Hampi, a Poetry in Stones- 2days Itinerary

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Photo of Hampi, a Poetry in Stones- 2days Itinerary by Debjani Paul

Karnataka is blessed with a strong lineage of history and heritage. This state is a gem in the Indian map of heritage sites and archeological wonders. Hampi is one of the most prominent UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the state of Karnataka. Hampi is a poetry in stone!

History

Situated by the banks of Tungabhadra river, Hampi became a capital of prosperous Vijayanagar Empire during the 14th century. By 15th century Hampi became one of the largest and most prosperous medieval-era cities in the world. It was a trading capital where traders from across the globe used to come. From Chinese to Parsi to Portuguese to Iraninans Vijaynagar empire was a global melting pot! During 1565, the Muslim Sultante brought in a tragic end to this beautiful empire. Henceforth Hampi remained a pile of ruins until Colin Mackenzie discovered the ruins of Hampi in 1800. The rulers of Vijayanagar were inclined to the art of architecture and thus they left behind a legacy of the finest examples of Indian architecture.

Detailed Itinerary

Hampi has a lot to offer to the onlookers. Spread over 16 square miles, there are remains of various temples, shrines, mandaps, memorial structures, water structures, royal complexes, forts and other monuments. It takes a long time to do justice to this large historical city, although the major architectural points can be covered in 2days. So here is a detailed itinerary of places to visit in Hampi in 2 days.

Day 1

VIRUPAKSHA TEMPLE, KRISHNA TEMPLE, NARASIMHA, SHIVA LINGA, VITTHALA TEMPLE

Weather in Hampi does not allow visitors to explore much of the stone structures during the afternoon time. It gets very hot and thus, most of the attractions are best seen during early morning or late afternoon. Most of the temple complexes opens during sunrise and close at sunset. "Early to bed and early to rise" should be one's main mantra while visiting Hampi.

Krishna Temple, Bazaar, and Water Tank (1 hour)

An architectural beauty built in 1515 CE, Krishna temple is a must visit place in Hampi. The temple opens to east with a long and spread out market area with rows of stone structures which used to house several merchandises. The water tank or Pushkarini as it is called in the local language is a thing of beauty with artistic pavilions surrounding 3 sides of the waterbody. Krishna temple is famous for the stone carvings of 10 avatars of Vishnu on the walls of the main eastern gate.

Posing a Nataraja posture amidst the beautifully carved pillars of Main Mandapa, Krishna Temple

Photo of Krishna Temple Market Road, Hampi, Karnataka, India by Debjani Paul

Narasimha, Shivalingam (20 minutes)

around 300 mtrs ahead of Krishna temple lies 2 major monolithic attractions of Hampi. The Narasimha statue and the giant Shivalinga are the largest of its kind in Hampi. 6.7htrs high Narasimha seated in a yoga position and 3mtrs high Shivalinga standing in water in the cubical chamber are a treat to eyes.

Giant Shivalingam

Photo of Narasimha Temple, Hampi, Karnataka, India by Debjani Paul

The monolithic Narasimha Statue

Photo of Narasimha Temple, Hampi, Karnataka, India by Debjani Paul

Vitthala Temple & Market Complex (3 hours)

Famous stone chariot and eastern gate of Vitthala Temple Complex

Photo of Vitthala Temple, Hampi, Karnataka, India by Debjani Paul

The famous Yeli architecture on Kalyan Mandapa, Vitthala temple complex

Photo of Vitthala Temple, Hampi, Karnataka, India by Debjani Paul

Vithhala temple complex is the most artistic and architecturally grand structure in Hampi. It is situated little further from main Hampi bazaar by the river. Built during the sixteenth century, this temple has a main shrine surrounded by multiple halls (or mandapas) for different purposes. The pillars are masterpieces of stone carving. Most notable monuments are the Kalyan mandap, main mandap and the Garuda Shrine in the form of a stone chariot in front of the main Mandap. This chariot is the most photographed attraction of Hampi.

Lunch and rest (3 hours)

To avid the harsh afternoon Sun and give rest to your tired feet, do take a leisurely lunch at any of the small cafes in Hampi Village. Mango Tree is one of the top favorites among tourists. The thalis here are star attractions!

You will not get any non-vegetarian food in Hampi except for eggs, neither alcohol consumption is allowed in the village.

Virupaksha Temple (1 hour)

Virupaksha temple, situated at the centre of Hampi village, is the oldest shrine in Hampi. It is the principal destination for pilgrims and tourists and actively worshipped till date. Do not miss the 750m long bazaar area in front of the temple with two-story stone structures on either side of the road representing the various shops of the old era.

Sri Virupaksha Temple

Photo of Sri Virupaksha Temple, Hampi, Karnataka, India by Debjani Paul

Hemakuta Group of Tempes (until sunset)

Situated just beside the Virupaksha temple, a flight of stairs just outside the temple main door will lead you to the Hemakuta hills. Numerous small structures, mandapas, shrines are scattered all over the hill adding a lot of character to the overall view. It is one of the main spots to watch a dramatic sunset over the boulders of Hampi. You can see the main Virupaksha temple complex from atop this hill and enjoy the magic hours of setting sun.

Sunset Sky from Hemakuta Hills

Photo of Hemakuta Hill Temple, Hampi, Karnataka, India by Debjani Paul

Double storey Mandapa on Hemakuta Hills during Sunset

Photo of Hemakuta Hill Temple, Hampi, Karnataka, India by Debjani Paul
Day 2

QUEEN'S BATH, ROYAL ENCLOSURE, HAZARA RAMA TEMPLE, ZENANA ENCLOSURE, ELEPHANT STABLE

After having a sumptuous breakfast, start your second day around 8 am. Do not forget to carry enough water, sun protection like umbrella/cap/scarf with you. One can see the following structures in a day as these are aligned in the same direction.

Queen's Bath (30 min)

Inside of Queen's Bath

Photo of Queen's Bath, Bellary, Karnataka, India by Debjani Paul

While going towards the royal enclosure, queen's bath is the first structure you will encounter on the main road. It is situated around 3km from main Hampi market area. This huge bath is an excellent example of the architectural marvel of Vijayanagara kingdom. The rectangular building has simple exterior and ornate interior with beautiful carving in the ceilings. It was built in the Indo-Islamic style and is believed to be built for the pleasure of women and men of royal families.

Royal Enclosure (1 hour)

This is the home of the erstwhile kings and queens of the Vijaynagar kingdom. While most of the structures are ruined today, one can still witness the vast expanse and different monuments inside this area. The mahanavami platform, the darbar hall, aqueduct and stepwell are some of the major attractions here.

Hazara Rama Temple (1 hour)

Famous black granite carved pillars of inner sanctum in Hazara Rama Temple

Photo of Hazara Rama Temple, Bellary, Karnataka, India by Debjani Paul

Beautifully carved Ramayana Stories on inner Walls of Hazara Rama Temple

Photo of Hazara Rama Temple, Bellary, Karnataka, India by Debjani Paul

It is the only temple in the Royal Enclosure. The temple is small but famous for the intricate stone carvings on its outer walls and inner walls and pillars. The temple is dedicated to Lord Rama and stories of Ramayana are carved out on stone beautifully and extensively. The main attraction is the black granite pillars in the inner sanctum of the temple which are magnificent!

Zenana Enclosure - Lotus Mahal (1 hour)

Situated little ahead of Hazaraa Rama temple is the zenana enclosure. The entry is charged (Rs 30). Arguably it is believed that the women of royal families used to stay here and thus the name. It has lotus mahal, watchtowers, and palaces inside the enclosure. Lotus Mahal is the main structure to see here which is a two-storeyed pavilion located at the center.

Lotus Mahal inside Zenana Enclosure

Photo of Lotus Mahal Hampi, Hampi, Karnataka, India by Debjani Paul

Elephant Stables (30 min)

Very close to zenana enclosure is the elephant stable. As the name suggests, it is a place for the royal elephants. There are 11 square, high ceiling chambers aligned north to south served the s residence of the elephants. There are small doors connecting all these chambers which were used by the caretakers of the elephants.

Elephant stable

Photo of Elephant Stable, Hampi, Karnataka, India by Debjani Paul

Lunch and Rest (3 hours)

After the long excursion takes a relaxing lunch and an afternoon nap. Gopi rooftop cafe is a good option for lunch or dinner.

Sunset from Matanga Hill (3 hours)

One of the best spots to get a bird's eye view of Hampi is the Matanga Hills. It is also a famous point for sunset watchers. It is a moderate hike up the hills for 45mins to 1 hour, depending on one's capability. But all the effort is worth giving for the sheer beauty one can witness from up there.

Boulder strewn Hampi as seen from top of the Matanga Hills

Photo of Matanga Hill, Hampi, Karnataka, India by Debjani Paul

There are many more monuments, structure and statues are to be seen, discovered and appreciated in Hampi. It is a treasure trove for the architecture and history lovers. It is also a paradise for the photographers! So, wait no more and plan your vacation over a long weekend. Our list of places to visit in Hampi in 2 days is definitely going to be your best guide.

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