river are the things to look out for while here.

Also Read: Iconic World Heritage Sites In India You Have To See

How to Reach Hampi?

Hampi is easily accessible from most places in India. The closest airport is 40 kilometers away, Jindal Vijaynagar Airport (VDY) near Bellary. However, flights can be infrequent here, making it simpler to go through larger hubs like Bangalore or even Hubli. From here, Hampi is the perfect distance for a weekend road trip or a quick getaway. Visitors can also come in by train, as the nearest railway station, Hospet Junction, is just 13km away. Trains run regularly from Bangalore, Mysore, Goa, and Hyderabad and are quite comfortable. Hampi itself is best explored by foot or bicycle to get the feel and soak in its unique atmosphere. However, there are also rickshaws and car rentals available.

places to see in hampi

A vacation with your beloved ones to this iconic city is sure to be a fruitful one. Now that you have the entire guide ready with you, travel to Hampi to explore this incredible place. If we’ve missed any good places to visit in Hampi, be sure to share them in the comment box below.

What are the top activities in Hampi?

Cycling, Rock Climbing, Coracle Ride, Fishing and Boat Ride are some of the best activities available here.

How many days should I spend in Hampi?

A minimum of two full days is necessary to explore all the best places in Hampi.

Which is the best time to visit Hampi?

Cool winter months between October and February is the best time to visit Hampi.

Is Hampi good for solo trip?

Hampi is relatively a very safe city. It is highly recommended even for solo women travelers. The local residents here are understanding and non-interfering.

Where to stay in Hampi?

Hospet, 30 minutes from Hampi is the best place to stay as it offers some good food and accommodation options.


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