The town of Badami, the nearby villages of Aihole and Pattadakal in Malaprabha valley of central Karnataka, are celebrated for their magnificent rock-cut shrines and structural temples. These Hindu and Jain monuments are associated with the Early Chalukyas who reigned over this part of Deccan during 6th – 8th Centuries. Together these temples and shrines may be considered among the earliest, best-preserved remnants of temple art in India. On this trip, we will take an excursion to visit these sites and discover the story of the evolution of temple architecture in India.
At its peak, the Vijayanagara empire encompassed the 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.
For more details please refer to the detailed itinerary section.
01:00 PM – Arrival & Check-in
On arrival check-in to your hotel/resort room. Have lunch at the restaurant at your property.
04:00 PM to 06:00 PM – Hemakuta & Virupaksha Temple
As per the local tradition, we will start out visit of Hampi 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.
07:00 PM: Return to Hotel/Resort in Hampi
Overnight stay at Hotel/Resort
07:00 AM to 07:00 PM – Day tour of Badami, Aihole & Patadakkal
On this day tour, we will get a glimpse of a magnificent group of monuments in the Malaprabha valley, which stretches some 25 Kilometers along the Malaprabha river flowing in a northeasterly direction. Temple architecture in Badami, Aihole, and Pattadakal is characterized by a remarkable variety of styles and construction techniques. This high concentration of multiple styles within the confines of a limited zone like Malaprabha valley is to be found nowhere else in India. The Early Chalukya monuments bridge the transition from rock-cut excavation to free-standing construction. Construction began with cave temples at Badami and Aihole built in mid 6th Century CE with large-scale sculptural compositions on the walls and monolithic columns. Then moved to Dravidian-style structural temples in the first half of the 7th Century. The earliest example of a Dravidian-style structural temple in all of South India is found in Aihole built-in 634 CE. Though the Dravidian style was an Early Chalukya invention it eventually spread across all of South India and since then got influenced by Cholas, Pallavas, Hoysalas, Gangas, and Vijayanagara styles. Pattadakal is a unique meeting place of distinctive Dravida and Nagara building traditions of Southern and Northern India respectively. Not only are these discrete styles represented in temples built side by side, attributes of both these styles even came to be incorporated within individual monuments, resulting in a unique hybrid style.
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 the Tungabhadra river. We already covered some sites within the Sacred area yesterday, we will continue from where we left off 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 the banks of this mighty river. Learn about the rituals, festivals celebrated along the river. Learn about the birth of Carnatic music and the 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, Surya Mantapa, 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 the 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 the 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
12:00 Noon: Checkout & Transfer for onward journey