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Hampi-Vijayanagar History
1336–1565 AD

Photo Sundar Palaniappan

Hampi, Virupaksha temple viewed from Matanga hill,

Hampi is a small village and a pilgrims' destination in Karnataka. It lies on the northwestern edge of one of the largest archeological sites in India: Vijayanagar, the former capital of the last great Hindu empire by the same name.
After the Moslems had destroyed the Hoysala kingdom (1313) and defeated the Vasalas (1320) they stopped their advance into South India. In 1336 two brothers - Harihara and Bukka Sangama were sent to Hampi by the Delhi Sultanate to pacify that region. Rescinding their allegiance to the Sultan, the Sangamas established Vijayanagara as their capital and founded a last great Hindu empire, the successor of the Hoysalas.
In addition to its historical importance, Vijayanagara is also a sacred site, the location of Hanuman's kingdom. This legendary association, which extends to the identification of specific places mentioned in the Ramayana, was at the forefront of consciousness of the people who designed and constructed the city. In 1565 a coalition of Moslem forces defeated king Ramaraja and sacked the royal capital. The fatally weakened Vijayanagar empire eventually fragmented into a collection of independent Nayaka kingdoms, ruled by their former governors.

Map of Hampi
For further reading and the original map go to vijayanagara.org

Hampi Hemakuta Hill
1336–1565 AD

View to the northeast from Hemakuta Hill. Virupaksha temple (with tower) in the valley; and the hills across the Tungabhadra river.

The Small Ganesha Temple (15th century) is located at the base of Hemakuta hill, near the modern village of Hampi. Ganesh is the sole occupant of the temple.
Photos Mary-Ann Campbell

Virupaksha Temple
7th - 16th cent AD

The temple, dedicated to Virupaksha-Pampa, the local river goddess, has an uninterrupted history from about the 7th century. The sanctuary existed well before the Vijayanagara capital was located here. Inscriptions referring to Shiva date back to the 9th and 10th centuries. What started as a small shrine grew into a large complex under the Vijayanagara rulers. Additions to the temple were made in the later Chalukyan and Hoysala periods, but most of the temple buildings are attributed to the Vijayanagar period. Photo Sundar Palaniappan

A Walk along the Tungabhadra River
7th - 16th cent AD

A pleasant walk along the Tungabhadra river begins at the bazaar and proceeds east a kilometer or so to the Vitthala temple.

The River at sunset. This is the land of the rishis (sages), famous in the Ramayana as the monkey kingdom of Sugriva and his general, Hanuman. Photo Panoramio

The King's Balance. The king, sitting in a swing suspended from the balance, would be ceremonially weighed against heaps of precious objects, which he would then distribute as gifts. Photo hobotraveler.com

Ranganatha Temple. This small temple along the path is dedicated to Ranganath, the reclining form of Vishnu. Photo art-and-archaeology.com

Ritual Tank
14th cent AD

The tank measures 67m x 22m (223ft x 73ft), about 2/3 the length of an American football field. Water was brought in by aqueduct for special events (such as boat fights), then drained out afterwards. The view faces west; a small group of people on the north side provides a sense of scale. Photo and Text from art-and-architecture.com

Great Mahanavami Platform
15th cent AD

Photo Mary-Ann Campbell

According to a 16th-century Portuguese visitor, King Krishnadevaraya would ascend the platform during the Mahanavami festival, where he would perform worship and view the parades of animals, musicians and dancers, mock battles, and fireworks below.

Photo from travelblog.org

The two lower courses, which were built during the first phase of construction, are inscribed in parallel bands with scenes of courtly life, including hunting scenes and processions of animals, soldiers, musicians, and dancers.

Lotus Mahal
15th cent AD

The building is a fascinating fusion of Indian and Islamic architecture. Its arches are Islamic, but its platform and towers are purely Indian. Photo Sundar Palaniappan

Krishna Temple
1516 AD

This partly collapsed temple, located south of Hemakuta Hill, was built to celebrate a military victory of King Krishnadevaraya. Photo Sundar Palaniappan

Narasimha Monolith
1528 AD

The man-lion incarnation of Vishnu is seated beneath a serpent canopy in a yoga posture. The band around his legs helps him to hold the position for long periods of time.
This much-photographed statue has been extensively restored. It was commissioned in 1528 by king Krishnadevaraya, stands 6.7m (21ft) high, and is located just south of the Krishna temple. Photo Mary-Ann Campbell

Vitthala Temple
1554 AD

Vitthala Temple, The 16th century temple is dedicated to Vitthala, a form of Vishnu.

Photo Panoramio

East end of the temple complex, looking west. From front to back we see a square platform, the east face (rear) of a Garuda shrine which faces the temple, and the star-shaped mahamandapa (great pillared hall, 1554) of the temple itself.

Photos and text Mary-Ann Campbell

The Kalyana mandapa is an open pavilion. Its interior, surrounded by impressive columns, contains a platform in the center (very slightly raised circle, inside a square) for the performance of sacred dances. connected with the wedding ceremony of the God and his Shakti. The building in the background is the mandapa of the main temple.

View of the chariot.
Photo Sundar Palaniappan

Ramachandra Temple
1554 AD

The Ramachandra temple, also called Hazara Rama ("One thousand Ramas"), was built in the 1420s (with later additions) as a royal chapel dedicated to the cult of Rama. The temple is the hub of all the eastern roads that lead into the royal center. Its sculptural program centers on the Ramayana, with friezes from that epic being carried out on the temple walls. Photo art and archeology

"Elephant Stables"
16th cent AD

The original use of this building is not known. Beneath each dome is a single large chamber with a painted ceiling. Photo by Mary-Ann Campbell

Thiruvengalanatha-Achutharaya Temple
1534 AD

Achutharaya bazzar and Pushkarni

Thiruvengalanatha temple which is also known as Achutharaya temple
Photos Sundar Palaniappan