Hampi, which was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986, is the only Indian destination to feature in the New York Times’ list of ’52 Places to go in 2019.’ The top position is held by Puerto Rico: ‘An island on its way back,’ which was ravaged by Hurricane Maria in late 2017. However, seeing the quaint little town of Hampi in Karnataka on the list makes India immensely proud.
Hampi in Karnataka’s arid Ballari district and home to the erstwhile Vijayanagar empire, is always abuzz with travellers from all over the world. It has had a rich history and legacy; one that demands all the attention and smoothly transports people into the bygone era. The ruins and remains of the glorious 14th-century kingdom is best known for several Hindu temples that had been constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture. One of the most famous icon in the town is the stone chariot in the Vittala Temple.
These beautiful temples, ruins of gigantic and lavish palaces, ancient market streets, royal pavilions and treasury buildings are only a few of the things to annually attract lakhs of people to Hampi. There are 57 major monuments in Hampi, most of which come under the core zone of Hampi, including four villages spread across 41.8 square kilometres.
Hampi owes its spectacular setting to river Tungabhadra, the craggy hill ranges and open plains, along with the remains of the grand past. The culturally abundant past is evident from more than 1600 surviving remains that include forts, riverside features, royal and sacred complexes, temples, shrines, structures, gateways, pillared halls, mandapas, memorial , defence check posts, stables, and water structures. Virupaksha Temple is another important attraction Hampi; one that remains an active worship site for Hindu to date.