Hampi, also referred to as the Group of Monuments at Hampi, is a
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site located in east-central Karnataka,
India. It became the centre of the
capital in the 14th century. Chronicles left by Persian and
European travellers, particularly the Portuguese, state
Hampi was a
prosperous, wealthy and grand city near the Tungabhadra River, with
numerous temples, farms and trading markets. By 1500 CE,
Vijayanagara was the world's second-largest medieval-era city
after Beijing, and probably India's richest at that time, attracting
traders from Persia and Portugal. The
Vijayanagara Empire was
defeated by a coalition of Muslim sultanates; its capital was
conquered, pillaged and destroyed by sultanate armies in 1565, after
Hampi remained in ruins.
Karnataka near the modern-era city of Hosapete, Hampi's
ruins are spread over 4,100 hectares (16 sq mi) and it has
been described by
UNESCO as an "austere, grandiose site" of more than
1,600 surviving remains of the last great
Hindu kingdom in South India
that includes "forts, riverside features, royal and sacred complexes,
temples, shrines, pillared halls, mandapas, memorial structures, water
structures and others".
Hampi predates the
there is evidence of Ashokan epigraphy, and it is mentioned in the
Ramayana and the Puranas of
Hinduism as Pampaa Devi Tirtha
Hampi continues to be an important religious centre,
housing the Virupaksha Temple, an active Adi Shankara-linked monastery
and various monuments belonging to the old city.
2 Texts and history
2.1 Ancient to 14th century CE
2.2 14th century and after
2.3 Archaeological site
3.1.1 Virupaksha temple and market complex
Krishna temple, market,
Narasimha and linga
3.1.3 Achyutaraya temple and market complex
Vitthala temple and market complex
3.1.5 Hemakuta hill monuments
3.1.7 Kodandarama temple and riverside monuments
3.1.8 Pattabhirama temple complex
3.1.9 Mahanavami platform, public square complex
3.1.10 Water infrastructure
3.1.11 Fountains and community kitchen
3.1.12 Elephant stables and Zenana enclosure
Hindu temples and monuments
3.2.1 Ganagitti temple complex
Jain temples and monuments
3.3 Muslim monuments
3.3.1 Ahmad Khan mosque and tomb
5 See also
8 External links
Hampi is set in a rocky terrain. Above: one of the many Vijayanagara
market ruins, with
Tungabhadra River in the background
Hampi is situated on the banks of the
Tungabhadra River in the eastern
part of central
Karnataka near the state border with Andhra Pradesh.
It is 376 kilometres (234 mi) from Bangalore, 385 kilometres
(239 mi) from
Hyderabad and 266 kilometres (165 mi) from
Belgaum. The closest railway station is in
Hosapete (Hospet), 13
kilometres (8.1 mi) away. During the winter, overnight buses and
Hampi with Goa,
Secunderabad and Bangalore. It is
140 kilometres (87 mi) southeast of the
Badami and Aihole
Texts and history
The toponym Hampi—traditionally known as Pampa-kshetra,
Kishkindha-kshetra or Bhaskara-kshetra—is derived from Pampa,
another name of goddess
Hindu theology. According to
mythology, the maiden
Parvati resolves to marry the loner ascetic
Shiva. Her parents learn of her desire and discourage her, but
she pursues her desire.
Shiva is lost in yogic meditation, oblivious
to the world;
Parvati appeals to the gods for help to awaken him and
gain his attention. Indra sends the god Kama—the
Hindu god of
desire, erotic love, attraction and affection—to awake
meditation. Kama reaches
Shiva and shoots an arrow of desire.
Shiva opens his third eye in his forehead and burns Kama to ashes.
Parvati does not lose her hope or her resolve to win over Shiva; she
begins to live like him and engage in the same
activities—asceticism, yogin and tapasya—awakening him and
attracting his interest.
Parvati in disguised form and
tries to discourage her, telling her Shiva's weaknesses and
Parvati refuses to listen and insists in
Shiva finally accepts her and they get married.
According to Sthala Purana,
Parvati (Pampa) pursued her ascetic,
yogini lifestyle on Hemakuta Hill, now a part of Hampi, to win and
Shiva back into householder life.
Shiva is also
called Pampapati (lit. "husband of Pampa"). The river near the
Hemkuta Hill came to be known as Pampa river. The Sanskrit word
Pampa morphed into the
Kannada word Hampa and the place Parvati
Shiva came to be known as Hampe or Hampi.
The site was an early medieval era pilgrimage place known as
Pampakshetra. Its fame came from the
Kishkindha chapters of the Hindu
epic Ramayana, where
Lakshmana meet Hanuman,
Sugriva and the
monkey army in their search for kidnapped Sita. The
Hampi area has
many close resemblances to the place described in the epic. The
regional tradition believes that it is that place mentioned in the
Ramayana, attracting pilgrims.
Ancient to 14th century CE
Emperor Ashoka's Rock Edicts in Nittur and Udegolan—both in Bellary
district 269-232 BCE—suggest this region was part of the Maurya
Empire during the 3rd century BCE. A Brahmi inscription and a
terracotta seal dating to about the 2nd century CE have been found
during site excavations. The town is mentioned in Badami
Chalukya's inscriptions as Pampapura; dating from between the 6th and
By the 10th century, it had become a centre of religious and
educational activities during the rule of the
Hindu kings Kalyana
Chalukyas, whose inscriptions state that the kings made land grants to
the Virupaksha temple. Several inscriptions from the 11th to
13th centuries are about the
Hampi site, with a mention of gifts to
goddess Hampa-devi. Between the 12th and 14th centuries, Hindu
kings of the
Hoysala Empire of
South India built temples to Durga,
Hampadevi and Shiva, according to an inscription dated about 1,199 CE.
Hampi became the second royal residence; one of the Hoysala kings was
known as Hampeya-Odeya or "lord of Hampi". According to Burton
Stein, the Hoysala-period inscriptions call
Hampi by alternate names
such as Virupakshapattana, Vijaya Virupakshapura in honour of the old
Virupaksha (Shiva) temple there.
14th century and after
The armies of the Delhi Sultanate, particularly those of Alauddin
Khalji and Muhammad bin Tughlaq, invaded and pillaged South India. The
Hoysala Empire and its capital Dvarasamudra in south
plundered and destroyed in the early 14th century by the armies of
Alauddin Khalji, and again in 1326 CE by the army of Muhammad
Kampili kingdom in north-central
Karnataka followed the collapse
of Hoysala Empire. It was a short-lived
Hindu kingdom with its capital
about 33 kilometres (21 mi) from Hampi. The Kampili
kingdom ended after an invasion by the Muslim armies of Muhammad bin
Hindu women of Kampili committed jauhar (ritual mass
suicide) when the Kampili soldiers faced defeat by Tughlaq's
army. In 1336 CE, the
Vijayanagara Empire arose from the ruins
of the Kampili kingdom. It grew into one of the famed
Hindu empires of
South India that ruled for over 200 years.
Vijayanagara Empire built its capital around Hampi, calling it
Vijayanagara. They expanded the infrastructure and temples. According
to Nicholas Gier and other scholars, by 1500 CE Hampi-Vijayanagara
was the world's second-largest medieval-era city after Beijing, and
probably India's richest. Its wealth attracted 16th-century traders
from across the Deccan area, Persia and the Portuguese colony of
Vijayanagara rulers fostered developments in
intellectual pursuits and the arts, maintained a strong military and
fought many wars with sultanates to its north and east. They invested
in roads, waterworks, agriculture, religious buildings and public
infrastructure. This included, states UNESCO, "forts, riverside
features, royal and sacred complexes, temples, shrines, pillared
halls, mandapas (halls for people to sit), memorial structures,
gateways, check posts, stables, water structures, and more". The
site was multi-religious and multi-ethnic; it included
Hindu and Jain
monuments next to each other. The buildings predominantly followed
Hindu arts and architecture dating to the
Pattadakal styles, but the
Hampi builders also used elements of
Indo-Islamic architecture in the Lotus Mahal, the public bath and the
According to historical memoirs left by Portuguese and Persian traders
to Hampi, the city was of metropolitan proportions; they called it
"one of the most beautiful cities". While prosperous and in
infrastructure, the Muslim-
Hindu wars between Muslim Sultanates and
Vijayanagara Empire continued. In 1565, at the Battle of Talikota, a
coalition of Muslim sultanates entered into a war with the
Vijayanagara Empire. They captured and beheaded the king,
followed by a massive destruction of the infrastructure fabric of
Hampi and the metropolitan Vijayanagara. The city was pillaged,
looted and burnt for six months after the war, then abandoned as
ruins, which are now called the Group of Monuments at
Hampi Map, 1911 Survey
Hampi and its nearby region remained a contested and fought-over
region claimed by the local chiefs, the
Hyderabad Muslim nizams, the
Hindu kings, and Hyder Ali and his son
Tipu Sultan of Mysore
through the 18th century. In 1799,
Tipu Sultan was defeated and
killed when the British forces and
Wadiyar dynasty aligned. The region
then came under British influence. The ruins of
surveyed in 1800 by Scottish Colonel Colin Mackenzie, first Surveyor
General of India. Mackenzie wrote that the
Hampi site was abandoned
and only wildlife live there. The 19th-century speculative articles by
historians who followed Mackenzie blamed the 18th-century armies of
Haidar Ali and the Marathas for the damage to the
The Garuda stone chariot and
Vitthala temple gopuram in 1856 (left)
Hampi site remained largely ignored until the mid-19th century,
when Alexander Greenlaw visited and photographed the site in 1856.
He created an archive of 60 calotype photographs of temples and royal
structures that were standing in 1856. These photographs were held in
a private collection in the United Kingdom and were not published
until 1980. They are the most valuable source of the
mid-19th-century state of
Hampi monuments to scholars.
A translation of the memoirs of Abdul Razzaq, a Persian envoy in the
court of Devaraya II (1424–1446), published in the early 1880s
described some monuments of the abandoned site. This translation, for
the first time, uses Arabic terms such as "zenana" to describe some of
Hampi monuments. Some of these terms became the names
thereafter. Alexander Rea, an officer of the Archaeological Survey
department of the
Madras Presidency within British India, published
his survey of the site in 1885. Robert Sewell published his
scholarly treatise A Forgotten Empire in 1900, bringing
the widespread attention of scholars. The growing interest led Rea
and his successor Longhurst to clear and repair the
Hampi group of
The site is significant historically and archaeologically, for the
Vijayanagara period and before. The Archaeological Survey of India
continues to conduct excavations in the area.
Hampi is located in hilly terrain formed by granite boulders  The
Hampi monuments comprising the
UNESCO world heritage site are a subset
of the wider-spread
Vijayanagara ruins. Almost all of the monuments
were built between 1336 and 1570 CE during the
The site has about 1,600 monuments and covers 41.5 square kilometres
(16.0 sq mi).
Hampi site has been studied in three broad zones; the first has
been named the "sacred centre" by scholars such as
Burton Stein and
othersl; the second is referred to as the "urban core" or the
"royal centre"; and the third constitutes the rest of metropolitan
Vijayanagara. The sacred centre, alongside the river, contains the
oldest temples with a history of pilgrimage and monuments pre-dating
Vijayanagara empire. The urban core and royal centre have over
sixty ruined temples beyond those in the sacred centre, but the
temples in the urban core are all dated to the
The urban core also includes public utility infrastructure such as
roads, an aqueduct, water tanks, mandapa, gateways and markets,
monasteries[note 2] This distinction has been assisted by some
seventy-seven stone inscriptions.
Most of the monuments are Hindu; the temples and the public
infrastructure such as tanks and markets include reliefs and artwork
Hindu deities and themes from
Hindu texts. There are
Jain temples and monuments and a Muslim mosque and tomb.
The architecture is built from the abundant local stone; the dominant
style is Dravidian, with roots in the developments in
Hindu arts and
architecture in the second half of the 1st millennium in the Deccan
region. It also included elements of the arts that developed
Hoysala Empire rule in the south between the 11th and 14th
century such as in the pillars of Ramachandra temple and ceilings of
some of the Virupaksha temple complex.[note 3] The architects also
adopted an Indo-Islamic style in a few monuments, such as the Queen's
bath and Elephant stables, which
UNESCO says reflects a "highly
evolved multi-religious and multi-ethnic society".
Virupaksha temple at Hampi
Virupaksha temple and market complex
The Virupaksha temple is the oldest shrine, the principal destination
for pilgrims and tourists, and remains an active
site. Parts of the Shiva, Pampa and
Durga temples existed in the
11th-century; it was extended during the
Vijayanagara era. The
temple is a collection of smaller temples, a regularly repainted,
50-metre (160 ft) high gopuram, a
Hindu monastery dedicated to
Advaita Vedanta tradition, a water tank (Manmatha), a
community kitchen, other monuments and a 750 metres
(2,460 ft)-long ruined stone market with a monolithic Nandi
shrine on the east end.
The temple faces eastwards, aligning the sanctums of the
Pampa Devi temples to the sunrise; a large gopuram marks its entrance.
The superstructure is a pyramidal tower with pilastered storeys on
each of which is artwork including erotic sculptures. The gopuram
leads into a rectangular court that ends in another, smaller gopuram
dated to 1510 CE. To its south side is a 100-column hall with
Hindu-related reliefs on all four sides of each pillar. Connected
to this public hall is a community kitchen, a feature found in other
Hampi temples. A channel is cut into the rock to deliver water
to the kitchen and the feeding hall. The courtyard after the small
gopuram has dipa-stambha (lamp pillar) and Nandi.
The courtyard after the small gopuram leads to the main mandapa of the
Shiva temple, which consists of the original square mandapa and a
rectangular extension composed of two fused squares and sixteen piers
built by Krishnadevaraya. The ceiling of the open hall above the
mandapa is painted, showing the
Shaivism legend relating to
Parvati marriage; another section shows the legend of Rama-Sita
Vaishnavism tradition. A third section depicts the legend
of the love god Kama shooting an arrow at
Shiva to get him interested
in Parvati; and the fourth section shows the Advaita
Vidyaranya being carried in a procession. According to George Michell
and other scholars, the details and colour hues suggest all the
ceiling paintings are from a 19th-century renovation, and the themes
of the original paintings are unknown. The mandapa pillars
have outsized yalis, mythical animal melding the features of a horse,
lion and other animals with an armed warrior riding it—a
The sanctum of the temple has a mukha-linga; a
Shiva linga with a face
embossed with brass. The Virupaksha temple also has smaller
shrines for two aspects of Parvati-Pampa and Bhuvaneshwari to the
north of the main sanctum. The compound has a northern gopura,
smaller than the eastern gopura, that opens to the Manmatha tank and a
pathway to the river with stone reliefs related to the Ramayana.
To the west of this tank are shrines of
Shaktism and Vaishnavism
traditions, such as those for
Some of the shrines on this pilgrim's path were whitewashed in the
19th century under orders of the British India officer F.W. Robinson,
who sought to restore the Virupaksha temple complex; whitewashing of
this cluster of historic monuments has continued as a tradition.
According to local tradition, the Virupaksha is the only temple that
continued to be a gathering place of Hindus and frequented by pilgrims
after the destruction of
Hampi in 1565. The temple attracts large
crowds; an annual fête with a chariot procession to mark the marriage
of Virupaksha and Pampa is held in spring, as is the solemn festival
of Maha Shivaratri.
The ruins of
Krishna temple, market,
Narasimha and linga
Krishna temple, also called Balakrishna temple, on the other side
of Hemakuta hill, is about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) south of
Virupaksha temple. It is dated to 1515 CE; this part of the Hampi
complex is called Krishnapura in inscriptions. In front of the
ruined temple is a long market street, also referred to locally as the
bazaar. Between the colonnaded stone shop ruins is a broad road that
allowed chariots to transport goods to and from the market, and hosted
ceremonial functions and festive celebrations. To the north of this
road and middle of the market is a large Pushkarani—a public
utility-stepped water tank with an artistic pavilion in its centre.
Next to the tank is a public hall (mandapa) for people to sit.
Shiva linga (left) and fierce Yoga-
Narasimha monoliths carved in-situ.
Narasimha is damaged, his pedestal has burn marks.
The temple opens to the east; it has a gateway with reliefs of all ten
Vishnu starting with
Matsya at the bottom. Inside is the
ruined temple for
Krishna and small, ruined shrines for goddesses.
The temple compound is layered into mandapas, including an outer and
an inner enclosure. The compound has two gopuram entrances. Inside, a
25 (5x5)-bay open mandapa leads to a 9 (3x3)-bay enclosed mandapa.
The original image of Balakrishna (baby Krishna) in its sanctum is now
in a Chennai museum. A modern road passes in front of the eastern
gopura, linking Kamalapuram to Hampi. The western gopuram has friezes
of battle formation and soldiers.
South of the
Krishna temple's exterior are two adjacent shrines, one
containing the largest monolithic
Linga and the other with the
largest monolithic Yoga-
Narasimha avatar of
Vishnu in Hampi. The 3
metres (9.8 ft)
Linga stands in water in a cubical chamber
and has three eyes sketched on its top. South of this is the shrine
for a 6.7 metres (22 ft)-high Narasimha—the man-lion avatar of
Vishnu—seated in a yoga position. The
Narasimha monolith originally
had goddess Lakshmi with him, but it shows signs of extensive damage
and a carbon-stained floor—evidence of attempts to burn the shrine
down. The statue has been cleaned and parts of the shrine have been
Left: Achyutaraya temple ruins; Right: market in front of the temple
Achyutaraya temple and market complex
The Achyutaraya temple, also called the Tiruvengalanatha temple, is
about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) east of Virupaksha temple and a part
of its sacred centre is close to the Tungabhadra River. It is referred
to be in Achyutapura in inscriptions and is dated to 1534 CE. It is
one of the four largest complexes in Hampi. The temple is unusual
because it faced north. It is dedicated to Vishnu. In Vijayanagara
times, the temple was traditionally approached from the river, first
past a ceremonial tank then along the market street with a broad road.
The temple had an outer gopuram leading into a courtyard with a
100-column hall and an inner gopuram leading to the Vishnu
temple. On each side of each pillar in the 100-column hall are
reliefs of avatars of Vishnu; other deities such as Shiva, Surya,
Durga; scenes of daily life—rishi, amorous couples, jokers; people
in yoga asanas; people in namaste poses; and Vijayanagara
The temple gateway shows the
Vijayanagara dynastic emblems; a boar
from Varaha, a sword, the sun and the moon. The temple and the market
street are ruined but their layout suggests it was a major market with
streets provided for chariot traffic.
Vitthala temple and market complex
Vitthala temple gopuram and market.
Vitthala temple and market complex is over 3 kilometres
(1.9 mi) north-east of the Virupaksha temple near the banks of
the Tungabhadra River. It is the most artistically sophisticated Hindu
temple in Hampi, and is part of the sacred centre of Vijayanagara. It
is unclear when the temple complex was built, and who built it; most
scholars date it to a period of construction in the early-to-mid-16th
century. The inscriptions include male and female names,
suggesting that the complex was built by multiple sponsors. The temple
was dedicated to Vitthala, a form of
Krishna also called Vithoba.
The temple opens to the east, has a square plan and features an
entrance gopuram with two side gopurams. The main temple stands in the
middle of a paved courtyard and several subsidiary shrines, all
aligned to the east.
The Garuda shrine in the form of stone chariot at
Vitthala temple has a Garuda shrine in the form of a stone chariot
in the courtyard; it is an often-pictured symbol of Hampi. Above the
chariot is a tower, which was removed during the late 19th-century
restorations. In the front of the stone chariot is a large, square,
open-pillared, axial sabha mandapa, or community hall. The mandapa
has four sections, two of which are aligned with the temple sanctum.
The mandapa has 56 carved stone beams of different diameters, shape,
length and surface finish that produces musical sounds when struck;
according to local traditional belief, this hall was used for public
celebrations of music and dancing.
The mandapa links to an enclosed pradakshina patha for walking around
the sanctum. Around this axial mandapa are (clockwise from east); the
Garuda shrine, the Kalyana mandapa (wedding ceremonies), the
100-columned mandapa, the Amman shrine and the Utsav mandapa (festival
hall). The walled enclosure covers aboput 1.3 hectares (3.2 acres)
with colonnaded verandahs lining the compound walls. In the south-east
corner is a kitchen with a roof window (clerestory).
Outside the temple compound, to its east-south-east, is a colonnaded
market street almost one kilometre (0.62 mi) long; all of which
is now in ruins. To the north is another market and a south-facing
shrine with reliefs of
Ramayana scenes, Mahabharata scenes and of
Vaishnava saints. The north street ended in a temple honouring the
Hindu philosopher Ramanuja. The region around the Vitthala
temple was called Vitthalapura. It hosted a Vaishnava matha
(monastery), designed as a pilgrimage centre centred around the Alvar
tradition. It was also a centre for craft production according to
Hemakuta hill monuments
The Hemakuta hill lies between the Virupaksha temple complex to the
north and the
Krishna temple to the south. It is a collection of
modestly sized monuments that are the best-preserved examples of
Vijayanagara and early-
Vijayanagara temples and construction. The
site has several important inscriptions, is easily accessible and
provides views of the some parts of
Hampi and the fertile,
agricultural valley that separates the sacred centre from the urban
core with its royal centre.
Hemakuta hill temples
The hill has more than thirty small-to-moderate-sized temples,
together with water cisterns, gateways and secular pavilions. They
latest examples are dated to the early 14th century. Some of
the structures are differently-sized prototypes of temples or
mandapas, assembled from blocks of stones. Others are completed
monuments of different designs, such as the Phamsana style. Two
temple groups in this style look similar; each has a triple vimana
consisting of square sanctums with each set connected to its own
shared square mandapa. The towers (shikaras) on these are
pyramidal granite structures consisting of eleven stacked, shrinking
squares and a top in the Deccan-style square kalasha finial. Both
Shiva temples with triple linga; early sources misidentified
Jain temples because of their simple exterior and interior
walls. One of these groups has a historically important inscription
that records that Kampila built the monument in the early 14th
century. This inscription links
Hampi with the
Kampili kingdom and
suggests an association of the Kampili history with that of
Vijayanagara Empire that followed it. The style of temples on the
Hemakuta hill suggest it may have been a study centre for
experimenting with different types of
Hindu temples. The styles
present include those of the Chalukya period, the Rashtrakuta period
and later periods. It may also have been the template for the original
Virupaksha temple, which was later greatly expanded with gopuram,
mandala and other additions. A similar monument dedicated to
Narasimha, the man-lion avatar of Vishnu, is located east of Hampi; an
inscription near it states that it was operating in 1379 CE.
The Hemakuta hill also has monuments with two monolithic Ganesha; the
Ganesha and the Sasivekalu Ganesha. The Kadalekalu
Ganesha, named after Ganesha's gram-shaped belly, is in the middle of
Hampi's sacred centre on the east side of the hill near Matanga. A
colonnaded, open mandapa leads to the sanctum, which houses a
monolithic image of
Ganesha more than 4.5 metres (15 ft) high,
which was carved in-situ from extant rock. Ganesha's tusk and other
parts have been damaged, but the left hand—which holds a rice cake
treat with his trunk reaching out for it—has survived.
The Sasivekalu Ganesha, named after Ganesha's mustard seed-shaped
belly, is near the
Krishna temple south-west of the Kadalekalu
Ganesha. It is a 2.4 metres (7.9 ft)-high monolith that was also
carved in-situ from extant rock. The Sasivekalu
Ganesha is carved with
his mother Parvati, in whose lap he sits. She is only visible from the
back of the statue. The monument is housed inside an open-pillared
mandapa; the left hand and tusk have been damaged.
Rama temple; Right: pillars inside
Rama temple, referred to as the Ramachandra temple in
inscriptions, occupied the western part of the urban core in the royal
centre section of Hampi. This temple was dedicated to
Rama of the
Ramayana fame, and an avatar of Vishnu. It was the ceremonial temple
for the royal family. The temple is dated to the early 15th century
and is attributed to Devaraya I. The temple's outer walls portray
Hindu Mahanavami (Dasara) and the spring
Holi festival procession
and celebrations in parallel bands of artwork. The lowest band
shows marching elephants, above it are horses led by horsemen, then
soldiers celebrated by the public, then dancers and musicians, with a
top layer depicting a boisterous procession of the general public. The
depiction mirrors the description of festivals and processions in
surviving memoirs of Persians and Portuguese who visited the
Left: Outer walls of the Hazara
Rama temple show
Jain tirthankar relief inside the temple.
10<<Jainism in Vijayanagar empire and Hoysala
The inner walls of the temple has friezes containing the most
extensive narration of the
Hindu epic Ramayana. The temple has
an entrance mandapa and a yajna ceremony hall, whose ceiling is
designed to ventilate fumes and smoke through the roof. Inside the
main mandapa are four intricately carved pillars in the Hoysala style;
these carving include depictions of Rama,
Durga as Mahishasuramardini of
Shaktism and Shiva-Parvati
of Shaivism. Images are missing from the square sanctum. The
temple has a smaller shrine with friezes depicting the legends of
This ruined temple complex is well known for its thousands of carvings
and inscriptions, its elaborate frescoes depicting
Hindu theosophy and
its sprawling courtyard laid with gardens.
Kodandarama temple and riverside monuments
The Kodandarama temple complex lies near the Tungabhadra River, and is
north of Achyutaraya temple. The temple overlooks Chakratirtha, where
the Tungabhadra turns northwards towards the Himalayas. The river
banks, considered holy, accommodate a Vijayanagara-era ghat and
mandapa facilities for bathing. In front of the temple is a dipa
stambha (lighting pillar) under a Pipal tree, and inside is a sanctum
dedicated to Rama, Sita,
Lakshmana and Hanuman. Nearby, and
continuing until Kotitirtha to its north, are a number of smaller
shrines, dedicated to Vitthala, Anjaneya,
Shiva linga and other
deities. On the rock face are reliefs of Anantashayana Vishnu
Vishnu creating the cosmic cycle, Ranganatha), friezes
narrating the legends of
Narasimha and Prahlada, and the twenty-four
Vishnu according to the Puranic tradition of Vaishnavism.
Near the river is a rock carved with Shaivism's 1,008 lingas.
Pattabhirama temple in
Pattabhirama temple complex
The Pattabhirama temple complex is in the southern suburban centre
outside the sacred centre and the urban core, about 500 metres
(550 yd) from the ASI
Hampi museum. It was at the nucleus of
economic and cultural activity of this suburb, now located north-east
of Kamalapura. The complex, also known as Varadevi Ammana Pattana, was
likely built in the early 16th century and dedicated to
avatar). The complex has a main temple, a colonnaded courtyard
inside an enclosure and a 64 (8x8 square)-pillared and roofed mandapa
in front of the sanctum. The complex and the sanctum face east; the
normal entrance was through the eastern gopura. The ruins
suggest the gopuram had six tiers. The Pattabhirama temple included a
100-pillared hall—likely a feeding hall—attached to the southern
wall of the enclosed compound. The pillars have reliefs depicting
Hindu themes which include gods, goddesses, a scene from a
yoga and namaste.
Mahanavami platform, public square complex
The Mahanavami platform, also called the "Great Platform", "Audience
Hall", "Dasara" or "Mahanavami Dibba" monument, is within a
7.5-hectare (19-acre) enclosure at one of the highest points inside
the royal centre (urban core). It has ceremonial structures.
It is mentioned in the memoirs of foreigners who visited Vijayanagara,
some calling it the "House of Victory". The largest monument in
this complex has three ascending square stages leading to a large,
square platform that likely had a wooden mandapa above it. This was
burnt down during the destruction of Hampi.
Mahanavami platform monument
The two lower levels of the platform is made of granite. It has
reliefs—possibly a catalogue of 14th-century royal activities—and
lines of marching animals including elephants, horses and
camels. Reliefs on the south side show musicians and dancers,
including female stick-dancers. The third level reliefs show a battle
procession, couples and scenes of common citizens celebrating Holi
(Vasantotsava) by throwing water at each other. Near the
great platform is an audience hall, which also probably had a wooden
pavilion, evidenced by 100 stone stubs; this too was burnt down.
South of the platform is an acqueduct leading water to large,
symmetrical, stepped tank made of granite that was excavated by
archaeologists in the 1980s. The complex has another large water
pool—possibly for water sports—a garden and various mandapa. there
is a ruined temple-like monument near the step tank.
One of the water tanks,
The Square Water Pavilion, also called the Queen's Bath, is in the
south-east of the royal centre. It has a pavilion, a water basin and a
method of moving fresh water to it and taking away wash water and
overflows. The basin is enclosed within an ornate, pillared, vaulted
bay. Nearby are ruins of the aqueduct. The modern name of
this building, the Queen's bath, is probably a misnomer because this
was a public bath for men and travellers. The building's
interior arches show influence of the Indo-Islamic style, reflecting
an era in which
Hindu and Muslim arts influenced each other in
Vijayanagara empire built an extensive water
infrastructure, some examples of which—including the
Manmatha tank near Virupaksha temple, which is dated to about the 9th
century—predates the Vijayanagara. According to an inscription
forund there, the Manmatha tank was upgraded and a
Durga shrine added
in 1199 CE. The inclusion of artwork at the tank, such as a
warrior fighting a lion, is dated to the 13th century, when Hoysalas
A stepped square water tank.
Hampi monuments include aqueducts to carry water to tanks and
other parts of the city, as well as drains and channels to remove
water overflow. For example, excavations in the 1980s near the
Mahanavami platform in the urban core revealed a large, square-stepped
tank that was fed by an aqueduct. The tanks were public
utilities; some were perhaps used for royal ceremonies.
Archaeological excavations in 1990 revealed twenty-three wells and
cisterns in the Hampi-
Vijayanagara metropolis. Of these, thirteen were
found outside the city walls in the suburbs, and ten inside. Of these
were twelve at roadsides, eight near temples, ten in residential areas
and two were used for irrigation within the urban core. More water
structures were found in Daroji valley for agriculture. According to
archaeologists Kathleen Morrison and Carla Sinopoli, the
infrastructure was for the use of travellers, rituals, domestic use
Fountains and community kitchen
Several major temples in
Hampi have an embedded kitchen and
100-or-more-pillared feeding halls.
Hampi also had a dedicated
public Bhojana shala (house of food) where numerous thali (dish) were
carved in series in a rock on both sides of a water channel. One
example is found near an octagonal fountain in the south of the royal
centre; according to epigraphical sources, this
shala was a utada kaluve or "canal connected with eating".
Elephant stables and Zenana enclosure
In the east of the royal centre lies the Gajashala, or elephant
stables, which consist of eleven square chambers aligned north-south.
The openings to the stables are arched; above ten chambers are
alternating fluted and plain domes. In the middle of the stables are
stairs to reach the roof.
Lotus Mahal (left) and elephant stables: syncretic style monuments.
The Zenana enclosure is close to the elephant stables; it was thus
named in a Persian memoir whose 19th-century translation was an early
Hampi ruins for many. The name "Zenana" is a
misnomer, states George Michell, because it gives the impression that
the women of Vijayanagar royalty lived here; its design and location
makes that highly unlikely. The Zenana enclosure contains the
Lotus Mahal, the latter being a two-storeyed pavilion in the royal
centre. The Lotus Mahal combines a symmetrical, square, Hindu
mandala design with lobed arches, vaults and domes of the Indo-Islamic
style. Its basement and pyramidal towers are based on
architecture. Like almost all of the structures in Hampi's royal
centre, this monument has no inscriptions nor epigraphs mentioning it
and therefore dating it and establishing its function with evidence
has been difficult. The premises also houses a small structure called
Queen's bath which has no significnce as the structure has almost
disappeared leaving only a basement level. The Lotus Mahal and other
structures in the
Hampi urban core, however, were not built with
Muslim patronage, unlike the tombs in the various Muslim quarters of
the city. These buildings reflect the assimilative approach of the
Hindu rulers. Lotus Mahal looks like a syncretic,
congested space and its purpose is unclear. Speculations include it
being a council hall.
Hindu temples and monuments
In the sacred centre near the southern banks of the Tungabhadra River
and close to the
Vitthala temple complex, are gateways and a monument
now called the King's Balance. The latter is similar to
those found at the entrances of South Indian
Hindu temples for the
tula-purush-dāna or thulabharam ceremonies in which a person gives a
gift by weight equal to, or greater than, their body
Vijayanagara rulers built forts, fortified gateways and
watchtowers after their dynasty was founded from the ruins of a war
and for security from repeated raids and invasion. Hindu-style
corbelled arches are the most common gateways and watchtowers in
Hampi.[note 4] One such gateway is located south-east of Ganagitti
Jain temple; it incorporate a central barbican wall designed to
entrap and confuse a stranger aiming for a surprise, while frequent
visitors knew the three changes of direction before the gateway. These
Hindu monuments are identifiable by a legendary Hindu
character incorporated into them, such as of Bhima of the
Mahabharata's Pandava fame. Another such gate is found on the
north-east road to Talarighat
Hindu monument and the Vitthala
Hampi site has over 1,600 surviving ruins—mostly Hindu—spread
over a wide area. Other significant monuments include a temple near
the octagonal bath for Saraswati, a
Hindu goddess of knowledge and
music; a temple in the suburbs for Ananthasayana Vishnu; an Uddana
Virbhadra temple for
Shiva and Vishnu; a shrine for Kali, the fierce
Durga unusually shown holding a ball of rice and a ladle;
an underground temple in the royal centre; a
Sugriva cave temple;
the Matanga hill monuments; the Purandaradasa temple dedicated to the
scholar musician famed for the
Carnatic music tradition; the
Chandrashekhara temple for
Shiva near the Queen's bath monument; and
the Malyavanta hill dedicated to Rama-Sita-
Lakshmana and Shiva. The
Malyavanta hill features several shrines including the Raghunatha
temple and a row of
Shiva lingas carved in stone.
Jain temples at
Hampi includes Hemkut
Ratnantraykut, Parsvanath Charan and Ganagitti
Jain temples. Most of
the idols are now missing from these temples, which were built in the
Ganagitti temple complex
Jain temple is near Bhima's gate in the south-east of
the urban core section of Hampi. In front of it is a monolithic lamp
pillar. The temple faced north; it is dated to 1385 CE, by
commander-in-cheif Irugappa, during the rule of
Hindu king Harihara
II, based on an inscription in the temple. It is dedicated to
Kunthunatha and has plain walls, a pillared mandapa and a
square sanctum from which the Jina's statue is missing. There are
capitals on the pillars and the doorways have decoration. Over the
sanctum is a Dravidian-style, narrowing square, pyramidal tower. Other
monuments in the temple compound are in ruins.
Jain temples and monuments
A cluster of
Hindu temples are co-located about 150 meters
(160 yd) east of the elephant stables. One north-facing temple is
Parshvanatha Tirthankara. It was built by King Devaraya
II and dates to 1426 CE, per an inscription in the temple. In front of
the temple are two ruined temples; one of
Shiva and the other
dedicated to Mahavira.
Jain Tirthankaras are also included in
Ahmad Khan tomb in Hampi
Hampi site includes a Muslim quarter with Islamic tombs, two
mosques and a cemetery. These are neither in the sacred centre nor in
the royal centre of the
Hampi site. Some Muslim monuments are a part
of the urban core while others are in the suburbs where most
Vijayanagara residents lived. These are in the north-east valley of
the urban core, where settlements of Hindus and Jains are also found.
Much of this region is deeply silted and the soil conceals abandoned
temples, roads, water tanks, gateways and residential
Ahmad Khan mosque and tomb
There is a Muslim monument in the south-east of the urban core on the
road from Kamalapura to Anegondi, before Turuttu canal in the
irrigated valley. This monument was first built in 1439 by Ahmad Khan,
a Muslim officer in the army of
Hindu king Devaraya II. The monuments
include a mosque, an octagonal well and a tomb. The mosque lacks a
dome and is a pillared pavilion, while the tomb has a dome and
arches. Other Muslim monuments and a graveyard were added later
near the Ahmad Khan's legacy.
Hampi ruins, 19th century
Krishna temple in 1868
Rama temple in 1868
Vitthala temple in 1880
King's balance in 1858
In the memoirs of Niccolò de' Conti, an Italian merchant and
traveller who visited
Hampi about 1420, the city had an estimated
circumference of 60 miles (97 km) and it enclosed agriculture and
settlements in its fortifications. In 1442, Abdul Razzaq, who visited
from Persia, described it as a city with seven layers of forts, with
outer layers for agriculture, crafts and residence, the inner third to
seventh layers very crowded with shops and bazaars (markets).
In 1520, Domingo Paes, a Portuguese traveller, visited
a part of trade contingent from Portuguese Goa. He wrote his memoir as
Chronica dos reis de Bisnaga, in which he stated
Vijayanagara was "as
large as Rome, and very beautiful to the sight ... the best
provided city in the world". According to Paes, "there are
many groves within it, in the gardens of the houses, many conduits of
water which flow into the midst of it, and in places there are
Cesare Federici, an Italian merchant and traveller, visited a few
decades after the 1565 defeat and collapse of the
According to Sinopoli, Johansen and Morrison, Federici described it as
a very different city. He wrote, "the citie of Bezeneger
(Hampi-Vijayanagara) is not altogether destroyed, yet the houses stand
still, but emptie, and there is dwelling in them nothing, as is
reported, but Tygres and other wild beasts".
The historian Will Durant, in his Our Oriental Heritage: The Story of
Civilization recites the story of
Vijayanagara and calls its conquest
and destruction a discouraging tale. He writes, "its evident moral is
that civilization is a precarious thing, whose delicate complex of
order and liberty, culture and peace" may at any time be overthrown by
war and ferocious violence.[note 5]
Krishna Deva Raya
^ The destruction and burning down of the city is evidenced by the
quantities of charcoal, the heat-cracked basements and burnt
architectural pieces found by archaeologists in Vijayanagara
^ According to Anila Verghese and Dieter Eigner, literary and
epigraphical data evidence the existence of Advaita-Smarta mathas
(monasteries), as well as Shaiva and Vaishnava monasteries – both
Vaishnavism and Dvaita
Vaishnavism mathas. All these were
supported by the
Vijayanagara rulers. However, of all these only
Advaita and Shaiva survived after the collapse of Vijayanagara.
^ The Deccan region near Hampi, particularly in
Pattadakal – another
world heritage site, Badami,
Aihole to its north and stretching
further south towards
Halebidu had a rich tradition of
Hindu temples with a fusion of North Indian and
South Indian styles. This was abruptly terminated, state Meister and
Dhaky, after the first quarter of the 14th-century after the
devastating invasions from the Delhi Sultanate. The South Indian
artists and architects effected a recovery in
mostly the Dravidian style.
Hampi builders also included Islamic style arches in fortified
gateways at some places.
^ Hampi's history, ruins and temples made it an early site for offbeat
tourism in the 1960s and after. Tourists would gather on its hills and
midst its ruins, to hold parties and spiritual retreats, and these
have been called "
Hampi Hippies" and
Hampi as the "lost city" in some
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Group of monuments at Hampi.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Hampi.
Hampi Museum, Archaeological Survey of India
Group of Monuments at Hampi,
UNESCO World Heritage List
Vijayanagara Research Project, Penn Museum
Fields of Victory: Vijayanagara, Kathleen Morrison, UC Berkeley
Hampi - Exploring The Lost Empire
Indian state of Karnataka
Deva Raya II
Kingdom of Mysore
Unification of Karnataka
Veera Ballala II
Western Ganga dynasty
Cities and towns
Dams and Reservoirs
Kannada Sahitya Parishat
Kannada Sahitya Sammelana
Krishnaraja Wadiyar III
D. R. Bendre
K. S. Narasimhaswamy
M. Govinda Pai
D. V. Gundappa
G. S. Shivarudrappa
People and Society
Karnataka ethnic groups
List of people from Karnataka
Varnashilpi Venkatappa Award
World Heritage Sites in India
The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier
Great Himalayan National Park
Keoladeo National Park
Khajuraho Group of Monuments
Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks
Qutub Minar and its Monuments
Red Fort Complex
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Kaziranga National Park
Mahabodhi Temple Complex
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary
Sun Temple at Konark
Sundarbans National Park
Khangchendzonga National Park
Great Living Chola Temples
Group of Monuments at Hampi
Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram
Group of Monuments at Pattadakal
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Historic City of Ahmadabad
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
Churches and convents of Goa
Hill Forts of Rajasthan
Jantar Mantar of Jaipur
Rani ki vav
Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi
Historical Places in Karnataka
Archaeological sites in India
Gudiwada Dibba, Vizianagaram
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park
Rani ki vav
Jammu and Kashmir
Martand Sun Temple
Brahmagiri archaeological site
Kallur archaeological site
Anakkara megalithic necropolis
Vizhinjam rock caves
Talpur (archaeological site)
Subrahmanya Temple, Saluvankuppam
Hindu inscriptions and arts
Hindu architecture and art glossary
Bateshwar Madhya Pradesh
Teli ka Mandir
Hinduism by country
The above list of archaeological sites, inscriptions and temples is