Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its archaeological marvels, offers more than monument hopping. Amidst its remarkable heritage and unique landscape, Hampi has charmed history enthusiasts and adventurers for decades. While iconic sites like the Virupaksha and Vittala Temple draw numerous tourists, there's more to this historically rich region of Karnataka. Here are some lesser-known places you must not miss when you plan your vacation here.
This temple, devoted to Lord Rama, might not boast the grandeur of the Vittala Temple, yet it matches its size. Established around 1534 CE, the temple is a must-visit due to its exquisite engravings and architecture. Positioned at the heart of a rectangular walled enclosure, the primary hall of the temple showcases adorned pillars and walls. Within the temple premises are a compact shrine, a sacred temple tank, a hall for divine unions, and an entrance crowned with a dome.
Scattered across the hills of Hire Benakal, these distinctive granite formations are believed by locals to be the handcrafted remnants of dwarf communities that inhabited the area thousands of years ago. Historians, however, identify them as megalithic monuments, tracing their origins back to the Neolithic era. These captivating structures encompass a diverse range, from granite slabs delicately balanced upon rocks to compact stone enclosures resembling huts featuring small openings. Despite their appearance, these structures weren't dwellings but were associated with funerary practices.
For those who cherish the nostalgic moments of tuning into the legendary Ramayana broadcasts on Doordarshan, Sugriva's Cave holds significance. Hampi, linked to the Hindu epic, has a profound association with some of the pivotal chapters of the "Ramcharitmanas." It proudly stood as the capital of Kishkindha under the rule of the Vanara king Sugriva. Within this cave lies the spot where Sugriva presented Sita's precious jewels to Ram, a poignant episode that unfolded after her abduction by the demon king Ravana.
It stands as one of the least frequented monuments in the area. The temple's highlight is its collection of remarkable carved panels embellishing the walls. These panels vividly portray various episodes from the epic "Ramayana." Remarkably, this is the sole temple in Hampi showcasing bas-reliefs (a sculptural technique in which the design is only slightly raised above the flattened surface). Visitors can explore this temple alongside more renowned sites such as the Royal Enclosure, Zenana Enclosure, Danaik's Enclosure, and the Prasanna Virupaksha Temple.
Referred to as Bhim Dwar, this gateway echoes the grandeur of the Vijayanagara Empire. The gateway's magnificence is linked to the legendary Bhima, one of the Pandava siblings from the epic "Mahabharata." Adorned with intricate carvings, the gateway showcases a commanding depiction of Bhima, aimed to bewilder potential adversaries. Notably, the carvings of Draupadi and Keechaka also stand as remarkable gateway features.