The medieval capital of the Vijaynagar empire, Hampi was once enormously wealthy and regarded as greater than Rome in the 15th century. It also held a monopoly of trade in spices and cotton. Today, the surreal boulder-strewn landscape, on the southern banks of the Tungabhadra river, is dotted with the impressive ruins of more than 500 monuments, including beautiful temples. The fortification’s walls enclose magnificent palaces, royal apartments and treasury buildings. With long walks amid the palace complexes and breathtaking views from hilltop shrines, the best way to enjoy this site is to explore on foot over a period of several days.
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Top things to do in Hampi
Fabrics and threads of Hampi
Close to Hampi you will find the enigmatic village of Sandur, the residents of which are almost entirely dedicated to the production of handicrafts. In the village, visit Kushala Kala Kendra, a non-profit organisation that aims to provide local jobs and preserve authentic craft techniques through education and tourism. Learn about embroidery, stone carving, cotton spinning and weaving through the work of the artisans.
Historical tales along the Tungabhadra River
Embark on a gentle hike to the mighty Tungabhadra river, passing through giant boulders, ruins of ancient temples and terrain once belonging to numerous civilizations and kingdoms. Spot the riverside boulders and hear about their connection to the great Indian epic, Ramayana. Witness the ruins of the magnificent Achutaraya temple and how it stood the test of time and multiple attacks by rival monarchs. The temple complex offers stunning views of the tranquil Tungabhadra river flowing softly through the rocky terrains. Observe the birdlife that thrives by the riverside and enjoy a beautiful sunset over the Virupaksha temple, which shines gloriously in the light of setting sun.
Tour of Hampi's mystical ruins
Hampi was once the capital of one of the largest Hindu empires. Founded by two Telugu princes in 1336, it reached the height of its power under Krishnadevaraya (1509-29), when it controlled nearly all of the peninsula south of the Krishna and Tungabhadra rivers. Of note is the Hampi bazaar and the Virupaksha temple, dating back to the 15th century and still used to this day. Equally impressive is Sulu bazaar; the 16th-century Vittala temple, one of south India's three world heritage monuments; and the Royal Enclosure Area which contains the impressive Queen's Bath, the Elephant Stables, and the fine Indo-Saracenic architecture of the Lotus Mahal. All of these mystical ruins are set in a lunar boulder-strewn landscape interspersed with groves of coconut palms.
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