At its peak Vijayanagara empire encompassed whole of South India below the Krishna river and parts of Orissa. All of this vast wealth was directed into building the grandest of capital cities in the world. Today the ruins of the former capital of the Vijayanagara empire are spread over an area covering over 42 square kilometers encompassing remains of temple complexes, fortifications, royal baths, the basement of palaces, ceremonial structures, royal pavilions, treasury building, and more. In this curated plan, we will give you a clear picture of what it was like living in the medieval city of Vijayanagara as we bring it alive with stories and historical perspectives that you cannot get from elsewhere.
Towards the end of 13th century an invading Turko-Afghan army marched into South India and demolished the great dynasties of the time. In the power vacuum & confusion that ensued, a band of brothers built an empire that rose as a bastion resistance against invading armies of the north. In a short period of 30 years the empire grew to include most of southern India, all of this wealth was directed at building a grand city at Hampi.
Vijayanagara – “The city of Victory”, went beyond the being citadel of defensive orthodoxy to be the seat of wondrous innovations. Its rulers went beyond religious resentments to grab opportunities and build an eclectic future. Men and Women from all over the world arrived in the capital, bringing bold ideas and cultural influences. The glorious rule of Vijayanagara, shaped the south Indian cultural ethos & geo-politics in substantial way.
Close to 250 years after the city was built, the invading armies from the north finally succeeded in breaching its defenses and laid it to ruins. Hampi today is a protected UNESCO world heritage site, whose core zone is spread over an area of 42 square kilometers.
The monuments in Hampi are in clusters spread over a large area, over three days we will be covering all the important clusters of monuments like Sacred Area, Urban Core & Anegundi. We will hear stories associated with them & discuss the architecture of each monument. For more details please refer to the detailed itinerary section.
07:00 AM – Arrival & Transfer to Hotel
Pickup from Hospete railway station or Bus Stand & Transfer to your accommodation of choice. Early check-in maybe arranged based on availability & discretion of the property management. Freshen-up and take the first half of today to relax.
09:00 AM to 12:00 PM: Sacred Area of Hampi
Sacred Center as the name suggests is the religion center of Hampi, a number of ancient temples and structures are in this area. The sacred area is spread over in a South West – North East direction along the southern bank of Tungabhadra river. We already covered some sites within the Sacred area yesterday, we will continue from where we left of today.
The lifeline of Hampi is the mighty river Tungabhadra. She is the basis and origin of everything in Hampi. She has witnessed the boulders hills form over millions of years, she has seen early humans settle on her banks, she has seen many a sages and mystics, she has seen the rise and fall of one of the greatest empires in India. On this tour get a glimpse into thousands of years of History as it unfolded on banks of this mighty river. Learn about the rituals, festivals celebrated along the river. Learn about the birth of carnatic music and Haridasa movement. Visit the most beautiful and intricate of all temples in Hampi – Vijaya Vittala Temple & Stone Chariot.
Monuments Covered: Kampa Bhoopa Marga, Kodanda Rama Temple, Purandara Dasa Mantapa, Kings Balance, Vittala Temple (Ranga Mantapa Musical Columns, Stone Chariot, Kalyana mantapa), Pushkarnini, Narasimha Monolith.
02:00 PM to 04:30 PM: Urban Core of Hampi
After lunch break we continue our exploration with the Urban Core area. This area was the Citadel of the Vijayanagara kings, it encompasses courtly and military structures of the core zone.
Here we have basements of palaces, administrative buildings, underground chambers, aqueducts, military structures etc. We will learn about social lives of people in the city through art, we will learn about festivals celebrated, irrigation and sanitation plans of the city.
Monuments Covered: Queens Bath, Mahanavami Dibba, Aqueduct, Secret chambers, Stepwell tank, Audience Hall, Public Bath, Hazara Rama Temple, Lotus Mahal, Elephant Stables, Underground Shiva Temple, Nobleman’s Quarters.
05:00 PM: Return to Hotel/Resort in Hampi
Overnight stay at Hotel/Resort
7:30 AM to 8:00 AM: Breakfast
08:00 AM to 11:30 AM: Anegundi Cluster
On the final day at Hampi we will head to the northern bank of Tungabhadra river to the village of Anegundi. This fortified village predates Vijayanagara by several centuries and continues to be inhabited by descendants of Vijayanagara citizenry. Here we will visit several structures some from different time periods.
Monuments Covered: Anjanadri Hill, Pampa Sarovar, Durga Temple, Gagan Mahal, Old Palace, Chintamani Ghats
12:00 Noon: Drop back to Hotel & Checkout
12:30 PM to 02:30 PM – Lunch Break
03:00 PM to 05:30 PM – Hemakuta & Virupaksha Temple
As per the local tradition, we will start out visit with a visit to the monolith of Sasivekalu Ganesha. We then climb our way to the entrance of Hemakuta Hill. Hemakuta hill was a fortified hill where the founders of Vijayanagara first set up their residence before moving it few kilometers to the south. On this hill we find several shrines ranging from 8th to 16th centuries with distinct architectural styles.
We then head to the Virupaksha temple complex. Within the Sacred area of Vijayanagara, there are 4 Major temple complexes, of which Virupaksha is the oldest and only surviving one. The much older shrines of Pampa Devi, Bhoodevi & Durga dating to 6th & 8th centuries are incorporated into the current temple complex. Here we will learn about the origin of the name Hampi & story of how Vijayanagara was founded.
Monuments Covered: Sasivekalu Ganesha, Double Stories Mantapa, Moola Virupaksha, Manmata Kunda, Virupaksha Temple & Hampi Bazaar.
06:00 PM: Transfer to Hospete