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Hampi

Hampi
The Group of Monuments at Hampi represent the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara empire. This was a South Indian empire, dating from 1336 to 1646.

The buildings in the city are mostly built in the original native traditions of southern India, associated with the Hindu religion. Some of them show a certain amount of Islamic influence due the interaction with Islamic kingdoms.

Year Decision Comments
2006Removed from Danger list
1999In DangerIntegrity threats, construction of two cable-suspended bridges
1986 Inscribed Reasons for inscription
1984DeferredNeeds better definition
1983DeferredDeferred as conditions under which recommendation made not yet fulfilled



Visit January 2011

In preparation of this RTW-trip, my image of South India somehow blurred into one big temple experience (I do like temples, so no problem for me). Hampi however is much more: a complete city, stretching out over several kilometers. The monuments are in different states of repair, varying from complete ruins to active temples. The natural setting is magnificent, a quiet rural area dominated by a river and strangely shaped boulders.

I spent 1.5 days in total at the site. The first late afternoon I walked along the river to the Vittala temple - one of the finest excursions here. The view on the river and the boulders is breathtaking. One of the reasons that Hampi has been on the "In Danger" List for several years is that there were plans to build a bridge here. That certainly would spoil the view. The Vittala Temple is also the place where the sculpted chariot is located, the icon of this WHS.

The next day I started out on foot from the town of Kamalapuram. It lies just to the south of the Royal Enclosure. This is a vast area, with several highlights like the Stepped Tank, the lovely Lotus Mahal, the surprisingly luxurious Elephant's Stables and the Underground Siva Temple. It took about 4 hours to make my way up to Hampi Bazaar, visiting most of the sites along the route.

After lunch in Hampi, I took the ferry across to Virupapur Gaddi. This is a backpacker place in its most pure form, full of Israelis also (I even noticed a makeshift orthodox synagogue). I rented a bike there, and cycled in about 45 minutes to the village of Anegundi. According to the Lonely Planet, this is part of the WHS also. I'm not sure, as reports on the Unesco-site are conflicting about this (there's a very crude map drawn by hand which seems to suggest that nothing on the other side of the river is within the designated area). Well, I liked cycling there, very quiet and Anegundi is a sleepy village that's worth a look. It has several temples. They look of a more recent date than the ones at Hampi, but maybe that's because most of them are still in use.

Hampi is "worth a journey" for everyone, it somewhat resembles Angkor in rural atmosphere and size (though the latter has more imposing single monuments). Despite its clashes with Unesco about the management of the site, I found the site a pleasure to visit - well-signposted, quiet, clean and dozens of very different sights to see.

More photos can be found in the Picture Gallery

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Reviews

Paul Tanner (UK):
If you are liable to get “Templed out” by a surfeit of historic ruins it could happen to you here! The site consists of the monumental remains of an entire city from the 14th century covering some 25 sq kms and takes at least a full day to achieve a reasonably “comprehensive” visit. Some will want to stay several days but 1 was enough for us – you will know how “fast” you like to travel! A few of the structures are of particular architectural/artistic significance but I guess what makes the site “special” is its location within a striking boulder-strewn landscape and a very relaxed uncrowded atmosphere. It appears to be something of an R+R destination among the back-packer community and I can imagine people all over India agreeing to meet up at the Mango Tree restaurant – we felt very old there! It is also within reach of package tour overnighters from Goa, but the place seems big enough to take them all. And yes, we found it a worthwhile visit, if not of the most memorable of our Indian WHS.

You will need to consider how you are going to cover these distances – are you comfortable walking in the sun or do you want to rent a bike/motor bike etc. Some slightly incongruous electric vehicles have recently been acquired by the management authority to transport tourists to/from the Vitthala Temple but, to us, only seemed geared to taking them to/from their car park!! We had a car but there was still quite a lot of walking and, in retrospect, we perhaps dallied too long over our breakfast in Hospet, some 10 kms away. There is a premium on getting to the site early before the heat of the day!! If you only have a day and “completeness” is important to you then a bit of planning is worthwhile – and possibly even having a guide (who can also help with the meaning of all those Hindu carvings!). Having started at around 9.30 we were rushing to get into the Queens Baths as they closed at 5pm! There are at least 5 main temple complexes plus some significant other buildings such as the Elephant stables (photo) to fit in.

Most of the site is “free to enter” but you will need to pay the R250 foreigners entry fee to get into the highlight temple complexes. The operational Virupaksha temple also has its own separate entry fee. As well as the monumental structures there are remains of several covered markets and one has become ”Hampi Bazaar” where people live and operate small guest houses, restaurants, tourist shops etc – it has an interesting photographic museum with old pictures of Hampi. Some restoration has taken place since those days but many of the structures still seem in considerable need of some TLC. The main temple within the “highlight” Vitthala complex was “closed” for restoration – or rather possibly to prevent bits falling onto tourists as nothing much seemed to be happening. Other buildings were supported from behind by ugly breeze-block buttresses and the revolving wheels on the iconic “Chariot” had been cemented to prevent further damage by tourists. Hampi was on the “In Danger” list from 1999-2006 but mainly because of plans to build bridges over the river and unsuitable development within the area - particularly at Hampi Bazaar. The Monitoring Report of 2007 seemed remarkably relaxed about the state of the structures themselves and concentrated on the Management Plan, the new shuttle bus service etc.
Date posted: April 2011
Abhishek Math (India):
The bustling city of the past vijayanagara empire,which was very rich & powerful in every aspects in those times.
Now around 21 kms.its remain are scattered.
there are variety of temples scattered in and around hampi,the major temples include
1.Hazara ramaswamy temple
2.Virupaksha temple
3.Vijaya vittala temple
One has to definitely visit Hampi for that extra fun & thrill u get there
Date posted: November 2009
hampi.co.in (India):
While much is being said about Hampi, the ground realities and hardships faced by the people who live there or the people who visit to have not changed at all.

The Government is yet to improve roads, sanitation, hygenic food and water that is has been promising year after year. Ironically, the Government, unable to improve the conditions on ground, is planning to start heli-tours so that people are not exposed to the facts on the ground...
Date posted: April 2009
shivachandra (India):
The city, which cherished the golden period during Vijayanagar kingdom, now left with remnants/rudimentries which reflect the amazing period during the rule of Great legendary king Krishnadevaraya. It is really great experience going down the royal path under scorching heat .....a journey, one has to relish in life time about the great Kingdom.
Date posted: September 2008
Rita Dias (Bahrain) (Bahrain):
Anyone visiting India should visit Hampi,the city still stands with glory and you can feel peace in that place, away from the busy life in Pune/Goa. I am happy that the ruins are still taken care and hope there are more people to see this beautiful country. I liked the sun set point and the dam. I enjoyed my trip to Hampi. The tour was organised by Traveland from Goa Contact Person : Lina D'Souza Tel : 0091-832276196 - very well organised. Check Traveland website for more details and tours : www.travelandgoa.com . Thank you for suggesting this wonderful place with I very much enjoyed
 
Chetak (India):
Hampi, there are a few words in the English Vocabulary to describe the wonder of Hampi. It is to be experienced rather than described. The ruins are scattered over a large area and every ruin every defaced statue speaks volumes about the bygone grandeur. Literally one an feel the importance of the place as it still reverberates with a kind of energy that one can feel onlyin such places like Hampi Macha Pichu or Borbudur. It saddens you to a certain extent to know what level of destruction would have been required to reduce this wonder to its current pitiful yet majestic state. A must visit for every student of history

For more info visit this site
 
Paul Burns (UK):
Hampi is an extraordinary place made more stunning by the vast collection of buildings, structures and carvings. The trip to and from Goa to see it was exhausting but so worthwhile. Not to be missed!
 
Swamy Patil (India):
The Capital City of Vijayanagar Kingdom which has seen the Golden time in its days where the Gold were sold open in the market just like any vegetable.
The City still stands with glory and its silence talks to each of its admirers. It speaks ,just listen. Listen to the story of Legendary King, Listen to the art of sculpture, listen to the rich tradition and many more. Each of the person who visits there will find a sort of peace in his mind.
The city has served the mankind in manyways since ages and is still a big treasure.
Visiting hampi once for any person is like after walking in sun for long gets a dip in a fresh stream of river.
Its recommended to visit once in a life.
 


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