Temples of Hampi

Brief
Hampi can very well be compared to a phoenix. Hampi was the capital of last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagara before it was attacked by Muslims rulers. Suddenly, one of the marvels of medieval era faded away. It remained very many unknowns to the outside world till UNESCO recognized it as a World Heritage Site. Hampi started getting the attention and accolades that it deserved. And now it is one of the most visited and admired places in India. Situated around 300 Km from Bangalore, Hampi is the second largest world heritage site in the World. The govt. recently has been actively taking measures to preserve this marvel of time. The ruins of the once great kingdom, scattered in an area of 26 sq. km is slowly positioning itself for the title of 'Pride of Karnataka' .  
 

History
Hampi, are one of the most fascinating historical sites in south India. The superb ruins are set in a strange and beautiful boulderstrewn landscape which has an almost magical quality.The first settlement in Hampi dates back to 1st century AD and a number of Buddhist sites belonging to that time have been found nearby. Hampi was the capital of the mighty Vijaynagar Empire. Vijaynagar was one of the largest Hindu empires in India. The brothers Harihara and Bukka established the Vijayanagar Empire in 1336. In an age when the powerful Mughal army of the north was stamping its authority on almost the entire subcontinent, this southern Hindu kingdom proved too difficult to crack. In 1509-29 during the reign of Krishnadevaraya the empire reached the pinnacle of its influence economically, militarily and culturally, the legacy of which abides till date. In 1565 the end came swiftly. Unable to withstand the combined assault of the neighboring Muslim kingdoms, Hampi fell at the battle of Talikota. From then it was only a matter of time before the conquering forces made rapid inroads into the rest of the empire. The ruins of Hampi are extremely popular with tourists who flock here to soak in a sense of the past; and in every ‘reliving’, this seemingly dead city lives again. Hampi is one of the important pilgrimage center for both Hindus and Jains. It is stated that this was the place called kiskindha of Ramanaya the birth place of Lord Hanuman. Sprawled in the area of about 26 kms, Hampi is akin to an open-air museum of temples. The hoary ambience of this site gets enhanced with its rugged setting. Hampi is also an important pilgrimage center for both the Hindus and the Jains. It is believed that it was the place known as 'Kishkindha' (stated in Ramayana), where Lord Hanuman was born. Situated on the banks of Tungabhadra River, Hampi houses the renowned Virupaksha and Vitthala Temples of India.

Temples in Hampi   

Virupaksha Temple:- This is the most sacred temple as well as the biggest structure of the city. The temple is also known as Pampapathi Temple. The temple has shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, Goddess Pampa and Goddess Bhuvaneshwari. This is the only temple in Hampi where still regular pujas and prayers are held. The main temple has a Sanctum, a mukha mandapa, an open pillared hall and three chambers. The Ranga Mandapa is the most splendid of all.

Vithala Temple :- Vithala Temple is one reason why Hampi is so famous all over the world. This is the most splendidly carved building you will ever see. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple was completed in the year 1565, almost five decades after the Krishnadevaraya started it. The main attraction in the temple is Stone Chariot standing in the courtyard and a 56-pillared hall. It is said that the pillars produce musical sounds when they are stroked. The temple is situated to the east side of main market of Hampi.

Hazara Rama Temple:- Hazara Rama Temple is one of the most splendid works that you will find in Hampi. You will find carvings on the outer walls of the temple are not very common in structures of Hampi. The carvings are generally depicting different scenes from Ramayana. That is how the temple got its name as 'Hazara Rama Temple'. The temple now lay deserted but is believed to be the private place for royal family to worship.

Ugra Narasimha:- According to the inscriptions found on the statue of Lakshmi Narasimha called the Ugra Narasimha, it was build in the year 1528 during the rule of Krishnadevaraya. Ugra Narasimha is a gigantic statue that rises to a height of 6.7 meters. The huge statue of Lord Narasimha sits atop a coiled snake Adishesha. The artistry of the statue is simply unbelievable. The statue is completely build of granite which is a very hard substance. It is said that the artist could not manage delicate carvings on granite. So they made the statue huge so that the carvings can be done accordingly. There was a small figure of Lakshmi sitting on the lap of statue which came loose. The figure of Goddess Lakshmi is now kept in Kamalapura Museum.