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Hampi

Brief
These are stones that tell stories. Hampi is made of rocks that were finely chiseled into beautiful structures by the Vijayanagara Empire that made Hampi their base. It shows off towering temples and palaces that appear stern at first glance. Enter them and be transported into the era where elephants were adorned with jewels, courtesans danced, the royal women frolicked while protected by watch towers and gods had magnificent temples crafted to perfection. Hampi is set in the huge valley spanning the banks of the Tungabhadra River and is undoubtedly home to one of the largest temple complexes. As you stand amidst its ruins, you can almost imagine the precious stones that must have once fitted these structures. And then it does not come as a surprise why Hampi was then declared by the UNESCO a ‘World Heritage in Danger’.

Reasons to visit
We welcome you to the most exciting tourist attractions and travel destinations which are given below. We take into notice each and every details about recreation, entertainment, adventure and relaxation. By looking at the things to do in a city one can see if that spot offers romance, family fun, sightseeing or adventure. Drill down into the tourist attractions below to find out more about each place and see how the local customs create a unique atmosphere.
 
Virupaksha Temple     
This 5th-century temple is one of the most recognized structures of Hampi. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva as Virupaksha. This is one of the finest examples of Vijaynagara architecture and this is evident from the 9-tiered eastern gateway which at 50 m is the highest. The temple is having shrines dedicated to the gods, a pillared hall and the Ranga Mantapa which is an open pillared hall. This open hall has about 38 pillars carved intricately as a mythical lion with the base having typical Shaivite carvings. The central ceiling is beautifully adorned with bright paintings from Ramayana, Mahabharata and the puranas. Another interesting shrine within the temple is that dedicated to Goddess Bhuvaneshwari which is especially noted for its carved doors, pillars and finely chiseled panels. 
 

Vijayavitthala Temple  
This is by far the most splendid temple complex you’ll see in Hampi. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu as Vitthala, it is built in typical Dravidian architecture. The hall is created with pillars and the small sanctum houses the idol of the deity. Note that only the main priest is allowed in the sanctum. The temple is flanked by 3 gateways and the base is heavily carved with the kings army and dancing girls. A special highlight of this temple are the 56 musical pillars which produce music when tapped. This is however discouraged to prevent further damage. The Vitthala Temple is home to the exquisitely carved Stone Chariot which is actually a miniature temple. It is crafted to resemble the chariot on which idols are taken out in a procession.  
 
Hazara Rama Temple   
This derives its name from the Ramayana panels that adorn the walls. Believed to have been the original temple of the royal family the external walls have intricate bas relief that narrate episodes from Ramayana. The pillared hall within has beautiful pillars done in black stone. The temple is not in use anymore, though you can visit it to see the shrine dedicated to Devi. The walls of the complex are carved both from within and without. The outer walls depict horses, elephants, dancing girls and infantry in procession, the inner walls showing scenes from Ramayana.

Queen's Bath  
 
Queen's bath structure is one of the best-known structures of Hampi. It was built in indo-sarasanic style. It is a square structure bounded by arched pillars and arched balconies that project over the bath. This was used by the royal women and water was supplied by pipes. The bath has lotus-shaped fountains.
  

Lotus Mahal  
Lotus Mahal is shaped like a lotus flower and is a 2-storey structure complete with beautiful archways. It was created in indo-Islamic architecture, the lower level was apparently used for recreation and music concerts. The structure is flanked by a high watchtower and has an elephant stable within. 

Ganesha  
On the slope of Hemakuta Hill beyond the Krishna Temple, there are two huge stone images of Ganesha. First one is the Sasivekalu Ganesha about 2.4 metres tall and ironically named as Sasivekalu or mustard seed. The God is seated in a large open mantapa with plain rough square pillars. The right hands hold the ankusa and broken tusk, while the upper left holds a looped pasa or noose. The lower left hand and the trunk are broken. The belly is tied with a snake. This Ganesha is fashioned out of a single boulder in sitting position.   
 

Stepped Tank  
This is a recently excavated tank made of black stone. A relatively small but ornately done tank it is accessible by 5 tiers of proportionately fitted steps. Water to this tank was drawn through a stone aquaduct which is also preserved today.

Ugra Narasimha 
This image of Lakshmi-Narasimha popularly called Ugranarasimha, meaning Narasimha of terrifying countenance, is hewn out of a rock in-situ. According to an inscription found here it was executed in 1528 A.D. during the rule of Krishnadevaraya. Originally the icon bore a smaller image of Lakshmi sitting on his lap. This gigantic image, 6.7 meters in height, was mutilated and the figure of Lakshmi was entirely damaged and vandalized in 1565 A.D. Narasimha with an articulately chiseled and well delineated mane and large bulging eyes and broad chest still retains His awesome charm. He is seated on the coils of the snake Adisesha, who rises behind him with seven hoods, which serve as a canopy. The entire image is set within a Makara torana, or arch, with a lion-mask above the hoods of Adisesha.

Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary  
Located close to Hampi, this is a relatively new sanctuary housing the endangered sloth bears. While you are assured of a glimpse of the tiger, hyena and deer, sights of the sloth bear are not guaranteed since they are largely nocturnal and essentially camera shy! However, get in touch with the forest authorities, who have their own way of getting them out of their habitats for a quick glance.

Shopping
Here, one can find some bags, jewellery, idols, postcards of temples and paintings. Hospet has some shops selling fabrics and handlooms.

Festive Celebrations   
Purandara Festival is held in January-February in the Vittal temple.