The Pushkaranis in Hampi are the sacred water tanks that are attached to the temples. Most of the major temples in Hampi have a pushkarani built near them. The pushkaranis were a prominent feature of the ruined town.
The sacred tanks were related to various rituals and functional aspects of the temples and the people surrounding the temples. The tanks were considered to be sacred places by the people of Hampi in the ancient times. Even today the pushkaranis are a big attraction for the tourists who visit Hampi to explore the ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire.
- Timing: From morning to evening on all days of the week
- Entry Fee: No entry fee required
- Photography: Allowed
- Video Camera: Allowed
- Visit Duration: About 20 to 30 minutes for a major pushkarani
- Best time to visit : From November to February
History of Pushkaranis, Hampi
The pushkaranis in Hampi are a part of the ancient town’s planning and architecture. Many of the pushkaranis were built during the time of the Vijayanagara Empire. The water tanks related to the temples were used to serve the ritualistic purposes of those temples.
There are some water tanks that are not related to the temples. Some of the water tanks are situated within the Royal Enclosure and they were built for the use of the members of the royal family of Vijayanagara. There were a few large public water tanks as well that were for use of the general people.
Purpose of Pushkaranis, Hampi
The pushkaranis in Hampi were an integral part of the people’s lives during the time of the Vijayanagara Empire. Since the temples were an important part of the social and cultural lives of the people of ancient Hampi, the water tanks also gained significance among the people.
In many cases, the water tanks served as the venue for the annual boat festivals. During such festivals, the images of Gods and Goddesses were taken out of the temples for a coracle ride on the water tanks. Sometimes the images were placed on the pavilions that can be seen in the middle of some of the pushkaranis.
Architecture of Pushkaranis, Hampi
The pushkaranis of Hampi display great architectural beauty. They are built in the typical Vijayanagara style of architecture. Many of these water tanks have beautiful rows of pillars or decorative arcade surrounding them.
The massive water tanks have large stone steps that allowed people to get into the water easily. The water tanks are connected to an extensive network of stone aqueducts and canals. These water channels were used to provide the tanks with fresh water from the Tungabhadra River. Some of these water channels are functional even today.
A Few Prominent Pushkaranis of Hampi
There are several pushkaranis in Hampi that are worth a visit even today. Many of these pushkaranis amaze visitors with their enormous sizes and rows of beautifully carved pillars surrounding them. A few pushkaranis stand out among others due to their exceptional architecture. Some of the remarkable pushkaranis of Hampi are:
The Pushkarani near the Achyuta Raya’s Temple – The pushkarani located at the end of the Courtesan’s Street or the Soolai Bazaar is considered one of the most attractive water tanks in Hampi. The water tank is presumed to be a part of the Tiruvengalanatha Temple, also known as the Achyuta Raya’s Temple.
It is a massive rectangular water tank that once had a colonnade surrounding it. The ruins of the impressive colonnade can be seen even today. An interesting thing to note is the remains of a small rectangular pillared pavilion at the centre of the tank. The water tank is in a dry state now and the gallery like steps and base are clearly visible to the visitors.
Some people believe that like many other structures in Hampi, even this water tank was destroyed in the Mughal attack that led to the downfall of the Vijayanagara Empire in 1565 A.D. Some others are of the idea that this tank’s construction was never completed. The archaeology department has restored some portions of this beautiful water tank.
The Pushkarani within the Royal Enclosure:The pushkarani located within the Royal Enclosure in Hampi is known as the Stepped Tank and is a sight to behold. It is in the south-eastern side of the Royal Enclosure. The enormous tank is an example of the rich architectural skills of the workers belonging to the Vijayanagara era.
The key attraction of the tank is the symmetrical layout of the steps. It is a 5 tiered tank where each tier comprises of a few steps. The tank is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hampi.
The Pushkarani near the Virupaksha Temple: The pushkarani near the renowned Virupaksha Temple is known as the Manmatha Tank. It is a huge water tank that is still in a functional condition. The beautiful water tank has several shrines located near it that are popular as the Manmatha Tank Shrines.
The Pushkarani near the Vittala Temple: The pushkarani near the famous Vittala Temple is located to the east of the temple complex. The water tank can be found opposite to the ruined Kuduregombe Mantapa near the Vittala Bazaar.
The water tank is one of those tanks that are in a functional condition. However, the pillared structure surrounding the tank is in a ruined condition.
The Pushkarani near the Krishna Bazaar: The pushkarani near the Krishna Temple is also a remarkable water tank in Hampi. It is located near the Krishna Bazaar. The water tank is known for its structural beauty.
The water tank is surrounded by a pavilion with rows of carved pillars. A raised platform in the middle of the tank enhances the attraction of the tank. It is a functional tank, though some portions of the tank are in a ruined condition.
The Pushkarani near the Pattabhirama Temple: The water tank near the Pattabhirama Temple is known for its massive size. It is a ruined structure that offers glimpse of impressive architecture. The pillars surrounding the tank speak volumes about the craftsmanship of the workers of that ancient era.
Present Condition of Pushkaranis, Hampi
Many of the water tanks in Hampi are in a ruined condition today. Only a few pushkaranis can be seen in a functional state. Some of the water tanks are dry places that have remained without water for a long time now. A few among the water tanks are still full of clear water and offer a cool look to the visitors.
The pushkaranis were an integral part of the lives of the people of Hampi during the ancient times. Today they are part of the ruins of Hampi that attracts visitors from all over the world.
How to reach the Pushkaranis
The pushkaranis in Hampi are located across many places. From the Royal Enclosure to the famous temples of Hampi, the presence of the water tanks can be easily seen near these structures or locations. It is a simple matter to reach the pushkaranis as they can be easily spotted among the widespread ruins of Hampi.
Hampi is not connected directly by flight as the place has no airport of its own. Ballari (Bellary) is the closest town to have an airport. Ballary stands at a distance of about 64 km from Hampi. Visitors can reach Ballari by flight and proceed to Hampi by means of local transport.
Hampi is a place that cannot be reached directly by the rail route as it does not have a railway station within its area. The nearest railway station is situated in the town of Hosapete (Hospet). It has the Hospet Junction Railway Station. Hosapete is located at a distance of just 10 km from Hampi. One can easily take a bus or avail other means of local transport to reach Hampi from Hosapete.
The road network is one of the best ways to reach Hampi as the place is well connected to many towns and cities of Karnataka by means of the road network. There are several government and private buses that operate between Hampi and many of the major towns and cities in Karnataka. Visitors can hire private cars, cabs or other vehicles from major cities like Mysuru (Mysore) or Bengaluru (Bangalore).