Hampi  

Vijayanagara is such that the pupil of the eye has never seen a place like it ..." so eulogised Abdul Razaq, a Muslim envoy, who visited Hampi. 343 km from Bangalore and 74 km from Bellary, Hampi - a world heritage centre - is the most beautiful and evocative of all the ruins in Karnataka. The Tungabhadra river flows through Hampi, on the banks of which, it is said, the Goddess Hampi (Parvati) attained Lord Shiva. This city was praised by historians like, Nuniz and Paes, as being greater than Rome, its palaces plated with jewel-encrusted gold, simply the 'bets provided city in the world'. 

The erstwhile capital of the Vijayanagar kingdom, Hampi is full of delightful surprises. In the 13th century, the markets here overflowed with luxuriant silks, brilliant diamonds, rubies and emeralds. Today, the Market Place with its ancient, roofless stalls is a riot of colour on festive nights, when the Virupaksha Temple is all ablaze with lamps.

The King's Balance, where kings were weighed against grain, gold or money, which was subsequently distributed to the poor, the Queen's Bath, open to the sky, surrounded by a moat, with its arched corridors, projecting balconies and lotus-shaped fountains, that once spouted perfumed water, and the fascinating two storeyed Lotus Mahal, adorned with recessed archways, are some of the major attractions of Hampi. The exquisite Lotus Mahal in the Womens' Enclosure was inspired by the beauty of woman. A little away, stands the crumbling watch tower, once guarded by eunuchs, from where the royal ladies could watch the festivities taking place. The flat platform of the Mahanavami Dibba proved an excellent vantage point for the royalty, from where they could feast their eyes on a city come to life during the nine, vibrant nights of Dussehra.

The Virupaksha Temple rises majestically, at the western end of a 700 m long street, that was once the famous Hampi bazaar. Nearby is the 6.7 m tall monolith of Ugra Narasimha or Lakshmi Narasimha. But by far the most amazing monument in Hampi, is the Vittala Temple Complex, with its 56 musical pillars. Legend has it, Lord Vishnu found it too grand to live in and thus, returned to his own 'humble home'.To the east of the complex is the famous Stone Chariot, with stone wheels, that actually rotates ! The Vijayanagar festival, organised by the Government of Karnataka, recreates the grandeur of the bygone era. Six km from Hospet is the 49 m high, 2 km long Tungabhadra Dam which offers an incredible panorama of the surrounding land.

Hampi, even though in ruins, remains as alluring today, as it was centuries ago.

When to Visit 

The ideal time to visit Hampi, is from October to March. 

Some of the places of worship
Ajanta & Ellora, Maharashtra
Aurangabad, Maharashtra
Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh 
Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh
Orchha, Madhya Pradesh
Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh
Belur, Karnataka
Badami, Karnataka
Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh 
Elephanta Caves, Maharashtra
Bhojpur, Madhya Pradesh 
Mandu, Madhya Pradesh 
Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh 
Halebid, Karnataka 
Hampi, Karnataka 
Buddhist Relics, Orissa