Matunga Hill, Hampi

Located in the centre of Hampi and also the highest point, Matunga Hill is a must visit site if you want a panoramic view of the town and especially Vijaynagar. The hill has a historical value for the Hindus as it is named after the sage Matanga who resided here according to the Hindu mythological epic, Ramayana. You can also visit the monolithic statue of the Nandi bull located here. The north part of the hill ends at the southern banks of the Tungabhadra River where the Kodanda Ram temple is located.

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Virupaksha Temple, Hampi

Dedicated to lord Shiva, Virupaksha Temple was founded in the 7th century and has been functional ever since; thus, making it one among the oldest functioning temples in India. The temple predates the Vijaynagar Empire and the structure was improved during the reign of various empires that ruled that region and especially during the Vijaynagar Empire. The main temple consists of a sanctum, three ante chambers, a pillared hall and an open pillared hall.

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Elephant Stables, Hampi

As evident by the name, this long building with a row of domed chambers was the place where the royal elephants were kept. There are a total of 11 buildings with the center one being the biggest and the most decorated one. Many of these chambers were interconnected and were said to be used by the musicians during the various processions. The complete structure is symmetrical to the central dome.

Photo by Arian Zwegers, CC BY 2.0 

The central dome is built in the architectural style like that of Indian temples, the other domes however possess an architectural style akin to the Islamic style of architecture and the domes are of alternating patterns are better preserved than the central dome. At the rear of each hall are small manhole type openings probably used by mahouts to enter and exit the halls and mount the elephants. The metal hooks used to secure the elephants are also present in the structure.

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Vitthala Temple, Hampi

Built in the 15th century and one of the most extravagant pieces of architecture you will ever witness, the temple is dedicated to “Vitthala” a form of the Hindu deity Vishnu. The temple complex itself houses various other temples and pavilions, the major attractions that you must marvel at are the stone chariot or the ‘ratha’ which is placed in front of the temple entrance, it is among the 3 famous stone chariots in India, the wheels could be rotated but the recent archaeological restorations had them cemented to avoid damage caused by the visitors.

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Royal Enclosure, Hampi

This is the fortified area within Vijaynagar, also known as the seat of Kings;  it spans across an area of approximately 14.58 acres, has various structures which are still standing. The enclosure has 3 entrances, 2 on the north and 1 on the west. The structures include Mahanavami Dibba or the Dassera Platform or the ‘House of Victory’ which is the tallest structure in the area, there are 2 main stairways to the top, the front one is highly decorated with carvings. The kings used this structure as a platform to watch various parades, ceremonies and performances.

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