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Hampi ( Hampe) is a village in northern Karnataka state, India. It is located within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Predating the city of Vijayanagara, it continues to be an important religious centre, housing the Virupaksha Temple, as well as several other monuments belonging to the old city. The ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi.[1]



The name is derived from Pampa, which is the old name of the Tungabhadra River on whose banks the city is built. The name "Hampi" is an anglicized version of the Kannada Hampe (derived from Pampa). Over the years, it has also been referred to as Vijayanagara and Virupakshapura (from Virupaksha, the patron deity of the Vijayanagara rulers).


A Hindu temple K liya-Mardan decoration at Hampi.
A Hindu temple K liya-Mardan decoration at Hampi.

Hampi is identified with the historical Kishkindha, the Vanara (monkey) kingdom mentioned in the Ramayana. The first historical settlements in Hampi date back to 1 CE.

Hampi formed one of the core areas of the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire from 1336 to 1565, when it was finally laid siege to by the Deccan Muslim confederacy.[1] Hampi was chosen because of its strategic location, bounded by the torrential Tungabhadra river on one side and surrounded by defensible hills on the other three sides.

The site is significant historically and architecturally. The topography abounds with large stones which have been used to make statues of Hindu deities. The Archaeological Survey of India continues to conduct excavations in the area, to discover additional artifacts and temples.


Aerial view
Aerial view
Zanana Enclosure
Zanana Enclosure
Hampi is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra river. It is 353 km from Bangalore and 74 km away from Bellary. Hosapete (Hospet), 13 km away, is the nearest railway head. Mantralayam, which is also on the banks of Tunghabhadra, in AP is some 150 km away.The principal industries of the village are agriculture, the support of the Virupaksha temple and some other local holy places in the vicinity, and tourism. The annual Vijayanagar Festival is organized by the Government of Karnataka in November.

Due to the presence of several mineral deposits in this region (iron-ore, manganese), mining has been going on for many years now. But a recent boom for the supply of iron-ore in the international market has led to increased levels of mining in this district. The World Heritage Site at Hampi as well as the Tungabhadra Dam is now under threat.

Important sites at and near Hampi

Vitthala temple with musical pillars, Hoysala style multigonal base Hampi
Vitthala temple with musical pillars, Hoysala style multigonal base Hampi
Thungabhadra River in Hampi

  • Achyutaraya Temple/Tiruvengalanatha Temple
  • Virupapur Gudda
  • Anegondi
  • Anjeyanadri Hill
  • Aqueducts and Canals
  • Archaeological Museum at Kamalapura
  • Badava Linga
  • Chandramauleshwar Temple
  • The Kings balance
  • The Underground Temple
  • Tungabhadra River
  • Uddana Veerabhadra temple
  • Sri Lakshmi Narasimha
  • Virupaksha Temple
  • Vittala temple
  • Yeduru Basavanna
  • Yantrodharaka Anjaneya temple
  • Zenana enclosure
  • Virupapura
  • Madhavan Palace with more than 1,000,000 pillars
  • Sasivekalu Ganesha
  • Elephant stables
  • Lotus temple
  • Hazara Rama Temple


Hampi has various notable Hindu temples, some of which are still active places of worship. Among the most notable are:

  • Virupaksha Temple known as the Pampapathi temple, it is a Shiva temple situated in the Hampi Bazaar. It predates the founding of the Vijayanagar empire. The temple has a high tower at its entrance. Apart from Shiva, the temple complex also contains shrines of the Hindu goddesses Bhuvaneshwari and Pampa.
  • Hazara Rama Temple Complex : This ruined temple complex is well known for elaborate frescoes from Hindu Mythologies and a sprawling courtyard well-laid with gardens. It is well known for more than many thousand carvings & inscriptions on & in the temple depicting the mighty story of Ramayana. It has about 1000 carvings & inscriptions depicting the story of Ramayana.
  • Krishna Temple Complex : This temple complex has been recently excavated through the last decade, and restoration work is still in progress.
  • Vittala Temple Complex : This is perhaps the most famous and well-known among the ruins of Hampi. The iconic stone chariot in the vicinity of this temple complex is a symbol of Karnataka Tourism. Off late, floodlights have been installed in the temple complex that provide illumination at dusk, thereby adding to the grandeur of the architecture.

Global Heritage Fund efforts

Non-profit organization Global Heritage Fund (GHF), in partnership with the Hampi Foundation, Cornell University, and the State of Karnataka, has been actively involved in the conservation of Hampi's unique cultural heritage. After producing a master conservation plan for the site of Chandramouleshwara Temple, GHF's efforts have moved to "stabilization of the temple and its associated structural features."[2]


Image:Hampi aug09 22.jpg |Virupraksha Temple tower Image:Hampi aug09 56.jpg |Farms as seen from Anjeyanadri Hill Image:Hampi aug09 111.jpg |Hemakuta complex Image:Hampi Walls.jpg |Remains of Old City Image:Hampi aug09 226.jpg |Lotus Mahal at the Zenana Enclosure Image:Hampi aug09 243.jpg |Stepped Tank near the Underground Temple Image:Hampi aug09 234.jpg |Elephant stables Image:Hampi_chariot.jpg |The stone chariot at Vittala complex Image:Ya Temple.jpg |Stray Temples Image:Hampi aug09 45.jpg |The remains of a giant Bukka's Aqueduct located near Anegondi Image:Old man in front of a temple in Hampi.JPG|Old man in front of Vittala temple in Hampi Image:Sunset Hampi.jpg|Sunset at Hampi File:Hampi temples.jpg|Hampi temples File:Hampi evening.jpg|Hampi evening File:Hampi landscape.jpg|Hampi landscape File:Hampi rocky landscape.jpg|Hampi rocky landscape File:Hampi rocky landscape, evening.jpg|Hampi rocky landscape, evening File:Hampi, Mathanga hill.jpg|Hampi, Mathanga hill File:Hampi Sunrise.jpg|View from Mathanga hill


See also


  1. a b
  2. Global Heritage Fund - Where We Work - Hampi, India Accessed on 2009-04-24.


  • T.S. Satyan, Hampi: The fabled capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, (Directorate of Archaeology and Museums), Govt. of Karnataka, 1995
  • J.M. Fritz et al., New Light on Hampi: Recent Research at Vijayanagara, (Performing Arts Mumbai, 2001) ISBN 81-85026-53-X
  • A.N. Longhurst, Hampi Ruins Described and Illustrated, (Laurier Books Ltd., 1998) ISBN 81-206-0159-9
  • The Ruins of Hampi:Travel Guide ISBN 81-7525-766-0

Karnataka State Gazetteer 1983.

External links

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