Located in northern Karnataka, Hampi is known as the City of Ruins, which was once the royal capital of Vijayanagara Empire. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has several exquisite temples, magnificent palaces and forts that glorify the reign of the contemporary rulers. Each monument has an interesting story behind its construction that fascinates many people to take a Hampi tour. The reason of decline of these edifices was mere negligence and non-maintenance. However, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been doing a lot of hard work to refurbish these centuries-old structures.
As the ruins of Hampi are spread across a wider area, it becomes bit difficult to cover all sites without prior knowledge of its various zones. This place is divided into various zones, the information of which helps the tourists plan their trip according to their interests and number of days of vacation. While the Sacred Centre is the area where are set up various temples, the Royal Centre has the ruins of the courtly structures. Among the well-trodden ruins of this town are Hazara Rama Temple Complex, Vittala Temple Complex, Elephant Stables and Gagan Mahal. A tour of these would certainly impress every visitor.
Vittala Temple Complex
Located opposite Anegondi village on the southern bank of the Tungabhadra River, Vittala Temple is one of the most impressive monuments of Hampi. It is named after Vitthala, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who was worshipped by the Marathas. Renowned for its extensive art work, this 16th century masterpiece is adorned with sculpted pillars. These pillars are intricately carved that speaks volumes about the learned sculptors of the era and the patronage given to the art form by the rulers.
The highlight of this massive structure is the musical pillars that produce the sound of seven notes when tapped. This unique feature created so much curiosity among the British that they cut two of the pillars to check if they had anything inside. To their wonder, there was nothing in it, and these were just hollow pillars. Visitors can still see those pillars cut by the British.
Another prominent feature of this site is the finely detailed stone chariot, which is positioned in the front side of the complex. Used as a symbol of Karnataka Tourism, this chariot is one of the three popular stone chariots in the country, the other two being in Mahabalipuram and Konark.
It is believed that the road leading to this shrine was an erstwhile market where were horses were traded. There are images of people selling horses inside the temple. The complex has been installed with floodlights that provide a great amount of lightning in the evening, thereby adding to the grandeur of the architecture.
People who want to know more about this heritage place can plan a trip with their family and friends. There are many tour operators who arrange family holiday packages to this enchanting place.