Hampi featured under Deko Apna Desh

Context: Ministry of Tourism organised webinar on Hampi under Dekho Apna Desh Webinar series.


All about Hampi

  • Its name is derived from Pampa which is the old name of the Tungabhadra River on whose banks the city is built.
  • In 1336 CE, the Vijayanagara Empire arose from the ruins of the Kampili kingdom. It grew into one of the famed Hindu empires of South India that ruled for over 200 years.
  • The history of Hampi dates back to the 2nd and also the 3rd century BCE that is the Neolithihc and Chalcolithic era.
  • This fact has been established from the ceramic potteries that have been found here from those centuries.
  • With the decline of power of the Chola dynasty in the
  • thirteenth century, the Vijayanagara Dynasty captured and brought under its control the region from Hampi to Trichy with Hampi serving as its capital near the river Tungabhadra.
  • Hampi remained in central importance in the medieval times as the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire.
  • Vijayanagara or “city of victory” was the name of both a city and an empire.
  • The empire was founded in the fourteenth century by two brothers, Harihara and Bukka.
  • In its heyday it stretched from the river Krishna in the north to the extreme south of the peninsula.
  • In 1565 Rama Raya, the chief minister of Vijayanagara, led the army into battle at Rakshasi-Tangadi (also known as Talikota), where his forces were routed by the combined armies of Bijapur, Ahmadnagar and Golconda.
  • At the time of the Battle of Talikota, the Mughal Empire was expanding under its famous Emperor Jalal ud-din Muhammad Akbar.
  • The ruins at Hampi were brought to light in 1800 by an engineer and antiquarian named Colonel Colin Mackenzie.
  • At present, it has been listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Site as the Group of monuments at Hampi.
  • The site used to be multi-religious and multi-ethnic; it included Hindu and Jain monuments next to each other.
  • The buildings predominantly followed South Indian Hindu arts and architecture dating to the Aihole-Pattadakal styles, but the Hampi builders also used elements of Indo-Islamic architecture in the Lotus Mahal, the public bath and the elephant stables.
  • The Vijayanagara rulers fostered developments in intellectual pursuits and the arts, maintained a strong military and fought many wars with sultanates to its north and east.
  • They invested in roads, waterworks, agriculture, religious buildings and public infrastructure. 

Important temples located at Hampi

Virupaksha Temple

  • It is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and was constructed during the reign of Vijayanagara ruler Krishna Deva Raya II.
  • For the Vijayanagar kings, Virupaksha was the family God and their crest was the Boar or Varaha.
  • It remains an important center of pilgrimage in the site of Hampi and is also popular for its yearly chariot festival.
  • Virupaksha Temple is an important example of Vijayanagara style of architecture.  
  • Among all temples this is the only one which the Mughals never attacked because of the insignia or the emblem of a pig on the door of the temple.

Vittala Temple

  • The temple is dedicated to Vaishnava deity Lord Vitthala.
  • Vittala Temple in Hampi is known for its exquisite craftsmanship and extraordinary architecture in the Dravidian Style.
  • Its peculiarity is the huge and decorative stone chariot, though not a monolithic structure.
  • These are different hallways that adore this temple.

Hazara Rama Temple

  • Hazara Rama comes from the word Hazarumu which in Telegu means Entrance Hall.
  • This place has one of the most beautiful and intricate carvings lot of them describing what happened back in Ramayana and some of them depicting various Vishnu avatars.
  • It was also a private temple of the royal family.

Jain Temples

  • Jainism remained an important religion even during the Vijayanagara Empire due to their highly tolerant attitude for all religions.
  • Jainism contributed a lot in terms of trade, and hence it started flourishing in many other states including Karnataka.
  • Some of the Jain temples are Parashvanatha Temple, Hemkut Temple, and Gangatti Temple.

Vijayanagara Paintings: Important Characteristics

  • The faces of the figures are shown in profile (a representation of something in outline especially a human head or face represented or seen in a side view), with large frontal eyes.
  • The figures have narrow waists.
  • Figures and objects were generally shown two-dimensionally.
  • Lines become still but fluid, compositions appear in rectilinear compartments.
  • These stylistic conventions of the preceding centuries were adopted by artists in various centres in South India as can be seen in the paintings of the Nayaka


  • Nayaka paintings were more or less an extension of the Vijayanagara style with minor regional modifications and incorporations.
  • The figures, mostly in profile, are set against a flat background.
  • Male figures are shown slim-waisted but with less heavy abdomen as compared to those in Vijayanagara.

Monolithic sculpture of Lord Narasimha

  • According to Hindu mythology, Narasimha is the fourth incarnation of Vishnu and appeared on earth in the form of half human (nara) and half lion (simha).
  • It is the largest monolith (one peice) statue in Hampi, located on the southern side of the Hemakuta group of temples that stand on the Hemakuta Hill.

History of Lakshmi Narasimha Statue, Hampi

  • The Lakshmi Narasimha statue and the temple housing the statue were built in the year 1528 A.D.
  • It was constructed during the rule of Krishnadevaraya, one of the greatest rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire.
  • The temple is dedicated to Lord Narasimha, one of the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu, and Goddess Lakshmi. As such, the temple is known as the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple.
  • The original sculpture had a small figure of Goddess Lakshmi, consort of Narasimha, sitting on his lap.
  • The gigantic statue was vandalized and mutilated in 1565 A.D. during the raid by the Mughals that led to the fall of the Vijayanagara Empire.
  • Narasimha is adorned with beautiful headgear and is seen seated in a cross-legged position.
  • The sculpture portrays Narasimha sitting on the coils of Adishesha, the king of all snakes, which rises behind him with its seven hoods.
  • These hoods have been beautifully designed to serve as a canopy over Narasimha’s head. The sculpture is set within a Makara Torana or arch. There is a lion mask set above the hoods of Adishesha. All these features make the statue an interesting piece of architecture.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.