Hampi has been given the tag of UNESCO World Heritage Site because of their unique and historic architecture. Tourists who make the journey to Karnataka should make it a point to visit this historic site, it has some magnificent places to see.
When in Hampi, expect to see ruins and old structures. All over the city, you will find old temples, and ruins from around the 15th and 16th century. While the temples are great to see, you should make it a point to see the many monuments in the city.
In this article, we list all the best and important monuments to see. We have grouped them based on locality for your convenience. Here are the best monuments at Hampi
Monuments at the Sacred Center
1. Hampi Bazaar
This bazaar street is also known as the Virupaksha Bazaar. It is located close to the Virupaksha and it was once a flourishing marketplace. Today, it is used as a residence for villagers and there are shops inside some of the old buildings. Visit to check out the ancient architecture and inscriptions on the walls. Entry to the Hamp Bazaaris free.
2. Achyuta Raya’s Temple
This temple in the Sacred Centre is famous for its Vijayanagara style of architecture. It was one of the last constructions of the Vijayanagara empire, before it was capture by enemies. It is located between the Matanga hills and Gandhamadana. Surprisingly, it is less crowded than the other tourist attractions in Hampi, it is great for those who love quiet tours.
3. Virupaksha Temple
The Virupaksha Temple is the main temple in Hampi. It is the most visited site in the city because of its wonderful architecture and the annual festival. It is devoted to Lord Shiva, so many devotees often come to pray and spend a few moments in silence at the Virupaksha Temple.
4. Courtesans’ Street
At this site you will come across heaps and heaps of ruined pillars that are beautifully carved with intricate artwork. While most of the pillars at the site look to be complete, some of the pillars seem like they are unfinished. Besides pillars, there is a small unfinished riverside path that was once used as a walkway to get to the temple.
5. Sasivekalu Ganesha
The Sasivekalu Ganesha is a temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha, it is one of the biggest statues in Hampi. Legend has it that the temple was built by a grain merchant as a thanks giving gesture to Lord Ganesh. The statue at the temple is believed to be carved from a single block of stone and is about 2 1/2 m tall. You have to trek little bit to reach the place and its best to go in the morning to watch the sunrise.
Monuments at the Royal Center
The Mahanavami Dibba lies at the site where royal functions were once conducted. Although it lies in ruins, the place is an important landmark and tourist attraction. There are two sets of stairs to the top of the Mahanavami Dibba and from the upper platform you can soak in stunning views of Hampi. If you are observant, you will find many historic and important ruins all around the Mahanavami Dibba.
7. Hazara Rama Temple
The standout feature of the Hazara Rama Temple is the wonderful carvings on the wall. Most of the carvings are rooted in Hindu culture and mythology. You also have carvings of religious festivals like Dussehra and Holi on the walls as well as scenes from Ramayana. At this Dravidian temple one can also see strong influences of vimana architecture prevalent.
8. Zenana Enclosure
The Zenana Enclosure once housed temples, elephant stables and the queen’s palace. It is an excellent place for a long stroll in the evening. For the best experience, you can book a guided tour that gives you a more in depth insight into the history of the Zenana Enclosure.
9. Palace of Vira Harihara
The palace was the former home of the rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire. What remains of the palace today is the base of the structure. Many tourists visit to get a glance of the base and the numerous residential artifacts at the sight. To get to the palace ruins you need to enter via the Danaik’s Enclosure and follow a long trail.
The Granaries were storage rooms for grains and food. Today, most of the granaries lie in ruins. Some of the granaries can be found near the Hazara Rama Temple and the Danaik’s Enclosure. You can reach them by following a mud trail.
Monuments of the Riverside Ruins
11. Riverside Ruins
The Riverside Ruins are located near the Kodanda Rama Temple. At the site travellers can see 108 Shiva Lingas and many other ruins such as pavilions and inscriptions on large boulders. Besides exploring the place, one can even enjoy boat rides on the river. Guided tours of the riverside ruins are available in Hampi.
12. Coracle Crossings
You would not call these monuments, but they were important parts of Hampi’s heritage. People of Hampi used to use these boats to travel across the river and back. At the site of the river ruins, travellers can take boat rides that are enjoyable. During the monsoon, due to the rough weather, Coracle boat rides are shut.
There are plenty of other monuments in Hampi, but these are the best ones to see. We have included the Coracle Crossings in the list because it is a unique and amazing experience in Hampi. Whether you like history or are an architectural buff, you will love visiting these monuments in Hampi. For the best and a knowledgeable experience, it is best to take a guided tour, you can book one at Hampi or even pick one online.