Hampi is a village in Karnataka with a rich history. It was the core of the Vijayanagara Empire. Hampi is located within the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. The ruins of Hampi have been recognised by UNESCO as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. This has made Hampi a famous destination for tourists from all over the world.
The place is visited by a large number of people throughout the year. The tourists love to explore each and every corner of Hampi and try to gain as much knowledge as possible about the long destroyed kingdom of Vijayanagara.
However, there are a few fascinating facts about Hampi that are not common knowledge. Let us have a look at some such interesting facts:
- Hampi was an important part of the Vijayanagara Empire that was founded by the brothers, Harihara I and Bukkaraya I in the 14th However, the first historical record of settlement in Hampi dates back to 1 CE. There are evidences that suggest that the region of Hampi was under the rule of Ashokan Kingdom during the 3rd century BC.
- Hampi is known mostly for the monuments built during the Vijayanagara Empire. However, there are various monuments in Hampi that dates back to the days prior to the establishment of the Vijayanagara Empire. The Hemakuta group of temples is a cluster of such structures that belong to the pre-Vijayanagara days.
- The temples and other structures in Hampi display the rich Vijayanagara style of architecture. Are you aware of the fact that the Vijayanagara style is actually a combination of architectural traits of the Chalukyan, Cholan, Hoysalan and Pandyan styles of architecture? All of these styles existed from the time before the establishment of the Vijayanagara Empire.
- The name Hampi is derived from the word Pampa, which is the ancient name of the Tungabhadra River. The village of Hampi stands on the southern bank of the River Tungabhadra. It was initially known as Hampe and later came to be known as Hampi. It is also referred to as Pampa-kshetra, Kishkinda-kshetra, Bhaskara-kshetra or Virupakshapura, (due to Virupaksha, the reigning deity of the Vijayanagara rulers).
- The main coin mint of the Vijayanagara Empire was located in Hampi, while there were other smaller mints at various places like Penukonda, Tirupati, etc. The coinage of Vijayanagara comprised of gold, silver and copper coins that were circular in shape. The coins had images of gods, animals and birds on them. The ruins of the mint can be seen near the Royal Enclosure even today.
- The Virupaksha Temple in Hampi is considered to be one of the oldest temples of the region. Its history dates back to the 7th The beautiful temple was a simple structure in its original form. It was the rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire who gave it its present structure. The temple is also known as the Pampavathi temple. The tall tower of the temple a height of about 120 feet.
- One of the most attractive structures in Hampi is the Vittala Temple. This ancient temple is known for its splendid architecture. However, the temple is also known for another special quality.
It has 56 musical pillars. These pillars, when tapped gently, produce musical sounds. The most interesting fact is that the pillars are made from solid stone and are not hollow inside. The musical pillars of Vittala Temple are also known as SAREGAMA pillars.
- The Hazara Rama Temple in Hampi is famous for its bas-relics that depict the story of Ramayana. The outer walls of the temple are decorated with bas-relics of Rama and Krishna. The relics also portray processions of horses, elephants, attendants, soldiers and dancing girls. But the lesser known fact is that the relics found on the walls of the Hazara Rama Temple are among the most extensive ones to be found anywhere in India.
- Hampi is scattered with ruins of huge monuments built with granite stones found abundantly in the area. But did you ever wonder how the huge boulders were cut and transformed into pieces of art in that ancient age? The workers at Hampi used a fascinating technique to cut rock according to their need.
If a rock was to be cut, then a series of holes were made on the rock’s surface. Dry wood pieces were the pegged into the rock and water was poured over the pegs to let them soak the liquid. Once the wooden pegs soaked the water, their size increase due to expansion and the tiny pegs caused the rock to crack due to the pressure mounted inside.
- Hampi was ruled by kings belonging to four dynasties before it was ruined in an attack by the Mughal invaders. The four dynasties to rule over Hampi are Sangama Dynasty (1336 – 1485 A.D.), Saluva Dynasty (1485 – 1505 A.D.), Tuluva Dynasty (1505 – 1570 A.D.) and Aravidu Dynasty (1542 – 1646). All these dynasties ruled over the Vijayanagara Empire till its fall down in 1646 A.D.
There are several other interesting facts about this land that was once a grand place full of impressive monuments and structures. Though many facts about this fascinating place have been lost with the passage of time, the ruined village still attracts people with its rich history.