The south of India is in stark comparison to the north, with both areas being uniquely beautiful, and distinct in their respective architectural styles. Nestled in the craggy hills and plains of Tungabhadra in the southern state of Karnataka, is the ancient Kingdom of Hampi, which was the last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar. Now a World UNESCO Heritage site, the remnants of this architectural complex was built in 1565, garnering awe and admiration from travellers for centuries.
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Encompassing an area of almost 42,000 hectares that took over 200 years to be complete, these stunning ruins reveal a time of grandiose and austerity amongst the Vijayanagara Empire. The river Tungabhadra runs parallel to the ruins, and historians have been able to gather just how sophisticated, urban, and advanced the community was, evidenced by the unique and skillfully designed hydraulic technologies.
With more than 1600 surviving remains, tourists can wander between forts, royal complexes, temples, shrines, pillared arenas, gateways, memorials, elephant stables, and water structures. The intricate and detailed carvings on the temples are characteristically Hindu, with deities including Krishna, Ganesh, and many other Dravidian idols. This form of architecture flourished under the Vijayanagara Empire, and was easily recognizable by the massive dimensions, sequestered enclosures, lofty towers, and decorated pillars. The Vitthla temple is not to be missed, as this shrine is the most exquisitely ornate on site, representing the culmination of the Empire’s architecture. Despite the many aspects of Hindu architecture and influence, Hampi also demonstrates an adoption of many Indo Islamic elements, showing us that this society although ancient, was evolved, in multi-religious and multi-ethnic areas.
A trip to the spectacular Hampi complex will be a highlight of your stay in south India!