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Hampi Photography – A Walk Through History

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Hampi Photos: Stories in Stones

I visited Hampi twice, once in 2014, and then again in 2019. Though I have been to Hampi two times and have spent about ten-eleven days in the area, I am still nothing less than dazed by not just the ruins and temples of Hampi, but by the green Hampi villages, the crispy dosas that have a different flavor in that part of Karnataka India, the variety of animal life that is running around Hampi fearlessly, but now more so in national parks such as Daroji, and how it all just dovetail so perfectly together.

My Bangalore to Hampi road journey was no less than an adventure. In the linked guide you can read all about that Bangalore-Hampi road trip studded with aesthetic windmills. This 7,000 words guide is also almost a Wiki for exploring Hampi monuments, its surrounding villages, experiencing its local life and food, and understanding Hampi’s history.

As I have already written about the logistics of traveling and the history of Hampi in the aforementioned travel guide, allow me to jump right into Hampi pictures. I clicked most of these photos with my Nikon DSLR and Google Pixel. Other photos (mostly old Hampi photos) have been taken from around the internet to contrast between the past and new Hampi. I have also added some ancient photos just to give more context to a temple or a carving or a view in case I didn’t have enough relevant pictures.

I hope you enjoy these Hampi images for I had a lot of fun putting this Hampi photography essay together. Machu Picchu could be one of the world’s wonder, Bali is on everyone’s bucket list, Himachal Spiti’s Valley is a craze amongst travelers, but Hampi stands right there in the line.

Let’s go.

Starting with a green Hampi.

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In the villages of Hampi. This is near the Sanapur area where I was staying in a cottage.

You can either drive around or take a bicycle or walk in the villages.

And then the food.

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Eating idlis in Kamalapur, a small village of Hampi

After eating and strolling around the lush villages, I went to the Durga temple in Sanapur.

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View from the Durga temple in Sanapur, Hampi

On my second day in Hampi, I postponed the ruins and temples to visit the Daroji wildlife sanctuary to get my hands on some bear.

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A peacock dancing around in the Daroji sanctuary
A mama and baby bear in the sanctuary

Hampi Temple Images

Starting with the main Hampi temples Virupaksha, Vitthala, Achutaraya, and other temples also known as the sacred ruins. (I have written more about the kinds of ruins in Hampi here in the Hampi guide.)

The engraved stone columns in the courtyard of Virupaksha temple. Hampi Karnataka images.
The first gopuram of the Virupaksha temple (Shiva), Hampi. The picture is taken from inside the temple.

Oh, if you didn’t know, Gopuram is a (Sanskrit: गोपुरम्gopuram) tower, usually ornate, at the entrance of a Hindu temple. Gopurams were a crucial part of the Dravidian architecture of the Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, and Telangana states of South India. (Wikipedia definition.) Gopurams were constructed over the protective walls around the temple.

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Inside Virupaksha
Walking towards the second Gopuram of Virupaksha
The stepped tank in Virupaksha. On a hot summer day, this must be really soothing.
A devotee in the Virupaksha temple. You can see the Tungabhadra river at the back.
The extended premises of Virupaksha. After crossing the second Gopuram of Virupakha, one can go to the backside banana plantations of the temple.
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This is the backside of Virupaksha. The banana plantations support the temple amongst other things.
One gopuram of the Virupaksha temple as seen from the Hemakuta hills near the temple

Hemakauta hills are considered to be the place where Parvati(also known as Pampa) prayed to Lord Shiva convincing him to marry her. Later the name Pampa was fusioned with the Kannada word Hampa to form the current Hampi.

Both the gopurams of the Virupakshao

I had to stand high on the top of the Hemakuta hills, bend down and around a bit, and click these panoramic Virupaksha images while my feet burned on the stone. The classical Indian music playing in the background did keep my spirits high and the demons out. Believers say that the gopurams symbolize that one leaves her worries behind while entering the temple premises.

Temples on Hemakuta hills
The overflowing Tungabhadra

I clicked this above photo while attempting to go from the Virupaksha temple to the Vitthala temple by a sidewalk built on the bank of the Tungabhadra river.

The Tungabhadra was overflowing in those post-monsoon days of September. This was the farthest I could go on this long river walk. On a side note, September to February is a good time to visit Hampi because the weather is pleasant. And if you want to see a green Hampi with the signs of the receding rains more prominent than everything else, plan a Hampi trip in September.

Because of the water overflow, I could not see the riverside ruins in Hampi.
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You see some Hampi riverside ruins in this Hampi image. Atchutanna / CC BY-SA
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I also missed these Shiva lingas carved out on rocks on the shore of the Tungabhadra. Pratheepps at en.wikipedia 
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But I did get to see such scenes. Monkeys and humans together. Notice the sculptures under the tree.

Hampi ruins are scattered all around the Hampi area. You will not only find temples, carvings, wall motifs, and sculptures in the main Hampi, but you are bound to run into all these curious objects from the past wherever you go.

These steps go to the Achutaraya and Vitthala temple, Hampi. Looking at this view, your back would be towards the Virupaksha temple.

Apart from walking by the riverside, these steps were another way to go to the rest of the sacred ruins.

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This is a 2014 view of the same stairs taken from the Hampi bazaar. Vishwas Koundinya / CC BY-SA
The Nandi that sits right at the bottom of the stairs. Hampi, Karnataka Photos.
The view of the old Bazaar and the Virupaksha temple from the top of the stairs
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Another panoramic view of the Virupaksha temple and Hampi bazaar from the steps to Vitthala temple
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the long stone arcade of the Vitthala (Vishnu) temple
Filming the goats in the Achutaraya temple, Hampi

Shepherds used to herd their cattle and sheep around Hampi in the past. Now you would see much fewer shepherds and sheep in the ruins.

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An 1856 photo of the Vitthala temple and the famous golden chariot. Hampi Old Photos. [Courtesy: Greenlaw, Alexander John Colonel, born 1818 – died 1870 (photographer) / Public Domain]

Alexander Greenlaw was the first person in a while to photograph the remnants of a long-forgotten Hampi dynasty. The pictures of Hampi clicked by this British-East Indian soldier brought the ruins to historian’s and travelers’ curiosity.

Life in Hampi.
Life in Hampi. Hampi city image.
Oops. One of the best things about Hampi and its villages was the dosa there. I ate at this homely riverfront restaurant in Virupapur Gaddi village multiple times and the dosa got better each time. Crispy, fiery(a little much for me), and so fresh. Wow. I could go back to Hampi for these relishes.

Live in a village, eat dosa, watch the river frolic, wasn’t that the dream?  When you are in Hampi, make sure to explore the little food joints of the villages. These family-run joints are clean, support the local communities, and serve delicious and authentic local food.

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Making the most of the camera from the car

Now I will take you through the Hemakuta hillside temples.

This is towards the Hemakuta hills side
The monolith Kadalekalu Ganesha. This stone statue is situated on the slope of the Hemakuta hills.
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Such information is available on all Hampi sculptures. Ms Sarah Welch / CC BY-SA
A woman climbing up the Hemakuta hills
Other arcade and temple on the top

Walking around in Hampi and its ruins was a surreal experience. I wasn’t sure if I was in the past or the present.

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Stone engraving on the temple wall. Hampi pics, 2019.
A shrine on the way down on the slopes of the Hemakuta hills. This was devoted to an artist and painter who had worked on the sculptures and the temples.

The tiny shrines on the Hemakuta hill and the vast views from it made the hills one of my favorite places in Hampi.

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Panoramic Hampi pictures from the Hemakuta hill
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Just enjoying a sunset from the road itself. Parked by a paddy field, soaking in the breeze.

Hampi sunsets are world-famous, for all the good reasons. Watching the sunset was the best way to spend the evenings in Hampi.

Pictures of Hampi’s Urban Ruins

Now we will go through the Hampi Urban ruins that form a big complex that is slightly away from the main temples(or the sacred ruins). The Lotus Mahal, the elephant stable, and the queen’s bath all are part of the urban ruins. (Read more about the urban ruins here.)

The symmetry of Hampi Lotus Mahal
Lotus Mahal

Lotus Mahal is said to be the meeting place of the emperor and his advisors.

Walking to the Queen’s bath. If only I had a change.

The Queen’s Bath sits amidst a garden. The bath and the garden are both closed in the evening by 6-6:30 pm.

The carvings inside the bath
Some more engravings on the walls of the royal bath
Inside the Queen’s bath

As I went to the bath by almost its closing time (about 6:30 pm), the place was empty. Our sound echoed. Until then I had felt that I was in a popular and unique historical travel site, but on that quiet evening, Hampi put a profound impression that I was walking through the ruins of one of the world’s largest empires.

The Queen’s bath was poignantly narrating the story of the queens, their helpers, and friends bathing in a beautiful structure during the sunny hours of the day. Hopefully teasing each other, discussing what the King said the other day, and laughing about it all.

Water inlets for the bath
The Mahanavami platform

The kings used this grand platform to watch the procession during the Mahanavami festival, also known as the Dasara/Dusshera festival. The royals would also see army marches and war games from the top.

The view of the open ruins from the Mahanavami platform
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The popular stepped tank in the same arcade

Tungabhadra was brought into the baths using the open ducts that ran through the stone walls and fences.

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A langur chilling on one of the hills. They also like the view I guess.

The Scattered Ruins of Hampi in Photos

The best way to explore Hampi is to get lost there. As I said above, the remains and relics from the past time are strewn around in Hampi.

One can find stone carvings in the most unexpected places in Hampi
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A hanuman temple

The Hanuman temple shown in the above image is monolithic: the entire statue is carved out of one single stone.

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What a beautiful structure set up on Hampi boulders! And langurs all around.

Walking around the ruins, sitting in the cool temple arcades, eating tonnes of dosa, driving in lush villages, and just living peacefully, the days in Hampi went by quickly. I was there for a week but even those seven days felt less to explore what Hampi has to offer.

Soon it was time to leave. Onto another journey.

Lovely sunflowers on the outskirts of Hampi

Just for fun: If you have never read any tale by the popular children story website Kathakids, I recommend you read this story which is about a clever man called Tenali Raman who goes to Hampi and ends up staying there for free by challenging a popular village weight lifter.

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Eating at Tumkur Dhaba while on the way back to Bangalore From Hampi

Hope you will visit Hampi soon.

Follow Up Read: A Photo-Dense Guide to the BR Hills, Karnataka and My Favorite Places in Karnataka

Did you love these Hampi images? Have you yourself been on a Hampi photography tour? Let me know in the comments.

Okay, then. I will see you in the next article.

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Thank you for seeing this Hampi Photo Gallery


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8 thoughts on “Hampi Photography – A Walk Through History”

  1. wowwww………………….priyanka i felt very happy with your gallery very nice snaps keep it up……….keep going on……….


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