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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Group of Monuments at Hampi

The monuments at Hampi were included in the world heritage list by UNESCO in 1986 and later in the list of world heritage sites that are in danger in 1999. The great grand Hampi with all its austere imposing looks was the last capital of the last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar in the 14th century, which was invaded by the Muslim confederates in 1565. The princes of Hampi built many Dravidian temples and palaces between 14th to 16th centuries that gained the attention of the travelers. The Muslim invaders however raided and ransacked the city for over six months before abandoning it. The site is threatened by the construction of two suspension bridges that prompts the passage of heavy goods traffic near the site and has already resulted in shifting of a 'mandapa' (a masonry rest house with pillars) by dismantling and reconstruction it at other place.Hampi is situated in the state of Karnataka and sprawls across more than 26 sq kms. River Tungabhadra borders it in the North and granite rocks on the other three sides, making it safer and more inaccessible. It is said that it is near the site that was once Kishkindha, the monkey kingdom mentioned in Ramayana, and still a large number of monkeys reside in the heart of the city. It was here that Bali and Sugriva (Monkey-Princes) fought for supremacy and Lord Rama killed Bali. The tourist attractions of the city are Virupaksha Temple, 6.7 m tall monolith of Ugra Narasimha, Vithala Temple with its 'Musical Pillars' and ornate stone chariot of Garuda in the temple courtyard, Lotus Mahal, Queen's Bath with stark exteriors and ornate interiors, Singaradu Hebbagilu, the oldest and most massive gateway of the capital, Hazara Rama Temple with its exquisitely carved basalt pillars depicting the incarnations of Shri Vishnu and the ruins of Achuta Raya Temple that showcase some erotic sculptures in its columns.

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