Hampi in Bellary District

Lotus Mahal or Kamal Mahal, Vijayanagar Hampi
Lotus Mahal or Kamal Mahal
Hampi is one of the major tourist attractions in Karnataka. Hampi originated from the Kannada word Halu Hampe which means spoiled and in ruins. Vijayanagar, stands for the victory city built on the banks of Tungabhadra river. Earlier the capital of the rulers was at Anegundi. The rulers of the Vijayanagar constructed many rock cut temples which had exceptional artistic and sculptural work in them. The Virupaksha temple, Vijaya Vittala temple, Lakshmi Narasimha and beautiful water tank shows their unique and beautiful sculptures. Hampi history is a tragedy that Kannadigas would always want to forget. But the world famous rich city once immersed in luxury and happiness cannot be easily forgotten by anyone.
Stone Chariot
Hampi History: The Vijayanagar Kingdom was established by Harihara-I and his brother Bukkaraya-I(also known as Hakka-Bukka) in the year 1336, as per their high priest Vidyaranya’s direction. Scholars who studied in detail about the Empire, such as B.L Rice, Rothermund, P.B. Desai, S.K. Aiyangar, Saletore, Suryanatha Kamath, Henry Heras, and Karmakar claim that the founders are much related to the Hoysala dynasty. Hence, they were Kannadigas and belonged to the Sangama dynasty.
Lakshmi Narasimha Statue
Lakshmi Narasimha Statue
Vidyaranya, the high priest had Hakka-Bukka as his students and were panning for an independent kingdom that would resist the Muslim genocide of Hindus. They traveled to many places in search of worthy place to establish a kingdom that would last for 2000 years. Vidyaranya performed meditation to please the goddess Bhuvaneshwari. She appeared before him and when he asked for a kingdom that lasted 2000 years, she denied and said the kingdom would last only for 200 years. It covered an area of at least 60 square miles. The Hindu kings of the dynasty had a chance to rule for only that period, according to her. They reached a place near today’s Hampi where the young men saw a rabbit chased by a fox. It was a natural prey for the fox. But when it came to particular place, the rabbit turned back and started chasing the fox until it finally got rid of it. The place was very good and full of auspiciousness. They told their priest about the miracle that occurred in that place. The priest then looked for an auspicious time which is called muhurtham.
Virupaksha temple
Virupaksha Temple
On the day of the muhurtham, the priest Vidyaranya told them that he would go to the nearby hill and watch the stars. When an auspicious time is found he would blow the conch shell from there itself. But coincidentally, a jangama devaru(beggar with conch) passed by and blew the conch. After some time, a second sounding of conch was heard. But by then, the students had already laid the foundation for the empire which was an unpardonable mistake. The priest came to the spot and calculated the placing of stars at the time when they had laid the foundation. He told the brothers that empire would last only for 200 years. It exactly matched the words of the goddess.
Hemakuta Hill at Hampi
Hemakuta Hill
Goddess Sri Bhuvaneshwari Devi and Lord Virupaksha idols were installed and consecrated at the Virupaksha temple. The family deity Bhuvaneshwari was worshipped and strongly believed in by all the Vijayanagar rulers. King Krishnadevaraya and his successors in the dynasty worshiped her greatly. Vijayanagar became a world famous kingdom with riches that attracted foreigners.

Diamonds of big size were recovered from the Krishna gravels and Wajrakarur area known for numerous kimberlitic bodies, under the Vijayanagar Empire. Diamonds were also mined from the Raichur area of Karnataka during 1420-21 AD. The empire had a regular income from the diamond mines in Raichur Doab (Doab is the area spread in between the two rivers). Because of the precious diamonds and other rich mineral deposits, the Raichur Doab was always coveted by the Bahmani sultans and after them by Bijapur and Vijayanagar kings. Precious gem stones were sold in bazaars and on the road side like vegetables and foodstuff. It had 500,000 inhabitants and the city was twice the size of the biggest European city, Paris.
Stepped Water Tank
Stepped Water Tank
The Untold Story: Ramaraya the king who was finally defeated by Bahmani sultans ignored the goddess most of the time. He interfered in the personal matters of Bahamani sultans and became a reason for their anguish and hatred. This turned out be fatal for his rich and prosperous kingdom. The goddess showed up in his dreams and warned him several times to get rid of his false pride. He never followed her words until the goddess decided to leave the kingdom. 
Elephant Stable at Vijayanagar
Elephant Stable
The worst time came when the king Ramraya started wearing the golden chappals(footwear). According to the Hindus, gold jewelry and money is worshipped as a symbol of goddess Lakshmi. It should not be worn below the waist, as it becomes a sign of disrespect shown towards any goddess. So, the goddess Bhuvaneshwari no longer wanted to stay with the Vijayanagar rulers and left the place in the form of a huge Serpent (Cobra snake). She took all the fortunes with her. The snake entered the flowing river Tungabhadra(it is a tributary) until it reached the main river Krishna. Later, it swam through another river Bheema and was hidden in the waters near Ghattargi. It always made an unusual sound in the area of the river where it was hidden.
Hampi Bazar
Hampi Bazar

King Ramaraya interfered into the matters of the Muslim kings and created a situation of quarrel between them. They solved the problem themselves by marrying their girls with their enemy kings and became relatives. On January 26th 1565, the Sultans of Bahamani kingdom united to rout the thriving empire. Sultans were better prepared and had far better weaponry to destroy the huge army of Vijayanagar. The king Ramaraya in his 70’s fell off from his elephant during the Rakkasa Tangadi battle. It is also called the battle of Talikota. The king was trying to recover when Nizam Shah took hold of him. He was chained and dragged to the war camp. Ramaraya was told that he should pray to Allah who was the only god for them. King denied doing so. Instead, he cried and called the names of Hindu gods Rama-Krishna-Bhagavantha. Nizam Shah slit his throat immediately. His head was taken on the tip of a spear and displayed as a trophy for their victory. The city of Vijayanagar was looted and destroyed. The process went on for nearly six months. The whole fort turned into ruins once it was abandoned and neglected by the people. These ruins are called Hampi today.
Vijaya Vittala Temple
Vijaya Vittala Temple

Meanwhile, the huge snake in the Bheema river waters was waiting to appear before a right person. A shepherd by name Devanna always took his sheep for grazing near the banks of the river Bheema. He was a pious man full of devotion. He belonged to the Ghattaragi which is a small village in Afzalpur taluk of Gulbarga district. One day, he heard a strange voice from the nearby river. It was a woman’s voice but could not see her anywhere around. The voice told him that it wanted to go along with him to the village. It continued for many days. The shepherd could keep this as a secret. He told all the villagers about the voice that he heard. The villagers encouraged him to ask the voice about its whereabouts and wanted to know what type of invisible power it was actually. He went to the place and asked what was it and why was it not showing up. It appeared before him in the form of a huge cobra from in between the river. He stood there firmly and asked it to appear before him in its true form. Soon it turned into a form of goddess and told him where she actually belonged.
Ghattaragi Bhagyavanthi Afzalpur Gulbarga
Ghattaragi Bhagyavanthi

Goddess Bhuvaneshwari narrated the whole story and told him that she was willing to come with him. He went back to villagers and told the story of the Vijayanagar goddess. Villagers where not very lucky and could not see her in her true form. She just showed up as a large cobra in front of them. They were scared to take the huge snake with them. Then it transformed itself into a tall and shiny glass pillar. It was full of radiance and shining brilliantly. Devanna was a bold man; he entered the river to take the pillar with him. As he dragged the pillar to the banks of the river, it changed into a stone pillar. The pillar was loaded onto a two wheeled cart and taken to the village. The pillar was kept at his door steps. 

Chennamma Gowda was the mother of Ghattaragi village chieftain. The goddess appeared in Channamma’s dreams and expressed her will to stay in their house and vanished. She narrated about the dreams to her son. Son felt glad on hearing the story and fulfilled the desire of goddess. The pillar was installed in their house. From then onwards the villagers and the chieftain worshiped Bhuvaneshwari and prospered. 
Bhagyavanthi Pillar of Miracles at Ghattaragi

The villagers built a temple for the pillar. As the pillar brought a lot of fortune the goddess was named Bhagyavanthi (the fortune giver). She has not only blessed them with prosperity but also has helped them while they were in distress. Men who consumed alcoholics never touched it again after they visited the temple with their spouses. Some people who were suffering from major ailments got cured and are leading a happy life. Couples who had no children where blessed with children. The temple at Ghattaragi is visited by crores of people from all over the country and abroad. It is a place where many devotees gather. They experience miracles happening to them. Prayers are answered because of the strong belief in the goddess.

Hampi ruins and the monuments extend till Kamalapura. The nearest town and railway is in Hosapete junction, about 13km away by road. Hosapete lies within the original range of the old city, though most of the tourist attractions worth watching are within the walking distance of Hampi and Kamalapura. The natural setting for the city is a landscape surrounded by seven hills, dotted with numerous small and large granite boulders. The Tungabhadra river flows along side it, which provides protection from the north side. Beyond the hills, on the south side of the river bank on which the city was built; a plain extends till the south. Large walls and fortifications from the cut-off granite defended the centre of the city..
Mahanavami Dibba - Place where kings enjoyed the Dasara Entertainment
Mahanavami Dibba
The photo documentation of this glorious world heritage site was done way back in 1856 by Colonel Alexander John Greenlaw (1818-1873) during the British rule. The first photographs of the ruins give an insight into the grandeur of the Vijayanagara monuments. Images of the ruins describe the story of the tragic city. In the year 1981, nearly sixty waxed-paper negatives of his were discovered offering a unique insight into the grand Hindu kingdom. Greenslaw had tirelessly captured the images of shrines, palaces, monuments, temples and pleasure pavilions along with the dramatic landscape surrounding. Later photographers included Edmund Lyon and Nicholas and Company. The photography collection belongs to the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts which is at the Indian capital, New Delhi. 

River Tungabhadra and Boulders on the side
River Tungabhadra and Boulders on the side
Many tourists who travel to India have their target destination as Hampi in Bellary district. Hampi tour along with a good map gives an insight into the places to travel. By road the distance between Hampi and Bangalore is 340km with 6 hours of journey. Holidays in the Indian subcontinent can be more interesting if Hampi in Karnataka is added to the list of India trip.

Anegundi is 5,000 year old place, included in the World heritage site at Hampi. It is a village located 5km from the palace ruins. It was once a capital of the rulers before they shifted to Vijayanagar city which is the ruined Humpi today.  Anegundi is located in the Gangavathi taluk of Koppal district. The place is more ancient than the Vijayanagar city, situated on the northern bank of river Tungabhadra. Kamal Mahal, Huchhayyappana mutt having dance sculptures on black stone, Navabrindavan- the tomb of nine seers including that of Vyasathirtha, Gagan Palace, Lake Pampa, a palace in ruins, Ganesh Temple, Anegundi Fort entrance, Ranganatha temple are the major attractions. 

Nimvapuram is a small village which has the cremated remains and ash of the epic Ramyana related monkey king Vaali. The place was once believed to be Kishkinda, the kingdom of monkeys mentioned in Ramayana. Hill Anjanadri is the birth place of Hanuman who set fire to Lanka alone, on his first visit. Monkeys move in huge groups at the place. The Rishyamuka Mountain is the other place that comes in Ramayana. Tungabhadra River has to be crossed to visit the Navabrindavan.

Hampi Hotels:

Royal Orchid Central Kireeti, Station Road, Hospet, Station Road, Hospet-583 201. Tel: 083 94 300100. 
Vijayshree Resort and Heritage Village, V R Bhurat Nagari, Malpangudi Humpi Road, Hospet-583 201. Tel: 083 94 225890.
Hotel Malligi, 10/90, MVS Area, J.N. Road, Hospet- 583 201.Tel: 083 94 228101.
Mowgli Guest House and Restaurant, Virupapura Gaddi, Sanapur P.O, Gangawati Taluk, Koppal District, Sanapur-583 234. Tel: 085 33 287033.
Kishkinda Heritage Resort, Near Stone Bridge Cross, Anegundi Gangavathi, Koppal, Sanapur, Humpi-583 234. Tel: 085 33 287034.
Hotel Karthik, Pampa Villa, IV Ward, S.P.Road, Hospet-583 201. Tel: 083 94 220038. 
Hyatt Place Humpi, Off SH 40, Vidyanagar Township, Vidyanagar, Toranagallu Bellary-583 123. Tel: 083 95 661234.

Author owns the Copyrights of the content. Copying in part or full of this content if found will be dealt strictly.