The Royal Review: All You Need To Know About Hampi
Old world magnificence, charm, and precision – these are the things that strike you when you step foot into the historical town of Hampi in Karnataka.
Dating back to the 14th century, the temple town of Hampi was once the capital of the glorious Vijaynagara Empire. Ruins of temples, irrigation channels, civil buildings, palaces, and fort walls of the ancient city are found around Hampi, winning it the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hampi has a lot to offer to everyone who visits, be it a history buff or nature lover. With so many things to see and do, it often becomes difficult to cover everything in this temple town, especially if you’re only visiting for a day. So, we’ve narrowed it down to these seven iconic landmarks and places in Hampi which should be on your must-explore list.
#1 Vijaya Vittala Temple
Built in the 15th century, the Vijaya Vittala Temple Complex is the largest of all the heritage structures in Hampi. An exceptional example of Dravidian architecture, this temple is dedicated to Lord Vittala, one of Lord Vishnu’s incarnations, and is perhaps the most famous spot in this ancient town. Don’t forget to marvel at the intricately designed pillared halls and the breathtaking stone chariot inside this complex.
#2 Hanuman Temple
Perched atop Anjaneya Hill, approximately 4km away from Hampi, sits the well-known Hanuman Temple, which is considered to be the birthplace of this deity. In order to reach this temple, you will have to take a small boat across the river and then climb the steps to the top. Even if you are not a religious person, it is still recommended that you make the climb for the fabulous view. You’re sure to find a lot of monkeys around the temple premises, so do keep a firm grip on your belongings.
#3 Virupaksha Temple
Originally a small shrine, this grand temple was built somewhere in the 7th century under the rule of the Vijaynagara empire. It is dedicated to Lord Virupaksha, who was the main deity of these people and it is still the main pilgrimage place in and around Hampi. However, the renovation that was done in the early 19th century has managed to retain the aesthetics and the original structure of this building.
#4 Matanga Hills
Take a break from the religious and architectural attractions that Hampi has to offer and reconnect with nature at Matanga Hills. With just a 30-minute trek to the summit of these hills, you will have another attraction waiting for you – the Veerabhadra Temple. Climb to the roof of this temple and you are guaranteed the most scintillating views of sunrise and sunset in Hampi.
#5 Daroji Bear Sanctuary
In the wilderness of Daroji Bear Sanctuary, you can see animals like jackals, spotted deers, hyenas, and leopards apart from Indian sloth bears. Founded in 1994, this protected forest area is the perfect place to see these adorable bears playing with each other or climbing the many trees that dot the landscape.
#6 Elephant Stables
One of the least run-down of all the structures in Hampi, the old 11-domed elephant stable is a sight to behold. The domed chambers are all interconnected, and have different shapes, with an elaborate hall forming the core of the structure. This huge hall was possibly used for elephant processions and other such ceremonial meetings.
#7 Queen’s Bath
The Queen’s Bath, with an enormous courtyard and balconies with small windows, was the bathing complex for the royal women. Stepping into the rectangular pool, with a welcoming blue sky overhead, is almost like turning back time to when the royals ruled Hampi. Here, you will also find local artists selling hand-made sculptures and stone carvings, which serve as perfect souvenirs for folks back home.
A treasure trove of historical and architectural attractions, Hampi reflects the grandeur and skill of the olden days. Each site in this ancient city can be linked to a legend, and all of them are unique, because you are unlikely to find anything like it in any other part of the country, or even in the world. So come, explore the heritage and ancient secrets of Hampi on our luxury train journey and get a taste of royalty on rails.