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Item Code: IDD643
Publisher: Oxford India Paperbacks
Language: English
Edition: 2003
ISBN: 0195660587
Pages: 112 (Color Illus: 4, B & W Illus: 20, Maps: 13)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.5" X 5.5"
weight of the book: 145 gms

About the Book:

This book is part of the Monumental Legacy series, aimed at giving a brief and accurate introduction to the World Heirtage (Culture) Sites in India. The Series is addressed to the general reader but is also of use to scholars interested in the history of the site.

Hampi, in Karnataka, is the site of the ruins of the famous fifteenth century Vijayanagara Kingdom. This book:



  • pays homage to the architectural splendour of Hampi as preserved in the monuments that consist mainly or religious, courtly, and military buildings.
  • takes us on a guided tour of the ruins highlighting the merging of different art traditions of the Deccan and south India that led to the evolution of the typically Vijayanagaran style of architecture, sculpture, and paintings.
  • describes in detail each of the functional zones of the site complemented by photos, maps, and drawings.

Written in an accessible style, by an acknowledged expert on Hampi, it will be of immense value to general readers and the informed tourists interested in the most Hindu city of medieval India.

(Note: Cover: A Stone Chariot of the Vitthala temple.)

About the Author:

Anila Verghese is Principal of Sophia College, affiliated to University of Mumbai.


Preface and Acknowledgements

This book on Hampi-Vijayanagra is a labour of love, the fruit of sixteen years of visits to and research on the site. I have carried out extensive and intensive field work at Hampi, which has resulted in three books and several research papers. These, however, are of interest primarily to the specialist. Hence the present work, which is aimed at the general reader and visitors to the site.

It is my privilege that the publication of this book coincides with the second centenary of the visit to Hampi (in 1799- 1800) of Colonel Colin Mackenzie, the first antiquarian to make a survey of the monuments and prepare a site map, and also with the centenary of the publication of Robert Sewell's pioneering work on Vijayanagara, A Forgotten Empire. I should like to dedicate this volume to them and to other scholars whose effort have brought this formerly little-known site to the notice of both scholars and the public. I would like to acknowledge the help, support, and encouragement that I have received from a number of persons and institutions.

I am grateful to the past and present Directors of the karnataka State Directorate of Archaeology and Museums and to their officers and staff at Hampi for the hospitality extended to me since 1983 at the Directorate's site camp. I owe a very special debt of gratitude to the Directors of the Vijaynagara Research project, Dr John M. Fritz and Dr George Michell, not only for all the assistance that I have received from them over the years, but also for the maps and drawings reproduced in this volume. I thank John Gollings for the colour plates ( the black and white photographs are from my personal collection and most of them were taken by me). I should also like to convey my sincere thanks to Dr Anna L. Dallapiccola of the Project . Lively discussions on the site with members of the Project and our mutual sharing of many new insights have enriched my understanding of Hampi-vijaynagara. I am grateful to the Management of Sophia College for permitting me to carry on with my ongoing research on Vijayanagra. Above all, I thank my publishers, Oxford University Press, and the general editor of the series, Dr Devangana Desai, for giving me this opportunity to share my enthusiasm for Hampi with others.



Hampi is a village situated on the southern bank of the Tungabhadra river in the Hoped taluka of Bellary District, Karnataka. This site served as the capital of the Vijayanagra kingdom from the mid-fourteen century to 1565 AD. As the seat of a kingdom that extended from the Arabian sea to the Bay of Bengal and from the Deccan plateau to the tip of the peninsula, Vijayanagra was presented by its rulers as a showpiece of imperial magnificence and the greatest of all medieval Hindu capitals that came to the celebrated throughout Asia for its might and wealth.

Hampi has also been a pilgrimage centre from pre- Vijayanagra, Vijayanagra, and post-Vijaynagra times right down to the present. Besides its religious and mythological associations, the site is famous today for the magnificent ruins, both religious and secular, of the once fabled capital city. The term 'Hampi' is used in this book not just to mean the present-day village near the Virupaksha temple complex, but the site of the medieval Vijayanagra city which extends far beyond it.

In the past, Hampi was rather Inaccessible; and if reaching it was difficult, travelling around the ruins was somewhat an adventure: the bullock-cart was the sole means of transport available locally even about thirty years ago! In the last decade or two, however, Hampi has opened to visitors from India and abroad. The nearest town, Hospet, thirteen kilometers away, is linked by road and rail to the principal cities of the country. When I first visited the site in the early 1980s, the only suitable accommodation available for a visitor in the site proper was the two -bedroom PWD Inspection Bungalow at Kamalapuram. Recently, a number of lodge and guest houses have opened in Hampi and there is also a three-star hotel at Kamalapuram. Bicycles, autorickshaws, and tourist taxi are easily available on hire. A tourist bus service is also provided for the visitor who wishes to cover the site in a single day.

'The City of Bidjanagra [Vijayanagra] is such that the pupil of the eye has never seen a place like, and the ear of intelligence has never been informed that there exited anything to equal it in the world', remarked About Razzak, an envoy from Herat to the court of Devaraya II in 1443. The city is situated amidst very impressive surroundings, the most striling feature of which is the river Tungabhadra that flow here in a north-easterly direction through a rugged, rocky terrain. The Pinkish-grey granite boulders form fantastic shapes as though piled up by some mysterious spirit. To the south of the river are two ridge, separated by a valley and low hills such as the Hemakuta and the Malyavanta. Gradually, the hills disappear and the land becomes increasingly flat and open. The larger valleys are irrigated. The contrast between the stark rocks and green, fertile valleys adds to the pictures queness of the site.

The remains of the city of Vijayanagara, popularly known as the Hampi ruins', are spread over an extensive area of about twenty-five square kilometers from the village of Hampi in the north to Kamalapuram in the south. The outer lines of its fort fictions and the suburban areas, however, include a much larger area, from at least Anaconda in the north to modern Hoped in the south [Fig.1]

The city was called Hoapattana, the 'New City' for some time. Later it came to be known as Vijayanagra or Vijayanagra or 'City of Victory' and in the sixteenth century also as Vijayanagra or 'City of Leaning'


Fig. I. Vijayanagara in its regional context


Hampe, Pampa-kshetra, Parnpa-pura are some of the other names by which the site is identified in epigraphs, though perhaps, these refer more particularly to the sacred area on the south bank of the river and not to the entire metropolis. <>p Besides the Persian traveller Abdur Razzak, other foreign travellers have also left glowing accounts of the splendours of Vijayanagara. These include the Italian Nicolo Conti in the early fifteenth century, his compatriot Varthema in the beginning of the sixteenth century, and the Portuguese Duarte Barbosa, Domingo Paes, and Femao Nuniz also in the sixteenth century.

To facilitate documentation and for a convenient differentiation between the zones in this vast site, the entire area has been divided into four functional zones: the 'sacred centre', the 'intermediate irrigated valley', the 'urban core' and the 'suburban centres'.

The 'sacred centre' lies to the south of the Tungabhadra. Here, in the confined areas of flat land or at the summits of rocky outcrops, are located the largest temple complexes of the city, numerous smaller temples and shrines, sculptures, and inscriptions. To the south is the 'irrigated valley'. The paucity of buildings and potsherds here indicate that this was always an agricultural zone. The 'urban core' occupies a series of hills, ridges, and valleys to the south of the 'irrigated valley'. The greatest concentration of population was once located here, as is revealed by the traces of residences, tanks, wells, roads, stairways, pottery, and also the remains of many small shrines and larger temples. This zone is surrounded by a complete circuit of fortification walls, approximately oval-shaped, more than four kilometres along its southwest-northeast axis, broken only by well- defended gateways. In the southwest end of the 'urban core' is the ' royal centre' (also referred to as the 'palace zone'), which once had its own enclosure wall, only parts of which now survive. To the north, the 'urban core' is bounded by the north ridge. In the east end of the north ridge and the north-east valley is the Islamic quarter. Beyond the 'urban core' further south and west, as far as modern Hospet, are laid out the great residential suburbs, which include the modern villages of Kamalapuram, Kadirampuram, Anantashayanagudi, Malpannagudi, Nagenahali, and parts of Hospet town. A few isolated religious structures and other stray monuments in these are all that survive of the once populous 'suburban centers'.

This book deals in some detail with the city proper, which is taken to include the 'sacred centre', the 'irrigated valley' and the 'urban core'. The 'suburban centers' have been described only very briefly.



List of Illustrations

Preface and Acknowledgements



    Pre-Vijayanagara History of Hampi
    The Mythic Associations
    A Brief History of the Vijayanagara Kingdom
    Growth of the City and its Destruction
    Post-1565 Occupation of the Site


    • Religious Architecture
      Courtly Architecture
      Military Architecture


    Uddana Virabhadra temple
    Tiruvengalanatha temple of 1545
    Monuments in the 'Sacred Centre' Along the Tungabhadra and in the 'Urban Core' (excluding the 'royal centre')
    • Monolithic Narasimha Image and Linga Shrine
      Monolithic Images and structures near them
      Temples on Hemakuta Hill
      Virupaksha Temple Complex
      Manmatha tank and Overlooking shrines
      Hampi Bazaar
      Monuments at Chakra-tirtha
      Tiruvengalanatha Temple Complex
      Narasimha temple and Sugriva's cave
      Bridge and Mandapa
      Gateway and King's Balance
      Vitthala Temple Complex and adjacent structures
      Mosque and tomb
      Malyavanta Raghunatha temple
      Ganagitti Jaina temple
      Bhima's Gate
  • Monuments of the 'Royal Centre'
    • Ramachandra temple
      'Underground' Virupaksha temple
      Temples to the east of the Elephant stables
  • Suburban Centres
    • Anegondi



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